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Cyb

Doomworld Does Doom 3

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I hate to bump t/nc from the top story so quickly, but that's the way it goes sometimes I guess. Anyways, I finally completed Doom 3 and since no other staff member has reviewed it yet, I went and did so. Seemed like Doomworld should have a Doom3 review, eh? My major consensus was that Doom 3 is a lot of fun. It has a couple problems, but overall it's quite an enjoyable game and I think fans of the original will enjoy it (if they haven't already). There are also a bunch of 800x600 medium quality screenshots for your enjoyment, hooray!

(img)Four years ago id Software announced their next game would be Doom 3. The announcement was received largely with open arms (with the exception of a few crazy classic Doom fiends who insisted the game would never live up to the original and possibly even make people forget about the original). Four years is a very long time, and Doom 3's development was peppered with its share of hype thanks to all the interviews, showings at Quakecon and E3, various hires screenshots released by id and even a leak of an E3 demo two years ago. Of course the game was finally released, and the question begs, was it all worth it?

(img)If you're not into the whole reading thing the short answer of it is 'yes'. Doom 3 is quite an excellent game, though not without its share of flaws, it's probably one of the best pure FPS games to date. It's got its share of scary and creepy moments, as well as times where you will have a ton of stuff to kill. Those of you who want to learn more can keep reading.

(img)Doom 3 of course takes place on Mars, not the moons of Mars as in the original. The good old UAC is holed up there in a variety of poorly ventilated and really dark tech bases doing those crazy teleportation experiments. The story is pretty true to the original for the most part, though that's not exactly an arduous task considering the 'story' of the first game takes up a page in the manual and then never appears again within the game (aside from some very general text after each episode). Doom 3 expands on this basic story with a variety of PDA messages and video discs you pick up while in the game. PDAs are mainly used to tell the story of what went down before the disaster with e-mail and audio logs of various scientists and UAC workers. On top of that most of the levels look to have some sort of purpose and have areas that aren't there just for the sake of being there as in the original.

Not to say there aren't spots like that either. A few times you'll no doubt find yourself scratching your head thinking "what was the point of that area?". I suppose I can pass this off as an homage of sorts to the originals, but when you have 'realistic' levels with seemingly random areas it sometimes feels weird. Likewise the use of classic Doom traps where you enter an area and a wall lowers into the ground to reveal a monster is very, very Doomy. However such traps really don't fit well into the maps because the little rooms the monsters are in serve no purpose except to case the monster (and it seems unlikely the UAC would plan that far ahead).

(img)The beginning of the game concentrates on scaring the player. The opening level is somewhat reminiscent of Half-Life where you don't have any weapons or anyone to kill and then you end up watching an experiment royally screw everyone over and Hell is unleashed. Unlike Half-Life though, it's not really your fault, so you're only trying to survive and I guess save humanity rather than cover your own ass. After that you have sporadic flashes of red and hear laughter or a voice. The first couple times this is pretty creepy, but after a while it starts to wear thin. Likewise the beginning of the game literally had me jumping and even yelling at the game once or twice in surprise (due to springing monsters), but after a little while you start to look for little crevices and such and you begin to realize where stuff will pop out of (though once in a while one or two will still get you). Near the end of the game the crevice method is pretty much abandoned and everything just teleports in. Also might I add that the monster teleport animation is quite cool looking. Sure beats some lame green blotch.

(img)I also might take some time to mention that Doom 3 is really, really linear. Not that this is a huge problem; I normally don't have a problem with super-linear FPSs as long as they're entertaining (Half-Life, Red Faction, Quake 2 etc), and I think Doom 3 is. However, for whatever reason, I just seemed to notice it more with Doom 3. Take that as you will.

Okay, getting into the general things, if you were expecting a hugely innovative FPS out of Doom 3 you will pretty much be disappointed. Outside of the engine it's pretty much just a bunch of poorly lit hallways connected to more poorly lit rooms. The tech base maps are very similar to each other with very little (if any) distinctness to them. They still look great thanks to the top notch artists at id, and the level design is stellar, but there's nothing much to set them aside from each other.

