told you I'd be back."
ten years too long to wait for a game? Not when it's the highly
anticipated follow-up to the Doom series, Doom 3. This is not a
sequel to Doom II but a re-telling of the original marine-left-to-survive-on-Mars
scenario. Most of the monsters and weapons are back from previous
The Random Access Dream System (built throughout the last 10 issues
of Random Access) is equipped with a 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor,
1 GB RAM and a Radeon 9600 Series 128MB AGP video card. The first
time I ran Doom 3, it analyzed my system and defaulted to Medium
Quality, but that wasn't good enough. After selecting High Quality
video and restarting Doom 3, the graphics looked much better. The
frames-per-second (FPS) topped out at about 40 when in motion or
when under fire.
tempted fate by installing Doom on a Toshiba Satellite with a 2GHz
Pentium 4-M processor, 384MB RAM and an nVidia GeForce4 460 Go 32MB
AGP video card. Doom 3 requires 384MB and 64MB video card at the
minimum. The FPS on this system got up to 20, but sometimes, it
was in the single digits. The game ran good enough to kill bad guys,
but I wouldn't use it in any deathmatches.
"Hello" to your friendly neighborhood Guardian.
As a new arrival on Mars, there's no time to get acclimated
to your surroundings. Once you achieve one of your first objectives,
Hell literally breaks loose, and you go from trying to find a scientist
to fighting for your life. What they've done with lighting and sound
really sets the mood. Good thing I was playing this in the well-lit
environs of the Random Access Lab, or I might have soiled my pants.
the most intense game I've ever played. Once the action starts,
the undead creatures don't even give you time to breathe. Creatures
are sometimes waiting on the other side of unopened doors, but they
also pop out of vents or underneath stairs... or corpses become
re-animated. When you finally get a moment to pause, you need to
listen to audio records and watch video clips that load into your
PDA. They contain helpful clues to access extra health and ammo.
When you die, and you will, your blood fills your field of vision,
and everything goes dark, and the last thing you hear is your final
breath. In some places, if you listen carefully, you can hear the
sounds of other still-human marines making their undead counterparts
eat hot death. As you go deeper into the military complex, it gets
creepier, and just when you get used to one type of monster, a newer,
nastier version comes jumping out at you.
him about his bad complexion will only make him angrier.
course, other denizens of the lab love to come up behind me to spook
me while I'm playing. Or, maybe they just stand behind me to watch,
and when I hear something sneaking up behind me in the game I turn
around in my seat... and a hideous creature is standing there.
of the weapons from the previous version of Doom make up your arsenal.
The pistol, shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma gun, chainsaw,
and the trusty BFG 9000 are back but very much improved. One new
weapon is the Soulcube that you get near the end of the game. Its
claim to fame is that once energized, by killing five monsters the
old fashioned way (bullets, plasma, rockets, etc.), you use it against
an enemy, and it will slice them up and give you their health. Quite
of your "cuddly" friends are back from previous versions
of Doom with upgrades. There are various types of zombies that get
corrupted by the evil that is unleashed at the beginning - and they're
not too happy about it. They shamble menacingly at you, equipped
with their hands, or a gun — if they happened to be carrying
a weapon when they went all evil and undead. When you kill zombies
with the shotgun or other powerful weapon, they explode into various
messy pieces. Sometimes, you'll even see their once-useful brain
pop up out of their head. My favorite way to kill the lethargic
zombies is to pull out my trusty chainsaw and let them walk into
it. I've been told I chuckle evilly when I see one coming.
Imp, Cacodemon, Mancubus, Revenant, Lost Soul, Hell Knight, Arch
Vile, and Cyber Demon all make appearances once you've put down
most of the zombies. These upgraded versions are more deadly, and
they don't just wait for you to come to them, they'll track you
down. I even saw one run away to get into a better position after
I first shot him.
with a capital "C"
creepiest creatures in the game are called Cherubs. First, you hear
something that sounds like children giggling from around the corner
or from the next room. When you get your first glimpse, you'll think
someone left their rugrat in a research facility... then they fly
at you with their insect wings and try to slice you up with their
claws. The only thing to do is put them down with whatever weapon
you have on hand. Putting a shotgun blast into a baby-headed-evil-insect-thing
is just wrong.
this game dark is an understatement. You need to constantly use
your flashlight just to get an idea of how big a room is and where
zombies might be hiding. Once you start playing, even before the
action starts, you'll be walking through the UAC complex, and the
lights will go out. That's the creepy way to introduce you to your
flashlight. From then on, you have to make sure you have your flashlight
handy. (One aggravation: when you have your flashlight out, you
can't use another weapon and you'll have to use the flashlight to
bash zombie heads in.) I wonder why they don't have duct tape somewhere
around this high-tech facility so you can tape your flashlight to
your pistol. What you are able see is gorgeously rendered with an
amazing attention to detail.
must go to the sound engineers for making this game the extraordinary
creep-out experience that it is. When thing start going crazy, you'll
hear the panicked voices of other Marines over your communications
link, and you must navigate corridors and open doors with battles
raging in your ears. After that calms down, you start hearing the
creeks and rattles of the facility... or maybe that's a bad guy
sneaking up behind you. Then, there's the whispering coming from
nowhere saying, "Help me." Late at night in a dark room,
that's the last thing you need to hear... trust me.
heard that the multiplayer functionality is just an afterthought,
and id software left it up to modders to create better multiplayer
game types. With only 4 players to a game and only Deathmatch style
competitions, that seems to be the truth. Everyone I've talked to
around here expected a cooperative game play opportunity, so you
and a friend can team up and destroy Hell's minions. Alas, that
was not to be.
Chris and I set up a wireless 802.11b network to play on. We did
experience lag, but only with the computer that wasn't hosting the
game. Then, we used a crossover Ethernet cable to go head-to-head
which turned out much smoother. I don't know what it is about competing
in a Deathmatch with someone you know, especially when you're in
the same room, but it's just better. Maybe it's because you can
talk trash in person. I even got on the Internet and played a little.
I expected to get smoked left and right like I do when I play Unreal
Tournament online, but I pretty much held my own.
bottom line is that you must get this game. Everyone loves to kill
zombies - and what better way than in the dark, creepy world of