Doom 3


Date: November 3, 2004
Game Title: Doom 3

Well it's 4:30am, and I just finished playing doom 3. Now it is not my intention to shoot down this game in any way, (although it may sound like it some times), but as you will see I have my reasons. Also what makes this game review relevant and insightful is that it is coming from someone who does not get paid to play and review games. I am just a casual long time gamer. So let's review shall we...

First Impressions:

My feeling as the game loaded for the first time was,... well,... giddy. This was a game that every one was supposed to be drooling over. Not me. I have been playing games since the original Atari 2600, and this, as I was expecting was just another first person shooter. I was anxious to get into it but over the years I have become cautious about playing over hyped games. Too many bad experiences, and disappointments. So having said that I think it best to list off my likes and dislikes about doom 3.

What I liked ...

  1. Obviously the rendering technology was very nice.
  2. Decent storyline. Easy to fallow. Although probably not executed in the best way.
  3. Classic doom demons in 3D.
  4. Some of the original style texture maps are noticeable in the game.
  5. Similar sounding sound effects. Any one who played the previous doom games will recognize these.
  6. Imps that climbed along the walls!
  7. Your objective is straight forward, and there was only one time when I was lost and could figure out where to go and what to do next.
  8. The PDA system is a good idea, and fit nicely into the game.
  9. In the later levels virtually every thing is smeared in blood! Blood running down the walls, Bloody corpses littering the floor, bloody/meaty/stitched together tentacles working there way through the levels.
  10. In game interactive computer consoles.

What I did not like ...

  1. Cheap shots! Like opening a door only to be instantly lunge attacked by am imp. The game is hard enough without cheap shots thank you.
  2. "Save and save often" Page 11 of the doom 3 manual. This one I WILL rant about! Excuse me! "Save and save often"! What kind of BS is that! I'm sorry but when I am playing a game like Doom 3, or Warcraft 3, or any other game where I have to "Save and save often" that game is not fun! It's cheap, and it means that the game is going to kick your ass repeatedly. I play games to have fun, not to start over and over again, having to wait up to 18 seconds or more for the game to reload the map because I have to load up my last save point. This is the biggest disappointment I have about Doom 3. This game industry need to start stepping up to the plate, and stop feeding us this BS F#$%ing crap! Rant over!
  3. I swear to god I'm going to take that dam flash light and shove it up whom ever's ass that thought it would make the game better! This is supposed to be the future? Military weapons that don't have built in flashlights! Even today's military have flashlights on there weapons! Switching between the flashlight and your weapon is lame, frustrating, and only makes for cheap scares that get old fast.
  4. The game is too dark, and seems to try and replace genuine scary scenes with a black void. Which is not scary, only annoying that you can't see.

Game Play:

Game play was quick and responsive. I have read articles and seen interviews about the creature AI being rather stupid, and yes alas it's true. They are not that smart, the odd time an imp would jump out of the way, but there ferocious nature makes up for there stupidity. Also as you discover more of the story throughout the game you discover that the creatures are naturally stupid, so there lack of brain matter is explained, and is actually part of the storyline.

Ok I have to touch on this flashlight deal just once more. The game is utterly black! Even with the brightness turned up full I still had to go into my display properties control panel and bump up the gamma and brightness a little. It also makes me beg the question weather or not there was any use of light maps in this game or weather or not the game strictly uses real time lighting and shadows.

Your standard assortment of weapons from the previous doom games have made there return, keeping the game familiar. The detail in every scene of this game is quite good, although there were some places where there could have used more. Not to spoil it for any one, but make sure that when playing the game you keep an eye out for a brick with the ID Software corporate logo etched on it. You will come across this brick in the wall just after you reach the Heroes crypt, but just before you fight hells final demon. Be sure to push this brink into the wall for a secret room.

Can't forget to mention very cool aspect of the game either. In game interactive computer consoles! Just walk up to a certain computer screen and your gun gets tucked away and a mouse cursor appears on the computer screen! Sweet! When you are done simply look away from the screen and your weapon will return. This was a very well conceived feature and well implemented.

Having read through this review a number of times now I can't really do the game justice, simply because to describe it would involve many more paragraphs of text, that of which I am not really prepared to write at this time.

