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Doom 3 review for PC

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Doom 3 review

Trite attack in Doom 3
A bunch of Trites ambush the player
Set on the planet Mars, Doom 3 puts the player in the assault boots of a UAC marine sent from Earth. What starts out as a routine job assignment for the marine soon degenerates into a serious life threatening situation as all he11 breaks loose in the base.
This sets the scene for the most visually stunning first person perspective computer game to so far be released.
ID's new graphic engine is simply awesome. Features include a real time dynamic lighting system that casts realistic shadows on your surroundings in the game. The effect can be disturbingly realistic as an adversary casts it's black shadow on the wall or an overhead fan darkens the floor beneath with rotating patterns.
Surfaces look extremely realistic in Doom 3, metal looks like metal, a jacket looks like it's made from textile, pipes stand out in 3 dimensions, even the soles on the boots of an expired zombie have realistic tread patterns. The sheer level of graphic detail is on a different level to anything previous.
This graphic detail comes at the price of requiring fairly good hardware but the end result creates a believable and dark player environment.

To shed some light on this detailed dark arena, Doom 3 issues the player with a pocket torch. Once again this torch is realistically simulated and gives a cone of light complete with the ring patterns everyone is familiar with. The downside to this is that to use the torch you must holster your firearm which largely leaves you defenceless.
To be honest if I was on Mars and facing the hoards of he11 I would not be poking around with a puny torch and no weapon ready. I would think hey, why not stick this torch on my weapon with some tape or something so wherever the light shines the high velocity metal will shortly follow. Thankfully some clever whizzes have made little mods that let you do just this!
A Revenant in Doom 3 prepares to unleash his fury on the game player
Doom 3 is a dark game, spot the Revenant?
Doom 3 base
Doom 3 graphics are much better than these screenshots
I completed Doom 3 on marine setting (normal difficulty) with a AMD 2600 ghz computer packing 1 gigabyte memory and an ATI Radeon Pro 128mb graphics card running in 1024 x 768 resolution at high detail. The game played fluidly throughout and remarkably had no crashes during the many hours of gameplay.
I used the Beta release 4.9 Catalyst drivers which ATI made available for Doom 3.

I've also played the game on a 1.1 Ghz Duron with 384MB memory and FX5200 graphics card. On this machine the game was perfectly playable at 640 x 480 on low detail and looked surprisingly good for such a low resolution.
The bottom line is that this game can soak up as much computing power as you can throw at it. It just keeps looking better and better.
Doom 3  Imp on the player's case
Toasting an Imp in Doom 3

In common with the excellent Thief series of games, Doom 3 portraits surroundings that are very dark. This does cause some practical difficulties when playing in a well lit enviroment, at times all you will be able to see on screen is your own reflection in the monitor. To play Doom 3 you need a dark place to situate your computer, the gameplay then becomes the dark and stressed experience that ID intended it to be.
Of course unless you have effective window blinds or better still no windows this may mean playing the game after the sun goes down.

When you've found your dark playing area the gameplay for Doom 3 is the classic first person shooter experience that ID are famed for (and invented). No need to sneak around trying to make no noise here, this is in your face monster combat all the way. You will face off against undead Zombies of many kinds who pack anything from a torch to a chaingun, fireball wielding Imps, massive bio-mechanical monsters with big teeth and many other monstrocities all of which look superb and sound suitably unworldly.

To fight these hoards of badies you will find plenty of good stuff lying around the base. Use chainguns, chainsaws, shotguns, plasma rifles, rocket launchers and of course the famous BFG amongst others. You also pick up armour and much needed medi kits liberally sprinkled thoughout the game.

All of these pieces of offensive equipment have there place in the game, many are particularly suited to dealing with a certain foe, just make sure you have a well charged BFG when an Archvile teleports in or else you will be fighting off a never-ending small army shortly after!
Sound in Doom 3 is excellent for the most part. A 5.1 surround sound system is supported to great effect. Some sounds are a little weak compared to the others, the machine gun is not a favourite of mine in the sound department. When a monster arrives on the scene you will know by the distinvtive sound it makes, very handy!

Apart from the menu music there isn't much in the way of in game musical scores, the surroundings though sometimes provide a strange kind of almost musical sound that changes as you move through the enviroment. Of course that could be my imagination after being in the depths of a Mars base for many hours with no sleep. Ahh a spide....

The game sounds excellent through headphones also. Now where are my new pants?

Many consoles in Doom 3 are interactive.
Some consoles are interactive in Doom 3
Computer Games SCORECARD

Graphics 9.9/10
Sound 8.8/10
Gameplay 9/10
Originality 4/10

Computer Games score 9.1/10

If you want a FPS experience and do not like tacked on puzzles or sneaking or RPG elements or anything else to unfocus the journey then buy this superb reincarnation of the great DOOM.
Doom 3 together with Halflife 2 must be two of the most anticipated and hyped computer games ever. Thankfully Doom 3 largely delivers on it's long awaited promise and to me is more or less what I expected it be.

If Halflife 2 also delivers then 2004 will be a classic year in computer gaming. Maybe by the time you read this we will already know.