(img)Later in the game you get to Hell, however. The Hell maps are among the best level design I have seen in an FPS and a very welcome change after traipsing through all the tech base maps. Easily up there with some of the early maps in Alice (though Alice as a game was a fair bit more dull than Doom 3) if you've ever played that. To go back to the Half-Life comparison, it's sort of like the very first time you get to Xen and you go "oh wow this is awesome". Only this time you never come to the realization that the maps suck ass. The absence of jumping puzzles (which never really bothered me in Half-Life, but it probably wasn't a very good idea to center Xen around them) is a big help of course. The neat things like shifting stones and the cool architecture as well as the fact that all the demons are branded adds quite a lot. You'll probably be sad when you have to leave Hell and go back to some more tech base maps.

(img)Of course it wouldn't be Doom without your favorite monsters. Most of them are pretty scary the first time you meet them, and all are more formidable than their classic counterparts. Imps toss fireballs still, but also leap with astounding speed and accuracy. Getting trapped in a corner with one usually means death for you (or at least a nice chunk of health loss). Pinky Demons are bigger and faster (faster than you, in fact) but are used very sparingly (probably because of their size). Cacodemons are back with their huge mouth, though they're no longer red and have two eyes now. The Revenant is probably the most faithful recreation, down to his yell and homing missiles (which you can shoot out of the air). Hell Knights are downright terrifying, though once you have some bigger weaponry you can usually make short work of them. The Mancubus is the toughest one to deal with. He's still lumbering and slow, but he has a lot of health and spares no expense on his fireballs.

(img)There are also a variety of new guys, but for the most part I found them to be pretty mundane and dull with the possible exception of the trites which are those creepy heads with spider legs things you've no doubt seen screenshots of. Trites are the Lost Souls of Doom 3 (as in, annoying as hell) which is odd because Doom 3 has Lost Souls though they don't appear enough to annoy. They still scream like little bitches though. Also the cherubs (flying babies) are pretty freaky and also a bitch to kill thanks to their small size and per-poly hit detection (no more bounding boxes).

Most of the original Doom weapons return. Fists, chainsaw, pistol, shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle, BFG. There are also grenades which I almost never used and an assault rifle which is like the poor man's chaingun without the spin up. The only real complaint I have here is that the Berserk powerup seems really out of place the two times you get it, plus the screaming and weird view you have when you get it is kind of stupid. That's a minor gripe though, really. Oh yeah, you also get a flashlight which, to much chagrin, can't be used in conjunction with a weapon. This adds a bit of a gameplay choice as you can choose to go into dark areas unarmed but able to see, or armed but unable to see. You can smack things with the flashlight, but it does little to monsters aside from annoy them.

(img)I could spend some time here talking about the engine and dynamic lighting and all that, but did you honestly expect an engine that wasn't top of the line and revolutionary from John Carmack? The engine is great and will no doubt be used for years to come. I'll just say that I played the game in 800x600 with medium detail on a Athlon XP2000 with 512MB of RAM and a Radeon 9600 and it ran very nicely most of the time and looked quite awesome to boot. There simply isn't a better looking engine out right now. No complaints here. It will also be pretty cool in a year or two when most machines will be capable of running Doom 3 without an slowdown (which is a bit of a problem against the larger bosses).

(img)Overall, as I said, Doom 3 isn't perfect, but I had quite a lot of fun playing it and I suppose that's what really counts. I could have done with less dark and steamy tech base and more Hell (or even some sort of Mars outdoor maps aside from the small "don't run out of air while you run to an airlock!" areas). The PDA system is pretty nice, but it brings up a lot of reading (some of which I skipped) and some of the entries are pretty hit or miss in terms of getting you to care (we get it already, people were going insane, Mars is a bad place!) and sitting through an entire soundfile for a locker code is a pain in the ass (especially if you get ambushed and miss it and have to listen to the damned thing again).

Anyways, id definitely surprised me with this one. I was expecting the same old boring standard id FPS that they've made since Doom (or even since Wolf3D), and I guess I did get it, only this one has levels with a purpose, some genuinely frightening moments a pretty nice story (rather than the complete lack of story prevalent in previous id games) and a whole lot of fun. If you're a fan of the original Doom then you will probably enjoy this as a worthy upgrade and retelling of the original. All the fear and action that made the original so much fun and so popular has returned, and it's quite enjoyable.

