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Ashley_Pomeroy

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  1. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Is Doom 3 good?

    In my opinion it's more interesting to write about than play. Back in 2004 it was Id Software's big comeback after the multiplayer-only Quake III Arena, but by 2004 most of the people who made the original Doom had left the company and Id Software itself didn't command the same kind of respect it did in the late 1990s. The rest of the gaming world had moved on - the new trends at the time were military shooters and tactical games along the lines of Rainbow Six. Noways a four-year gap doesn't sound like a lot but it felt a lot longer in the early 2000s. Furthermore it came out in the same year as Half-Life 2 and Far Cry, which felt like "the future" - they had open maps, smarter AI and occasional non-linear aspects. Doom 3 has a couple of interactive bits near the beginning but after the first few levels all of that seemed to get forgotten about. I remember that the early E3 demo of Doom 3 showcased some clever monster AI and a bit of stealthy creeping, but in the actual game the monsters either jump at you or run straight for you. Almost the entire game takes place in narrow corridors, or open-looking environments that box you in. In its defence it has some genuinely good jump-scares and a couple of neat lighting effects. I remember one sequence where you have to follow an illuminated machine as it moves through a pitch-black chamber, and a bit where you see the silhouette of an imp through some stairs. But again about a third of the way through the game all of that stops, as if they needed to wrap it up quickly. The environmental audio is very good. Against it, the design is incredibly formulaic. The environments are almost interchangeable. All of the characters appear to be made of modelling clay, even the human characters. Dr Betruger is so cartoonishly evil he sounds like a villain from Scooby Doo. The PDA voice messages are dull and flat, and the pacing is all wrong - three-quarters of the way through the game people are still complaining that their screwdrivers have gone missing. Not only are your guns weak, but there's almost no visible indication that the enemies are taking damage. My recollection of the gameplay is of constantly having to reload. I mean, I'd like to enjoy it. Every time I play it I'm prepared to give it a fresh try. The basic idea sounds great - an uncompromisingly dark horror shooter - but every time I play it I'm just reminded of why it irritates me. And as time goes by the graphics look less special and it gets harder to run with modern PCs. It's a bit like digging up your ex-wife and re-animating her. You quickly realise why you broke up and after eight years buried underground her physical and mental condition have decayed. At least she doesn't smell any more. I'd be grateful if you don't talk about this. Off the top of my head it was the first major A-list title that didn't run on Windows 98 - I took the opportunity to upgrade my PC at the time. To this day I've never actually finished it - every time I play it I give up in boredom around the time you get the soul sphere. I remember thinking it was a tragedy that the team behind System Shock 2 didn't have access to the Doom 3 engine.
  2. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Protagonist Portrait Point ?

    The earliest animated status bar face I can recall is from Domark's awful Friday the 13th for the 8-bit machines. It came out in 1986. Your character's hair sticks up as he or she gets more scared. It's terrible but at least they tried. In the case of Doom it's one of those things that lightens the game and makes it feel darkly funny instead of being pompous. I remember one of the criticisms levelled at Quake was that the brown colour and Nine Inch Nails soundtrack made it feel humourless, as if Id were trying to turn it into a serious work of art, even though it was just a simple action game. The first I can remember is Swords and Sorcery from 1985, for the 8-bit machines. It's simplistic - you lead a party of one - but it's notable for having a real time 3D dungeon at a time when the likes of e.g. The Bard's Tale had flick-screen: It wasn't very good and even at the time it was very obscure. Knightmare, the TV show, also had an animated head-turning-into-a-skull life force meter, but it was prerendered and only appeared at intervals: Z, the Command and Conquer clone, has quite detailed protagonist portraits, but that came out in 1996, several years after Doom.
  3. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Games with infighting

    It's one of the things that made Doom stand out at the time. Most games until that point had baddies that couldn't even hurt each other accidentally, because their projectiles didn't harm other baddies, and in plot terms most other games have relatively intelligent monsters - the baddies in Doom are essentially dumb animals driven into a frenzied rage.
  4. Ashley_Pomeroy

