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Doom 3

The year's most anticipated video game

By Michael Waskiewicz

michael_waskiewicz@fortwaynereader.com

Fort Wayne Reader

2004-08-14


Platform: PC
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: ďMĒ Mature
Players: 1, Multiplayer

It would not be an understatement to say that idís Doom franchise changed gaming. Overnight, queer little characters like Pac-Man and his obsessive quest to eat stupid white dots were finished. The advent of fully realized 3D worlds, multiplayer and cool terms like "Frag" and "Deathmatch" changed the way we played games and made Doom and Doom II the greatest gaming experiences of its time. To this day, there has not been a game that has eclipsed their impact or have not been directly influenced by them in some way.

After literally years of obsessive anticipation by fans over the return of id Softwareís Doom franchise, the wait is over - Doom 3 is here. But was it worth the wait?

BOTTOM LINE: Doom 3 is eerily similar to the originals in many ways (itís a remake, you know), but it fails to deliver on the hope that it would revolutionize the modern-day shooter. In fact, this throwback in gameplay (which hardcore fans will relish) seems so dated that games like Bejeweled deliver as much fun and challenge.

Thatís not to say Doom 3 is a bad game, in fact itís quite good. Itís just too easy and lacks the things we take for granted in todayís modern first-person shooters, like Far Cry. These games contain stealth modes, unique and upgradeable weapons, varied and expansive environments, interesting puzzles, etc. Doom 3 is almost singularly "run and gun." I suppose this is Doomís claim to fame and why mess with a proven formula, but I think gamers want just a little more depth these days. Sorry id, but we did expect a little more from you. After all, you did change our lives.

What does make Doom 3 special and a milestone video game is that itís quite scary. Surprisingly agile creatures are around every corner and where and when they pop out at you is anyoneís guess. The gameís tone and atmosphere are almost entirely dark and the game designers skillfully used this to enhance gameplay. For example, you may walk into a room that looks perfectly normal. Suddenly, the lights flik off and youíre scrambling not to get toasted while searching for a vantage point that allows you to see whatís coming after you against a distant light source. It truly works and I can think of at least a dozen or so genuine scares. For the first time ever, the typical devices of the horror-film genre are employed with great success in a video game.

Doom 3ís fortunes will be made with its graphics engine. The engine delivers a spectacle so polished and realistic; itís like watching an animated film (Technologically, animated film quality is the best we can do in the 2000s - cinema-quality is at least 10 years off.). The environments are well-crafted and dynamic, with interactive elements like terminals, video games machines, and switches all over the place for you to play with. This generally enhances the belief that this is a real place. Of course you need a computer with tons of NASA-like processing juice to really appreciate it. For those of us without a computer made by Cray, Doom 3 still has the best graphics quality on the market.

Sadly, Doom 3 is not one giant leap for gaming, but rather one small step towards a better-looking gaming world. The impact of Doom 3 will be seen in all of the great games to come that utilize the one thing Doom 3 has going for it - itís graphics engine. In the meantime, we have to live with idís very linear and ultimately fun remake of a classic.

BEST BET: If you were a gamer who passed on Far Cry to wait for Doom 3, you may have made a mistake and should pick up a copy today. Doom 3, however, has something Far Cry will never be able to deliver - nostalgia.

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