Doom 3


by Tracy Whitelaw
author awarded score: 90/100

Doom 3 review
Publisher: Activision
Developer: ID
Format Reviewed: Xbox
Reviewed By: Tracy Whitelaw

Doom is one of those games that I have often avoided in the past. I’ve heard numerous people go on about it for years and as all the little console gamers waited breathless with anticipation on its arrival, I just shrugged. I really never got the hype on the PC. The few times I’d be urged to play Doom in its previous incarnations I just felt sick from the sway and didn’t see what all the fuss was about. When I heard about Doom 3 on the Xbox I tended to just turn a blind eye and wait and see whether it really could work on a console (you know who you are people ‘oh it’s a PC game, it’ll never work on a console!’). When I first loaded it I did as I’d been advised, I switched out all the lights, made sure it was very dark in the room, turned the sound right up and began….. oh… my….. god… this game is SO scary!

Doom 3 Xbox Review

The first thing that hits you about Doom 3 is the amazing graphics and the atmosphere. Lets talk about those graphics first though. They are outstanding and absolutely make the most of the Xbox’s capabilities. If you’re lucky enough to have HDTV you will be pleased to know that the game runs in 480p so you will be delivered beautiful crystal clear graphics throughout. The character creation on this game is brilliant and it’s so easy to become attached to your ingame character. Most of the other characters you encounter share this intense realism, even the hella scary monsters which show up throughout the game. The backgrounds in this title add so much depth from their blood streaked walls and intricately detailed panels to the breathtaking lighting effects. I cannot stress how good these are. They add another dimension of fear to the game as you’ll find yourself jumping at shadows and waiting patiently as they appear around corners before unloading a clip into the demons that approach. There are areas of the game where you will be plunged into darkness and only the use of your torch will provide any light. It is a brilliant idea and combined with the sound really makes for a terrifying experience (although it would be good to be able to tape the torch to your gun, it's far more terrifying not to). Every once in a while you’ll suddenly see a pair of flashing red eyes glaring at you from a corner and trust me this certainly puts you on the edge of your seat. I didn’t notice much slowdown in the single player game at all and I’m happy to say that the impressive graphics kept up to speed throughout in single player mode.

Doom 3 Xbox Review

The graphics are not the only outstanding aspect of this title, the sound also is an integral part of what makes it so damn good. It is Dolby Digital and if you can hook it up to a good surround sound system I promise you that you’ll look behind you a few times! The sounds are extremely realistic and the details here are what adds to the overall feel of being completely immersed in the game. The armour and the ammo make the familiar chink metallic sound whilst the demons make horrific shuffling or scraping sounds that prove to be bloody scary! Again as with the graphics, it’s the background that really makes this game feel complete. The humming from the generator or the occasional background shout or tapping really keeps you on edge. I honestly can’t think of very many games where I have enjoyed the sound quite this much. In the moments where it goes completely silent it is very difficult not to start panicking a little, trust me, silence can be worse than screaming at times and you’ll flash that torch around like a crazy person checking to see who might be hiding in the corners. At one stage I heard a muted breathing coming from the back of my gamesroom, the breathing got louder and creepier and as I turned my character around a huge great fireball whooshed past me scaring the living daylights out of me. I really can’t find a fault with the sound on this game, it is top class from start to finish. I suppose if I had to find one fault it would be that for the Deaf Gamer this title may lose a lot of it’s magic because so much of the beauty of it is bound up in the sounds. Even though you can use the PDA to help with what to do next etc many of the clues are adio recordings left by other people that you have to listen to. So as mentioned this game really relies on the sounds to add to its story and fright factor.

Doom 3 Xbox Review

Now, for someone who wasn’t interested in this title at all, I have to say that I was blown away by the gameplay. I don’t overly like games that take ages to get into the ‘good stuff’ so I was pleased when Doom 3 pretty much gave me the normal introduction to my character and the situation and then thrust me into the action. Basically you are a new Marine around town and you are going to try to survive demons, monsters and more in the space colony you’ve been sent to. Your fellow marines are often taken over by the nasties and some of them have been smart enough to start taking helpful little notes on what they think is going on there before they were ultimately munched by the baddies. In your staying alive task, you are lucky enough to get your hands on numerous different weapons to aid you on your quest and there is just enough ammo available to let you take care of most of the demons. The good thing about this game is that if you’re smart you can pretty much make it with the ammo provided although something to watch out for is that you need to switch between torch and weapon and trying to shoot a fireball throwing demon with a torch ain’t smart or clever people.

Doom 3 Xbox Review

The single player mode on Doom 3 is a little shorter than the PC version but if you’ve never played the PC version then you won’t notice the difference. It is just long enough to not bore you or become tiresome however if you suffer from motion sickness you might want to lower the horizontal and vertical sensitivity. There are thankfully tons of options on Doom 3 so you can set up the controller exactly how you want it. This makes it easier for people who like to invert their weapon control and so on and it’s a good addition to the title. One of the biggest disappointments for me with this game was that the Xbox Live feature doesn’t quite live up to its expectations. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is BRILLIANT fun playing this on live however we suffered a lot of lag and it eventually became too difficult to continue playing. The combination of lag and horrible sway meant the game didn’t quite deliver for me. The maps are good but there aren’t enough and although they all have their own little hook, I just wanted more. There are some class additions such as beserker mode where you can literally go insane and beat the crap out of anyone who gets in your way but this can be used against you also remember and if someone you’re playing with on Live just wants to continually kick your ass, they’ll use this every time. You can also play in Deathmatch Last Man Standing, Team DeathMatch and a Tournament mode but over all it just seems a little limited but then that may be down to the fact they have added a two player co-op mode where you can actually go through the game with another person. This is pretty good fun but would have been nice with 4 people. You may also notice when you look at the other players that they look kinda dumb because when they don’t have any weapons their hands are shaped as though they’re holding one. A minor quibble yes but it could have been fixed to add to the authenticity. Overall the single player gameplay is what makes this game amazingly scary and intense but the multiplayer aspect will add longevity to it.

Doom 3 Xbox Review

Now, a lot of gamers out there are likely to think of Doom and all its predecessors as masculine games that obviously won’t appeal to females however I have to tell you that as a female gamer this rates high for me. Hell is no place for girls clearly and so you can’t play any females in this title but it doesn’t matter. It will provide you with just as much joy and frights as it does to any male gamer so don’t be put off. If you enjoy horror games combined with shooters then make this title one for your collection.

Overall I was really awed by Doom 3. It completely made me readdress my feelings on the old Doom titles and I have been singing its praises to anyone who will listen. It has been quite some time since a game really put me on edge and actually made me jump (last was probably way back with Silent Hill) and so I loved that it was so atmospheric and engaging that you really felt fear. This title would have been a ten out of ten if it weren’t for the multiplayer angle letting it down slightly. I wanted the multiplayer game to be as scary as the single player but I just never felt that and the lag and freezing framerate really disappointed me. I completely recommend this however if you want something challenging but not too frustrating. Switch out your lights, turn up the sound system and switch off your phone before playing to get the best out of Doom 3… oh and also because when your phone goes in the middle of this game you’re likely to jump so high with fright you’ll make a hole in your ceiling. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.