Review: Doom 3 (Xbox)

Posted in Action,Reviews,Xbox by Shawn Wallace on 26 2005f April 2005

Although some hardcore fans may disagree, the original Doom on Playstation is really what got gamers interested in first-person shooters (FPS). First person shooters were already popular on PC with Castle Wolfenstein 3D and Doom after that, but when Doom hit the console in the mid 90’s that’s when things changed. Since then, there have been many incarnations of the first-person shooter from the likes of Duke Nuke Em’, Goldeneye, Halo, Deus Ex and Chronicles of Riddick, each FPS has outdone the previous. Now does Doom 3, one of the originators of the FPS genre bring anything new to the table? Not necessarily.

The game begins as you, a space marine a couple of hundred years from now, arrive at your new assignment at a Mars research facility. The facility is owned by the Union Aerospace Corporation who has government contracts to research weapons, forces of nature in space and that sort of ilk. Once you check in, you get your first assignment and try to find a missing scientist. There’s no action during the first ten or so minutes of the game while you’re looking for this guy, the time is mainly used for the player to get used to the controls. Once you do find the missing scientist, all hell breaks loose from there on out. You find out that the Union Aerospace Corporation has been dealing with evil spirits and has found a window directly to hell and is in the process of sucking the entire facility down with it. All the people you passed by to the start the game are now mindless zombies trying to eat your face in addition to hellish monsters that spawn out of nowhere and throw fireballs your way.

The whole game play aspect of Doom 3 seems to be taking it back to the essence. There are no vehicles to jump in and control, you can’t hold to weapons at the same time, no cool gadgets or anything lavish or extravagant. Doom 3 keeps it old school with your basic weapons ranging from a pistol and shotgun to a machine gun, rocket launcher and chainsaw. There are no pick items that give you special abilities, just health packs, and some armor here and there. The simplicity of it is good thing because it keeps you focused on one thing: the action.

The graphics are crisp and clear and makes Doom 3 one of the best looking games on Xbox. The lighting is superb making every room and hallway dark and dreary causing your senses to heighten to any movement or sound. In some areas, the space is so dark you have to switch to a flashlight to see what’s ahead of you, and more likely than not, you’ll flash the light into the face of a demon causing to try and bludgeon the creature to death with a flashlight. The environment created for the entire game just gives you the creeps. The only thing is that most of the game is indoors and it gets kind of redundant. Oh, another hallway, ah, another room with shadows in the corner. It would have been nice just to go outside and do some damage or have some other type of environment. But for what it is, it works.

To add to the environment effect, there really isn’t any music throughout the game, it’s just quiet. The only sounds are the buzzing of machines, bleeping of computers and the moaning and breathing of a creature. The lack of a musical score just adds to the intensity of the game. You’ll find yourself shooting up bodies on the floor just to make sure they don’t wake up and try to knock your head off.

The voice acting throughout the game is well-done with a variety of audio diaries that you can listen to when picking up files from dead scientists. The diaries are important because not only does it give more background info and what is going on in the facility but it also makes available different pass codes to access equipment or get into a new room.

One thing that wasn’t included on the PC version that came out last summer was the co-op campaign where you can go through game with one of your boys either sitting next to you or on Xbox Live. The game is much easier that way but there are more demons to destroy, which is a good thing anyway right? There’s also the deathmatch game that you can catch on Xbox Live, but it’s really your run of the mill multi-player game that’s basically played out and tired by now; especially since there really isn’t an arsenal of weapons or interesting maps to choose from.

Although Doom 3 isn’t breaking any new ground, it is on he cutting edge of the FPS genre and hardcore FPS fans will appreciate the stripped down formula. Everything takes a backseat to the action. There’s not much of a plot to the story, there’s a whole bunch of cool gadgets to get rid of the creatures, and even your character doesn’t have a name. When it comes down to it, Doom 3 is a shoot and kill first and ask questions later type of game, but by the time you’re done, who really cares anyway? Conquering the evil forces is all that matters.



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