Ok this is an old game. I know that. This is not my first trip through Hell on Mars either, but Recently I've installed and Ran Doom 3 native on my Linux Installation and well, I feel that after so many years since I've played it it was about time for a re-review of the game.
Firstly Heres the Story. Well what little there is.
The UAC (Evil Space Corporation) Hell bent of being the top dog in the solar system Work outside the bound of legal and moral boundaries. They are the top military contractor for weapons and Biological Testing in existence in the years 2145. The Mars labs is the main testing site and recurse hub for this sort of Gray to black area testing and study.
A shuttle comes in with 3 passengers. Two Company men names Frost and Swan, and a new UAC Marine Security Grunt (Thats you BTW) to what is called mars city. After a bit of a checking in process and a few choice words, you the marine find out that you are the Ranking FNG (F---ing New Guy) in charge of finding out where a missing Scientist has gone and run off to.
Along the way you can immediately tell that something is not quire right with the Colony or it's head of operations Dr. Betruger.
But you are a marine after all and your jobs is a simple cake walk mission. After all he was last seen in the communications tower not long ago.
So you double time it to the last known location to find this guy. Sure enough there you find him, Freaked out and desperate to send a message out. But now it seems you are too late. All Hell is about to break loose and guess what, You going to have one hell of a first day on your new assignment.
Ok so the game is self has very little story other then the story you get from other sources and the few cut scenes you get every so often. But that not all this game has.
This game has a lot of cool features. that made it look really good at the time it was released and was very scary actually. Take away the blood and gore and it could still scare the willies out of you.
Doom 3 Used the latest engine id Software had at the time which was the same engine used for Quake4. However there where a few issues most players had with the game.
Lets talk about the good stuff first.
One thing your will notice from the Get go is that most of the in game viewing screens where fully animated and such. then you start to notice that you as the player can actually interact with the animations of these Screens. Push buttons on the screen and what not. this was something i never saw before up until Doom3 and it was a little unnerving that there wasn't the Standard USE KEY binding for interacting with stuff... If you where with in Game arms length of the screen and looking right at it. then your gun would drop out of view and a mouse courser popped up. allowing you to interact with the screens UI.
Next, while not the First to use Normal Maps, I found that they used Normal Maps very well on the walls. Along with that the Lighting System was almost fully dynamic.
Any game Modder from games like Half-Life 1-2 or the Unreal series before unreal 3 knows that dynamic lights if used excessively bogs down game play as it has to always be making calculations of what it is shining on. What worse is that creatures in these types of games tended not to be able to cast shadows of their own selves onto them selves. IE The shadow of a Demons arm is projected onto the Demons chest.
This was changed to be more streamlined, and while yes doom 3 is a very Dark game both in tone and in Lighting, or the lack there of. it wasn't the limits that made the game so dark.
However with this lighting a gimmick was born. Most First person Shooters feature a Flash light now a days. Doom 3 is no different. but instead of a flashlight off the screen, One of your weapons slots is a hand held flashlight. while holding a weapon the flashlight will not work, there is no 500 Mile Per hour (duct) tape any where on this based on mars, and most of the game takes place in pitch black hallways with no windows to the outside. Most of the game is spent vulnerable with you weapons put away and your flash light out searching the pitch black darkness for clues on how to progress or some needed items. or just a freaking path for that matter.
While this added to the fear it made you a sitting duck is something sneaked up behind you and then went "BOOGA-BOOGA-BOOGA!" Right behind you... Your likely to try and turn real fast forget to switch from your flashlight and try and just smack them around with the Hilt of the Light device rather then shut them with the shotgun.
Another Gimmick is the PDA collection. Most of the games inner story is delivered by collecting People PDA's to copy the data to your own Personal PDA. They two main areas. Emails, and Voice logs.
I don't know about any of my fellow PDA lovers out there. but I have got to have a few other things then that on my PDA... Like a couple of games for example.
The PDA Gimmick is so interwoven in the game itself. For instance, your PDA hold your Security clearance for areas on the Facility. IE you walk up to a door that is locks and activate the control panel, the panel or Door then scans your PDA and sees what clearance you have. If your cleared it will unlock and then open. Well Gee, How do you up date your clearance? You copy other peoples PDA onto your own and their clearance then becomes your own.