    The Complicated Dynamic Between Doom 1 and the SSG

    I can clearly remember playing Doom 2 for the first few times, and a couple of things spring to mind. Back then I had no idea that you could snipe with the chaingun or pistol - the realisation that the first shot is always bang on target didn't strike me until years later, and I don't think it was common knowledge back then. As such the standard "sniper weapon" for me and all my friends was the pump shotgun, because it had a nice tight spread and killed the former humans easily. The super shotgun felt a bit naff, because its shells went all over the place. They had vertical dispersion, whereas the standard shotgun fired in a neat line. As a consequence I didn't use the SSG very often back then. Nowadays of course it's a monster unless the map forces you to fight baddies at a distance. I have no idea how popular the SSG was in the wider Doom scene circa 1995, although I imagine multiplayer players loved it. Also, my recollection is that at least initially Doom II felt like more of a slog than Doom, simply because it had more monsters. Nowadays I can blaze through the maps at lightning speed, but back then I took a patient approach, which works but is boring. Akin to Wolfenstein, popping out from corners and sniping baddies, which again doesn't showcase the SSG very well.
  5. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Which side of CONSOLES is meant to be facing?

    My subjective opinion is that the glare in the monitor screen is supposed to be light coming from above, in which case the grey "rackmount" boxes are at the top, but that feels wrong. Perhaps the people who made Doom were unfamiliar with computers. They were pretty expensive back in 1993.
  6. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Doom in other genres

    I like to think that if the designers had slightly different tastes Doom might have turned out a bit like Space Hulk, the 1993 Warhammer game - with you controlling a squad of Doom marines in real time, with slower-paced, more tactical gameplay. The entire FPS genre might have been slightly different if Id had gone for that kind of gameplay. One thing the Doom games seem to completely ignore is outer space - UAC must have space battleships etc, but they never seem to play a part. Perhaps the spaceships in the world of Doom are largely automated and the demons simply crush them. Text adventures were pretty much dead by 1993, but if Doom had been developed ten years earlier for the 8-bit machines we might have had to GO WEST and PICK UP ARMOUR and SHOOT SERGEANT and TURN ON RADSUIT etc. SHOOT CYBERDEMON. What with? ROCKET LAUNCHER. "You shoot the Cyberdemon with the rocket launcher. He shrugs it off and kills you. You are dead." Rhythm game? Management simulation, set before the events of Knee-Deep in the Dead, where you have to keep the base stocked with supplies and arrange for damaged weapons to be repaired?
  7. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Let's talk about Enjay Doom for a goddamn minute

    Playing it now - and it's generally good fun - that level in particular reminded me of Rise of the Triad. It has the same open-air-with-pillars design and I wonder which came first.
  8. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Which Doom sound effects do you like/hate?

    I've always felt that the big boom of the super shotgun is the best sound effect in any game, any genre, of all time, ever. The boom and the ca-lunk-click of the locking action. It sounds like it means business. A close second is the revenant punching sound, which is a nice satisfying thwack. On the other hand I get irritated beyond belief by the "revenant running around" sound. Just shut up! The peooww when you hit a pain elemental and the whoomp when they explode is satisfying, because they're so irritating. Conversely I hate the lost soul CAAAWWW because they're massive pests. On the whole the sound design is surprisingly on-point for something made at a time when not every PC owner even had a sound card. That reminds me - there were PC speaker sound effects that make the game sound like a mid-80s arcade machine. They're horrible!
  9. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Things about Doom you just found out

    I'm showing my age, but I've always associated the moonwalk with "Billie Jean". Michael Jackson unveiled the move during a Motown show in 1983 (at 13:07): "Smooth Criminal" had the move where he leaned forwards really far, by putting his heels onto hidden bolts mounted in the floor. Er, I learn from the wiki that the random number "generator" mentioned above - it's actually just a list of numbers - doesn't have a 1 in it. I assume the fixed nature of the random numbers would be useful for tool-assisted speedruns.
  10. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Was Doom designed to be played at walking speed?

    I remember almost never using strafe or run when I played it back in 1994, but then again I probably played it most often on Hurt Me Plenty. Nowadays I blaze through Doom on UV with running on, slaughtering monsters left and right, but at the time it felt more slow-paced and a little bit tactical - the kind of game where you had to remember the monster placement so that you could shoot them before they got you. I wonder if that's why Doom 3 had such a different tone. In that game you're much slower and the gameplay is a lot more measured.
  11. Ashley_Pomeroy

    When Did The Comunity Start Calling Them Pinkies?

