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More like gloom...

max shout
Eight years ago, there I was - drooling over Doom 3. Supposedly a reboot of the franchise, and with the patron saint of FPS himself at the helm it was gonna be perfect, right? Back then, as I noted, playing the game was impossible, since Id in their typical fashion gave it the most insane graphics requirements of the time. The new innovation back then was pixel shaders. Basically, dynamic lighting that could reflect off anything in the game, allowing for rotating lights and interesting shadows. Take a look(and yeah, that's Steve Jobs introducing Carmack in the beginning:

Lighting effects of the type shown are far more common now, a decade later, but it was mind blowing back then. And lack of a graphics card with pixel shaders meant that I couldn't play this game back then. Cut to now, when I've got the latest greatest setup for gaming circa 2012. I've always had a soft corner for Doom, the first FPS I ever saw when back in school, and the only one until now to give me a nightmare. Since then, I've played a plethora of others, and grumbled about lack of storyline (which has also happily been addressed with the ones I been playing recently). Doom 3 is 8 years old now, but its playing style is unabashedly OLD old school - a throwback to the original Doom that predated it by a decade. Shoot anything that moves, get the key, unlock the door, clear the area. Except that this time, they've thrown in usable computers, and audio logs (hello System Shock series), huge laboratories bustling with scientists and a monorail ride (Hello Half Life) and apparently even in the year 2145 computers will have junk mail.
Recently, the game was re-released as a special edition with all the extra levels that originally came out later, and even copies of the classic Doom included. So I got it. First impression - you move through an impressive lab on Mars and talk to scientists and other soldiers, before being sent to fetch a runaway scientist from an abandoned facility. On reaching him, hell literally breaks loose, the facility is overrun with randomly teleporting demons, and humans turn into zombies. Oh, and everything is dark. And it stays that way for most of the game. Sure, it was scary at first, but soon you find this tactic the equivalent of someone standing with a bedsheet over his head shouting 'Boo!' when you step into a dark room. It just gets irritating. So you find a crate of ammo, and just as you pick it up, a fireball tossing demon spawns nearby. Another one spawns directly behind you. After the first few times of this Abbott & Costello routine, I learned to turn around and blast the sneaky jackass behind me first. And the zombies. Every dark doorway you enter just has to have one of these fellows behind it, to swipe at you. Every computer room will have them lurking behind the mainframes or in corners. And don't get me started on demons hidden in secret chambers behind the wall that jump out at you when you pass by.
And the weapons, oh god, the weapons! You start off with the time honored pissy little pistol. Fine,not like I'm gonna use it for long anyway. Ah, here's a shotgun! Why hello mister demon! Turns out it takes nearly 6 shots to take the bastard down, the shotgun holds 8 rounds, and reloading is so slow, it looks like your player character is on pot. Fine, I'll just down a zombie soldier and grab his machine gun. 60 shot magazine, 500 shot capacity should be good right? Nope. Again you end up almost draining the magazine for each demon that spawns. When several of em start spawning to start a gangbang with you while you're stuck reloading either of these, you're totally fucked. Must..not..use cheat code. Must..not..use cheat code.
Next, I find..a chaingun. This one packs a heftier punch, but the uglies I'm seeing just got meaner. And it takes a couple of seconds to spin up and spin down so forget about firing in short bursts. Oh, and it has a freaking 60 shot magazine that empties out like a girl's bathroom after spotting a cockroach in the washbasin. Ok, I've had enough now.

>give ammo

That should do it. Now I have a chain-saw, a plasma gun, a rocket launcher and..the BFG9000. The last, the Big er..Freaking Gun, was the most powerful weapon in the original Doom - firing a huge plasma ball that could clean out a roomful of enemies. The one here..not so much. There are bigger fellows who take THREE shots to go down. I could tickle them to death with the chaingun if I wanted to. The plasma gun, while fun to fire, takes ages to reload (a common curse with Doom 3). Which leaves the rocket launcher as the only satisfying weapon of the whole bunch..with a 5 shot magazine. There's nothing so satisfying as sending a rocket up the ass of a demon before it can fully spawn.

Oh, and I forgot to add - the game is mostly pitch dark. Half the time you have to go through dark corridors with emergency lights casting moving shadows..wait, what was that? And in the original Doom 3, you could either carry a torch or a weapon. So you either see what's coming to eat you, or spray bullets and pray. Fortunately, the re-released BFG edition that I'm playing doesn't have this limitation.

However, I still haven't come to the worst flaw in what could've been a far more interesting game. And that's the utter lack of subtitles. Look, one can't always play a game with the volume turned up, and sometimes it's plain hard to make out what a character is saying against the ambient noise. But no, you strain to hear the dialogue, or forget about it and just move on and keep shooting. Even worse are the audio logs. The game has storage lockers scattered everywhere, secured by a 3 digit code. Usually you can find the code in an email on the PDA of a dead scientist nearby. But in several cases, you have to listen to them drawl through a freaking audio log with no subtitles alongside! This decision alone is the stupidest of all for anyone who wants to follow the backstory.

So I slogged through the 3 episodes I had entirely on God mode - and it felt more like a necessary chore to complete than anything else. Oh well. Apparently there's a sequel in the works. While I've no doubt it will raise the bar for graphics once again, I'm not holding my breath for gameplay or story.


( 2 comments ^_____^ — I can has comment? )
Nov. 20th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
well ive never really been a fan of QUake, but I did play it a few times in IMI.
Dont be too disappointed :)
Nov. 20th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
This was Doom :)
Just that it was the first one I played so was hoping the remake would be good.
( 2 comments ^_____^ — I can has comment? )