These is a serious flaw in security. At the beginning of the game you are issued a PDA, Ever one is issued a PDA. Lets assume all the PDA's are the same, and at the speed that the PDAs transfer their entire data, some one needs only to set it down and turn their back for a few seconds for, Lets say the space Plumber to grabs some high Security Level Medical Doctors PDA copy it and get his clearance.
Next thing you know, the Space Plumber has access to all the Drugs in the Pharmacy and is getting loaded on high Tech drugs. Or worse they are getting access to areas they have no place ever being at in the first place.
A spy could come in as the janitor and work his way around the base getting Security clearance to highly classified areas and steal all the data they want because it's so dang easy to copy this stuff.
If Mars City was ran on Linux servers or something like that, that security flaw would never be allowed to exist.
Still a lot of easter eggs and in game jokes are buried in the PDA hunting end of the game.
Next, I noticed on this play through that the game it self felt a lot like Half-Life 1 run and Jump environmental puzzled. I had heard this before and had ignored it when i first played this game, but after having played HL1 again recently. I was hit hard with a particular Levels environmental Navigation Puzzle. It was a chopped up, in reverse and slightly re ordered Puzzle directly out of HL1 and I was stunned how other then the Textures how much they ripped off.
This really set me off actually. Also I've seen where they re worked a few locations from other games as well enough to hid the fact that yes it's different but essentially it the same as some other games. Unreal, Return to Castle Wolfenstine, Half-Life 1, Dues Ex and a few others.
This was pretty jarring to see as I loved the Doom Series so much, for so long.
Still the Wat the Levels where put together and how they mixed it all together was very well done if you ask me.
Levels are Huge at times. and the layouts seem to be very well balanced if not always meant to make any sort of sense. after all this is an alien place far into the future.
The action was always well timed and timed well with some of the Mind F--- Physiological scares and creep outs the game dishes out at least in the first half of the game.
One suck Mind F--- Moment was early in the game. You walk into a bathroom after Hell is unleashed, the moment you look at the Mirror you get an awful vision of your self waisting away with fire behind you. you are then attacked by summoned Imps. The best part of this Mind F--- is not that it really all that scary. but what happen after you leave the bathroom.
The Automated pre-Recorded PA system is still active and the message it delivers is some along the lines of this:
"The UAC would like to remind all it's employees that the well being of our employees is impotent to us. Feel free to take advantage of our Mental Health if you feel your are seeing or hearing things that are not there."
According to the PDAs you collect, this apparently happed a lot before you ever came on the scene but the timing of the announce (It is just a triggered event however) is too perfect.
On my machine, being as supped up as it is I had little doubt that the game would run smoothly if cranked up to it highest setting. I just wanted to play a commercial game on an Open Source Rig is all, and to see if it did indeed work well.
My first run didn't have this amount of cool eye candy effects. But I guess that while yest it looks great still, I wasn't really missing much after all when I first got this game and played it.
With all my bitching about Doom 3, I still think it's a fun game even with all my recent discoveries.
id software is not really known for making great stand alone games with their brand new engines. These first games with their new engines are more of a tech Demo then anything. after this they get serious and put in some more effort using that same engine until the day come they are one the cusp of the next new engine. and release the source Code of their older engines. It happened with Doom 1-2, It happened With Quake 1, Quake 2, and then with Quake 3, if not already it will happen to the Doom3 engine. and then We Linux and/or Open Source Guys will take that code, re work it a little and make our own Games out of it or something entirely new.
Heck, Half-Life was made from a reworked version for the Quake 2 Engine after the source code was made public and free to use.
I wounder what a little Developer Group like VALVe was would do with the doom 3 engine if give half a chance with it?
All and all still fun for me to grit my teeth through and take it like a scared Little Girly boy...
I'm going to have to give this game a 7 out of 10 this time around which is a 2 point drop from that last time i reviewed this game on the all things zombie dot com Forums the end of the games first post release week.
When all else fails... Keep shooting at it!...