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PC Game Review: Doom 3

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It’s pitch black. I’m crawling through a small tunnel system underground, lighting my way with the flash light. After the guy I had to protect had died, I saw no other way out than these tunnels.

I lose my sense of orientation completely, it all looks the same. Have I already been here? Sometimes I don’t even know whether I’m looking up or down. I start feeling panic, it’s getting claustrophobic.

I have found an exit. I hope it’s not where I entered the tunnels. I’m in a room, still darkness everywhere, my eyes start hurting from following the small cone of light of the flash light. But I’m feeling free, I don’t have to crouch anymore. Again, no discernible exit, just a button for extending an emergency ladder. I press it. Suddenly the spiders are everywhere. I use my shotgun and try to move, killing as much as I can while avoiding their bites. It’s so dark I don’t see where I’m moving to, I hope I can’t fall down. My adrenalin level is at a high, I’m near death. The reloading of my gun takes much too long while I’m getting beat and hurled around by those damn spiders.

No spiders anymore. I’m alive.

I’m half-way through Doom 3, and so far this has been the most exciting scene. After that I gladly went for 90 minutes of cycling and walking in the sun to get down again from my adrenalin rush.

Doom 3 is abolutely no surprise. The graphics are stunning. The physics and gameplay are very realistic, sometimes too much (you lose orientation everytime you get hit by a monster). This is cutting edge, like it was when Doom, Doom 2, Quake etc. came out. As always, the story is like the one in a porn movie: It’s just there but you (and the author obviously) don’t really care. Having to listen to a whole audio log just to get the digits for opening a cabinet is boring. I switch to the PDA only in emergencies, like when I’m running out of ammo and a closed cabinet happens to be near.

The whole gameplay is very basic. The only variety comes from the different ways to kill baddies: Plasma gun? Simple pistol? Chain gun from a distance, or can I charge in and make a big blast with the shotgun? What happens if they accidentally shoot each other? Can I use some explosive barrels?

The enemy is as dumb as it can get, you never have to think about anything if you have enough ammo. They don’t dodge and don’t try to sneak up at you from behind (unless of course they get teleported in your back, but I don’t count that).

But I said it before: This is exactly the kind of game to expect. Quake was similar. Dull story, dull monsters. Awesome graphics. I played it through anyway.

That’s the way idsoftware makes games. Sophisticated graphics, no-frills gameplay. I keep on dreaming about the next System Shock with Doom 3’s graphics engine …

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