`Doom 3' offers gamers frightfully good - if not innovative - fun

Game Room

September 02, 2004|By Victor Godinez | Victor Godinez,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

How good is Doom 3?

After an intense, if not quite comprehensive, shootout on my PC, I must say that id Software has made the scariest game ever - but it's not a revolution in game play.

The game starts off much like Half-Life as you arrive at a Mars research lab and make your way to a command post to get an assignment.

At this point, there's a clear sense of, well, impending doom.

You soon receive your first mission: Retrieve a scientist who has wandered off. Armed at first with nothing but your fists, and later a flashlight and pistol, you make your way into the shadowy depths of the base.

Eventually you discover the wandering scientist, who tries to warn you about an experiment on the verge of disaster. Then you watch on the monitors as soldiers mutate into zombies. The worst part is when the monitors go blank and all you can hear is distant screams and gunshots.

But a few fellow Marines and the occasional worker have survived the invasion, and you have to make your way back to the surface to hook up with the survivors and warn Earth about the unfolding apocalypse on Mars.

Although you'll acquire more powerful weapons along the way, you'll feel outgunned, especially as you move up the zombie chain of command.

You run across the occasional ally, and the little four-wheeled escort robots with built-in machine guns will clear the way for you in certain areas. Mostly, though, this is a solo gig.

The graphics are stupendous, but this game is so dark that some of the great graphical flourishes are barely visible.

The game play is solid but standard issue: Find the key card, open the door, shoot monsters and advance.

There's also an online multiplayer component to Doom 3; each game can have up to four players, and there are four modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing and Tournament.

The minimum required PC specs are an Intel Pentium 4 1.5 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1500+ processor, at least 384 megabytes of RAM and a video card with no less than 64MB of on-board memory; id Software says the Ultra setting is designed for a video card with 512MB of memory, and such a card isn't on store shelves yet.

Doom 3

Price: $54

Rating: M for mature audiences, 17 or older

Platform: Windows 2000/XP

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