Doom 3 (Xbox)Matthew D. Sarrel
You're on routine assignment to Union Aerospace Corp.'s base on Mars. At least that's what you're told. But when you arrive, you hear chatter about people disappearing and machines malfunctioning. Then the deadly mayhem begins. It seems that you're now stuck on a planet that's doubling as a portal to hell. The demonic spawn of hell and their zombie grunts are your enemies. Get ready to kick the crap out of evil.
Once all hell breaks loose (literally) the best thing to do is simply kill anything that moves. Take cover during gunfights and use your flashlight in dark corners. This is a dark game both in content and in lighting, and a zombie attack from the dark can be devastating. Put simply, Doom 3 is a very scary game. The creepy noises monsters make over Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound help build a frightening environment that is topped off by the gruesome combat. You liquefy enemies with point-blank shotgun blasts. Doom 3 is an exciting, visceral experience; fear and the desire to kill make it very hard to put down the controller.
Graphics and audio quality are exceptionally good. Sounds are accurately reproduced or created. Lighting is very important in Doom 3, and lurking in the shadows are enemies that are so beautifully rendered that it is almost a shame to have to blast them to pieces. There are a ton of pick-ups (armor, med kit, bullets); most of the time there is some puzzle solving required to get to the good stuff. You might need to walk around and collect dead employees' PDAs, to get security codes that will open storage lockers full of much-needed weapons. Game play is paced by in-game dialogue with NPCs (nonplayer characters) and short cutscenes.
There is a two-player cooperative campaign mode. Multiplayer mode is insane and brings back memories of DOOM II fragfests. Unfortunately there is no split-screen mode, so multiplayer has to involve multiple Xboxes, either networked or on Xbox Live.
A Limited Collector's Edition includes full versions of the original Ultimate DOOM and DOOM II—playable in single-player or 2-to-4 player split-screen—as well as a special concept art gallery and a "Behind the Scenes" feature on the making of Doom 3, containing interviews with the team at id Software.
Overall, Doom 3 is a fantastic and horrifying first-person shooter. The simple game play and story are more than made up for by first-class graphics, audio, and production values.
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in PC Magazine.