One of the most anticipated PC games ever is out: Doom 3 and my son and I played it for a little bit this evening. We picked it up and Best Buy as soon as it was available and it didn't take my son and I long to become immersed in the new layout and storyline.
The basic storyline is you are a marine on mars and it's your job to retrieve a scientist in the Mars underground. Along the way the marine learns how to use your PDA to listen to audio and watch video files, retrieve in-game emails and get security clearance to various areas on the Mars outpost. The game isn't completely free roaming like Grand Theft Auto Vice City, players must follow a set path, though the areas are somewhat expanse and it takes a bit to get used to so you don't move around in circles. The music and dark atmosphere are absolutely creepy and though the first level is a bit slow getting to familiar Doom carnage, there is something very satisfying and yet eerie when that moment comes.
Here's some very early thoughts, tips and overviews after playing the first few levels:
- graphics are fantastic. IE. boss monsters are well drawn and really scary looking.
- sounds are outstanding, even with onboard soundcards. Monsters will grunt, other characters will talk from all around you and the closer you are to them the louder their voices will be. Also, monitor screens play videos and some are even interactive.
- shredding already dead monsters with a shotgun is a blast, pun intended. You can turn flesh to gory skeleton with one or more well-timed shots.
- ladders are a pain in the ass to climb. You have to be positioned in almost the absolute middle to take up and down ladders. Be sure to look up (PAGE DOWN key) at the top of the ladder to move past.
- I want to go outside Mars exploring! (don't know if this is possible in later levels). I hope they give me never-ending oxygen supply and let me go exploring. From what I've read from others who have more fully explored the game, this isn't possible, but there is a mods capability in the game, so maybe some enterprising modder will be able to make a Mars outside mission that is full of exploration and fighting baddies.
- the pistol is practically as useless as pummeling enemies with bare hands. You can also hit stuff with your flashlight and a cool, realistic thunk sound occurs.
- the storyline is engaging and sucks you in, though in the first level you do start to wonder when you can start blowing some creatures away. I won't spoil when it happens, but it is a bit of a surprise.
- learn to quick save (F5) often when your health is not too low
- the whole PDA with video and audio files is very cool. You have to listen to audio files to catch secret 3-digit codes to use. Sometimes these codes are at the very end of these audio files. It's important to listen because these codes open up chests with some useful supplies (medkits to restore health, ammo, weapons, etc.)
- punch the chicken minigame is the bomb! (in the first level go to the cafeteria area and play the game in the corner, and rack up your score). After the first level you can no longer play, so don't miss exploring this one.
- lighting is easier this time around than Doom 2 — you can actually see! The flashlight option makes it even nicer (F key for flashlight)
- a Pentium 4 is not required, despite what the minimum requirements say on the bottom of the box; it will run just fine on a lower end e-Machine Celeron with 512 MB DDR RAM and an NVidia GeForce FX 5200 PCI card (see Amazon links below for graphics card and expansion RAM)
It's still kind of early yet and we haven't even reviewed the multiplayer options like death match mode over the internet or LAN party playing, but so far I'd say at least the single player game alone makes the package well worth the wait! Great job, ID Software and Activision. Traditional Doom fans might be a bit disappointed in the beginning. It's not the jump in and start blasting baddies Doom of the past, this game is more of an interactive story which sucks you into a nightmarish storyline but it has a lot of the old elements the further you play through. Lots of blood, gore and violence which easily earned it a 17+ Mature rating, but at least in the early levels I saw no nudity or heard no four letter F-bombs. I guess it's up to parents to decide on an individual basis whether this game will turn their kids evil like those two warped Columbine teens who went on a killing spree in their school (Interesting sidenote: I used to have a copy of the Doom WAD file that one of the Columbine teens designed, but it got lost along the way. Bet it can still be found if Googled). This is one of the most graphically pleasing games ever, but besides just good eye candy, it is actually fun to play. Grade: A
Play Doom 3 with the lights down low and the volume cranked.
A slightly different version of this post appeared at Things That ... Make You Go Hmm