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 8/10
Fun Factor: 9/10
Replay Value: 5/10
Overall: 8/10

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Click here for a spoiler shot of the Cyberdemon

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m0l0t0v said:

the screenshot don't work :-(


use the main page :P

(also, fixed here)

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Why do you say you expected the same old boring FPS gameplay since Doom, or even since Wolf3D? When you're making maps for Doom, and give the fun factor 9/10.

I haven't played the game yet, but it sounds like a fair review...

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The grenades are great, only weapon in the game that can get around corners or hard to reach places. Also, if you've been hoarding them, you might as well just go on a grenadier rampage and chuck one in every room before you go in. The rooms are small enough that you're bound to at least soften something up.

One of the best descisions Splash Damage made was to give you two when you spawn in DM; you can often use them to great effect because people are expecting you to flail weakly at them with the pistol. And they're not nearly as tame as the ones in UT2003

Sorry, just had to stand up for those lovable little handheld bombs.

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And grenades are often the most painless way to deal with the zsec and commandos in the higher difficulties.

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Surely replay deserves more than 5? I mean, yes the custom levels aren't here yet. If you just mean the main storyline, I agree.

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Epistax said:

Surely replay deserves more than 5? I mean, yes the custom levels aren't here yet. If you just mean the main storyline, I agree.


it's a review of the game, not the modability of the engine or custom levels yet to come. it's very linear so there's not too much reason to play it more than once because you'll end up playing it pretty much the same exact way. maybe on a higher skill or something, but outside there there's not much reason to aside from it's pretty fun. I can see myself picking it up again in a few months.

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For replayability .. you can always use 'g_skill 2' and 'map game\mapname' in console and try to beat it without dying at all. 'g_skill 3' if you're feeling like a badass :P

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Nice review!
I thing one major difference between the original and Doom3 is the darkness and the narrowness of all those cornered corridors. In original Doom you could almost ever see where you go (and shoot!). And there was much more space for fraggin'...

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However such traps really don't fit well into the maps because the little rooms the monsters are in serve no purpose except to case the monster (and it seems unlikely the UAC would plan that far ahead)

I always hated that about the classic Doom too.

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YOU FUCKING FANBOY DOOM 3 SUCKS


It may be the complete and utter sleep deprivation, but I giggled like a nancy-boy when I read that.

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though not without its share of flaws

I see no flaws in Doom3.

got its share of scary and creepy moments

Uh...it's one big scare fest with a huge story and many different variations on that story. I'm now playing it on Nightmare with only 25 health and no health packs available (mounted units are still available) and just one of those creepy imps (makes the original imps as tame as a lap dog) raises my shackles...and there are areas where several teleport in. Did you play it on Veteran or one of the whimpy skill levels?

if you were expecting a hugely innovative FPS out of Doom 3 you will pretty much be disappointed

Holy crap! You must have typed doom95 in the Doom3 console. You didn't say anything about the heat waves from flames and the energy balls thrown by the monsters, nor did I read anything about the awesome shock waves created by the grenades. You mentioned something about the game engine. But, the story was awesome. The PDA's being used to guide the marine toward the objective was awesome, but you skipped most of them. Did you go to MartianBuddy.com? It was awesome how they made the game linked to reality! The weapons were balanced to the T. The maps were awesome with loads of detail, and it wasn't just textures of equipment drawn on a wall...things like pipes, computers, etc. actually were real objects. The maps were also complex in a 3 dimensional way. In fact, you could skip whole sections of maps by descending to a lower walkway (you probably didn't notice that cause you were too busy trying to survive). You indicated what you thought was lacking, but you didn't say what you expected! Doom3 is a single marine that has to be the hero. Doom3 has everything and more for the player to have that experience. I see nothing more that can be added to Doom3 to improve it. Obviously you could change it into something you want...perhaps a role playing game...did you want to upgrade your health so you can survive longer? Did you want the stupidity of carrying some items around while trying to figure out what to do with them?

I was expecting the same old boring standard id FPS

I think that says it all. You skipped everything that makes Doom3 this years Game-Of-The-Year. The scientists say different stuff depending on how you approach an area. You probably just reloaded after the monsters attacked so you could avoid them. It sounds like you chose not to experience the game, so why are you writing a review?