And finnaly, if you came to me and asked if it was worth $50 CAD for this game. I would have to say,... Yes. But it would be a weak yes. Only because of the reasons I have listed above as well as the fallowing problems...

Problems:

I did discover many minor problems with the game, such as imps that have the uncanny ability to defy the laws of physics and jump at you from around corners. For example there were a few time when I saw an imp that was about to perform a jump attack, I would run back behind a corner, and the imp would literally jump through the air, and in mid flight, change it's direction toward me.

That dam piss me off flashlight!

The second minor problem I discovered was with the rendering engine. It's not 100% perfect. Although it does come in at a close 99%. Running on a ATI Radeon X800Pro, with up to date catalyst drivers, there were a handful of occasions when I would see thin 1 pixel wide strip, rendering artifact, and only then when I stood in a specific spot and looked in a specific direction.

Oh yes can't forget these lame experiences. First off there are small hidden rooms with demons hiding in them so when you walk into a certain spot these secret areas will open up and as such you will be attacked from behind. Just like in the original doom games. Only now it's worse because you can't see a dam thing beyond what you have your flashlight pointed at! Yes! I'm ranting on about the flashlight again! It's one of the biggest drawbacks to the game! All those soldiers in the game deserved to die, for not using weapons with lights attached to them!!! At the very least you should have been able to duck tape the flashlight to one of your weapons. Anything would be better then constantly switching between them. Arggrrdsjhshjvbgd... Ok, Ok, that's it! I have nothing else to say about it!

John Carmack:

Having watched some interviews john did about doom 3, I find my self wondering how much more we can expect from him. I see john carmack still trying to be that lone programmer, working hard, at some new technology, and desperately trying to create the next big thing. The problem with that is you can't do that any more. This is not the 1990's. If you are a lone programmer you can't expect to compete with a software development house like say Bungie, or Microsoft that employs dozens of people. Yes I know there were many people working on doom 3 as well, including additional programmers. And for what? A game that is no different in terms of visual quality and game play then say UT2004, Farcry, Half-Life 2 for example.

If i'm not mistaken I recall john saying in an interview that when "I" set out to test different new technologies that he could use in doom 3, I keep thinking, and getting the impression that it was he and he alone doing this, and not "The team". Because he did not say "The team" he said "I".

I guess what I am trying to say is that if ID Software does not start doing more in terms of creating more games with there game engines. I don't see them moving any farther beyond being a tech company, that sells/licence's game engine technology.

Game futrues:

I have been saying this for years, and will now say it again. With all the "new" game engines coming out like Doom 3, UT2004, HL2, Halo2, I can't imagine the game industry who is so profit driven continuing to allow dozens of companies to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on recreating a game engine for next generation games.

The industry needs to pool together and pursue a single simulation engine. Not a game engine, mind you but a simulation engine that encompasses all the things that are common to modern game engines, such as Graphics rendering, sound, AI, etc.

After all there is no competition when game engines like Doom 3, UT2004, HL2, Halo2 at there core are all the same. They all render fancy graphics to the screen, they all play sounds and music, they all have characters running around, they all simulate physics etc etc. The only difference between them is not there technology but something completely separate from it. Textures, Sounds, Music, and 3D geometry. You can take a game like HL2 and move/convert all of it's textures, sounds, maps etc and run the same "game" using the doom 3 engine, with only minor technology difference between the two engines.

The sooner the industry pools together and does this the better for all gamers. Managing one code base, and adding to it's feature list is far more economical, simplified, easier and better for everyone, gamers included. This is my hope for the Microsoft XNA project.

EDIT June 9, 2008: This article was written before any XNA releases and it was a bit of a mystery what microsoft was up to at this point in time.

EDIT: Aug 22, 2009: I recently played through this game again as well as the Resurection of Evil expansion. All of the talking points are still valid, the game is utterly dark, stupid friggin flashlight etc etc. I just want to add that playing though it again I found it very tiresome and the replay value not really fun at all. The whole game consists of the fallowing, "See demon, shoot, kill, repeat". The levels are very linear, but the AI is a little more smarter then I had remembered interms of enemy soldiers taking cover behind crates etc.

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Name of author Dean Lunz (aka Created by: X)
Computer programming nerd, and tech geek.
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