Richard Sawyer

Doom 3

13th June 2005
reviewer: Richard Sawyer
rating: 4 out of 5
developed by: ID Software
published by: Activision
rrp: £19.99
formats: PC (version tested) and Xbox

Announced at E3 2001, Doom 3 grabbed everyone’s attention, and why not? It's an old school series with an as-yet unblemished history. PC gamers everywhere were gnawing at the bit for another ID game to truly push their high-end machines to the next level; salivating over the screenshots and regurgitating John Carmack’s geek speak on forums all over the Interweb. However when the game propelled itself onto our homes last summer was it a case of style over substance?

It’s been accused of being an exercise in: open door - shoot evil beings – repeat. Though Doom 3’s charm lies in the extended version of that loop: marvel at how lovely the door looks – open door – empty bowl at the sight of evil beings – marvel at glorious particle effects – change pants – repeat.

You see the gameplay is rather one-dimensional on the surface: you just shoot stuff. However the game’s hook lies more in the amazing atmosphere that is created; its ability to make grown men turn the light on – “just in case”. Anyone who has played the fantastically well paced Aliens Vs Predator will know the score here; sans motion tracker I’m afraid. In fact if this game were a musical bootleg of non-musical things, the DJ would be spinning AvP and the Arnie classic Total Recall. The stunning graphics engine serves as a tool for the designers to envelope the gamer into the world in a way which acts as a rather pleasant substitute for problem solving/key finding/block moving/being an Elf without any weapons-style gameplay found elsewhere.

All in all, some gamers will find the action too thin and won’t appreciate the purity of this shooter, whilst others will thrive on the adrenaline and fear and take to this instantly. It’s worth noting a decent PC is required; the GeForce 6600GT is being touted as “the Doominator” – and with genuine reason too: it laps up this game and is available online for a smidge over £100 online, couple this with a mid range Athlon XP/64, say 2400 and above, half a gig of RAM and Doom 3 can be played in 99% of its full glory. nVidia have really worked hard with ID to make sure all of their cards work well with Doom though, and where as Half Life 2 is a game best played on an ATI card, nVidia does get the nod here – just a point worth considering if you are in the market for an upgrade. Also remember that as the latest ID engine it will most likely find itself in about 50% of shooters released in the next 18 months; including ID’s own Quake 4 this Christmas.

You’ll already know if this is your type of game or not, and if it is, you’ll love it. It’s a breath of fresh air in my book. Get this: it's not based on an historical war! Crazy idea for a shooter I know. It can now also be picked for as little as £14 online, so get in; it'll rock your face off.