As a marine you dissapoint me. I would expect better game skills from someone at DoomWorld. I have to go now...before I rant some more. id again leaped decades ahead of everyone else with Doom3. None of the other games I've played or seen compare. I expect Half-Life2 to be boring in comparison. FarCry is like some childish console game compared to Doom3. The only game I now await is Quake4 from RavenSoft...that will be great!

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Linguica said:

YOU FUCKING FANBOY DOOM 3 SUCKS


That's a bit harsh. The review is well balanced and did give it some criticism. It wasn't ALL praise. Well done review, Cyb

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Can anyone tell me what the (what appears to be, there's no pickup message for it) andrenaline shot is for? I can't see that it does anything.

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kristus said:

Can anyone tell me what the (what appears to be, there's no pickup message for it) andrenaline shot is for? I can't see that it does anything.

Stamina bar doesnt drain while it's active.

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some whinging follows:

I enjoyed the first half of Doom3 but it gets far too predictable. The pinkies, caco's and revenants are great, dangerous without being too powerfull. Imps and their tendancy to spawn directly behind the player aren't fun.

The shotty feels too weak (and sounds weak). It would have been nice too see some ragdoll animations but the bodies vaporise too quickly. Seeing a zsec shot off a balcony or smashing an imp through a window would have added some much needed oomph.

more stuff needs to blow up!

Visually its a fantastic game, Hell has some very cool visuals and I hope mappers realise it's full potential.

Anyway I give it 8/10 as it has great moments, just not enough.

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exp(x) said:

It's only a review; get over it.

Very True. The review I gave on Gamespy for Quake2:Ground Zero when I finished the game stimulated enthusiasm and revenue for the game. I had gamers playing on my servers tell me that they purchased not only Ground Zero, but the Quake2 Collector's Edition which featured both mission packs along with the original Q2 game with the most current patches including CTF and maps, etc. A super deal at the time. If I had read Cyb's review before purchasing Doom3 then I would not be expecting much from the game, and may even think about buying another instead...bad move. id is putting a demo together...may take a month for them to finish it, but I'm sure it will blow everyone away.

Doom3 is the coolest, badest, meanest, most advanced game available today, and probably for the next several years. In fact, there is an Ultimate Quality graphics setting for video cards which don't even exist yet...though I hear that ATI may have a Radeon would may meet the 512MB video RAM requirements. The monsters aren't going to do any special tricks for your amusement cause they are there to kill you...something they are good at...which means moving toward you, aiming at you, and even dodging your bullets. And, just like anything else...once you learn their behavior then you can kill them as long as you can maintain a consistent skill awareness.

Another thing that Cyb forgot to mention was that Doom3 includes the supernatural to the mix. Some of the monsters have special abilities to cause objects to fly toward you. There are many times during the game that Satan takes control of you or your surroundings and makes things happen...sometimes they are similar to cut-scenes, but many times spooky things happen...Satan playing with you. It's not a nice game with pretty levels, pleasant lighting, nice decorations.

Doom3 is not your mother's house. Get over it!

Szymanski said:

The shotty feels too weak (and sounds weak).

I agree that it sounds really weak. But, it's very powerfull up close. It wasted the Pinky demon with a head shot at point blank. Keep in mind that Doom3 is not a bounded box program. If you can hit some of the pixels which make up the head then you can kill most anything if you can get the gun nearly touching it...even the Bosses croak after just 4 or 5 head shots with the shotgun.

Szymanski said:

smashing an imp through a window would have added some much needed oomph.

Hmm, I think that happened in my game several times. Try using a grenade or BFG on an imp...they go flying from the blast. :) I would have enjoyed more elaborate traps like in Doom2...more secrets for sure (unless there are more than the 3 that I've found so far).

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I've found quite a few secrets on my second trip through the game. There's lots of places that seem like they dont go anywhere, or seem impossible to reach, which contain lots of goodies.

And yeah, use grenades and the bfg more and you'll really see the physics in action. I love launching Hell Knights into orbit >:D

As far as the review goes though. I pretty much agree with everything Cyb said. Im not easy to scare, so the game wasnt very frightening (although there were a few times...) But I did enjoy the game nontheless.

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@Rockn-Roll:
Did U ever play TNT/Plutonia or the Masterlevels on UV or Nightmare?
THATs the Doom we love! Doom3 is fine,ok, but it seems not to be a true successor to the classic doom experience.

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