    As mentioned passim I remember playing the shareware version of Doom when it was released on a bunch of machines in college circa March 1994 - the game was reviewed in the magazines around that time - and although our college machines could run Doom none of them had the internet, so we weren't exposed to the big wide world. Nonetheless I distinctly remember everybody calling the demons "pink piggies", and making references to Deliverance, e.g. "here piggy piggy piggy", "squeal like a pig" etc. This was in Salisbury, in rural England, where we actually have real pigs. The resemblance is uncanny. In real life it takes fewer shotgun shells to kill a pig. So anyway it must be an example of parallel evolution. Off the top of my head none of the other baddies had nicknames. There was something about the piggies that stood out. I think it's because (a) the former humans are a bit dull (b) the imps are just people with spikes (c) the cacodemons look cartoonish and don't seem to fit the rest of the game's look (e) the other monsters are rare in E1 (f) the piggy is sort-of cool-looking and also sort-of ridiculous.
  12. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Timing of sound effects

    I also record sound separately. How do I sync the two up? I load the video and audio channels into Premiere and nudge the audio back and forth until it sounds right. Syncing a separate voiceover is slightly harder than it sounds - I would instinctively fire off a pistol shot as an audio clapperboard, but in Doom that would alert all the monsters! As for capturing gameplay video, NVidia's Shadowplay is easy to use and works well. That's how I created this video of me finishing E4M2:
  13. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Things about Doom you just found out

    It sounds like the guard is still saying "schutzstaffel", but with a different emphasis - in the original he says "shoe-staffle" whereas in the newer sound he says "shoe-sta-fuh". It's not just pitched differently. Is it a sample from one of the console versions? Perhaps the voice-over person didn't realise it was a German word and was just imitating the sound.
  14. Ashley_Pomeroy

    What do you think of Doom's future?

    I was intrigued by the launch of Ion Fury earlier in the year. Who would have thought that there would ever be a Build Engine game for the PlayStation 4? I have no idea how many units it shifted, but Id's decision to keep the original Doom as a catalogue title long after it was a "thing" seems a smart move in retrospect. It'd be fascinating if they hired John Romero et al to make a commercial sequel to Doom 2, with 32 new maps and perhaps one or two extra weapons. It would sell a tiny fraction as many units as the actual Doom 2 and it would mostly be a novelty, but at this point the only costs would be the fees of the level designers. They could tell the designers that mean old John Carmack no longer works for Id, that might encourage them to come back. Or alternatively they could just download a lot of a stuff from DoomWorld and burn it into a CD.
  15. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Holy moly! An ambush!

    This was my main problem with Doom 3. The entire gameplay was a series of jumpscare ambushes - it had no replayability value. Jumpscare ambushes and the most boring audio logs known to man. You know, I recently replayed System Shock. I bought the Enhanced Edition on Steam even though I have the actual original game, or a budget re-release anyway. The voice acting in that game was done by the developers, but it's still miles better than the voice acting in Doom 3. See, in Doom 3 the characters are still moaning about lost screwdrivers / suspicious order requisitions three-quarters of the way through the game. Also, right, also I recently bought Rage, which is what Id did after Doom 3. It was the driving/shooting game with megatextures, and again the gameplay was basically a series of ambushes, but unlike Doom 3 there was more room to move and the AI was much better, so it didn't feel as bad. The thing about the original Doom is that for a game made in 1993 it has a mixture of ambushes and non-linear combat against large groups of baddies, whereas most action games of the 2000s had one or other of those - Serious Sam and its ilk were just huge arena fights, the Modern Warfare games were almost scripted stories - but not both. But, er, it depends on the execution. I've been playing Back to Saturn recently, and it's awesome. I prefer the first episode - the second one has a lot of dual-archvile ambushes that irritate me. Or it seems to have a lot of etc (in reality there are probably only two or three, but they seem more frequent). In my opinion they work best if they have a build-up and aren't intended to kill you stone dead, because that's not fun at all. The build-up is better than the payoff. Alternatively I've recently been playing No Sleep for the Dead, which is an E1 replacement. E1M4: Sludge Factory has a great riff on the pick-up-the-key-then-it-goes-dark trap from E1M3, but although it's a lot harder it's still not objectively hard, and I enjoyed it. I smiled at the designer's cleverness. Unlike e.g. Plutonia, which was just chaingunner traps. Also, I'm thinking of that one level in Hell Revealed where you go down a lift and there are about nine chaingunners all around you. That wasn't much fun.
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