Today, my copy of Doom3 arrived via Airborne
Express. With it came a press kit, Prima "Official Game
Guide", and the dream finally realized of playing around with the
third installment in the venerable Doom series, the game that for many
of us was the first glimpse into what gaming would one day become.
Looking back, it's hard to believe that Doom is
barely over a decade old, that it was in 1993 that I first got a taste
of something better than Wolfenstein 3D. Gone was the semi-coherent
turning radius (always aiming a bit left to assure a hit). Gone was the
16-color palette; instead, raw gradients of color were everywhere. Gone
was the "clean room" appearance of Wolfenstein, the walls with
everything set at right angles. Instead, Doom had given us a vibrant
world full of enemies, guns, blood and gore. Doom also had taken the
cold, silly sounds of the PC speaker and replaced it with a beautiful
soundtrack and amazing weapon and enemy noises. As the years went on of
course things got better - Doom is today a great contender for a prize
as the best aged game forever, comparing what
it's doing today to its humble
Of course, before I could actually play the
game, I had to run the installer and take care of chores - nothing like
a list of "things I have to do" to get in the way of gaming.
Laundry? Check. Cats fed and litterboxes cleaned? Check. Computer's
drivers all up to date? Triple-checked.
|Fuzzy bellies rubbed? Of course. Logan was
most upset when I stopped, too - "Psycho Hell Kitty"
stare courtesy of the camera's flash.
At last, I was ready - the game was
loaded, all three disks worth. I took a moment to reflect on the
included "recommendation" on the back of the keyboard
A Note of Caution:
Doom 3 is a terrifying sci-fi horror game experience.
It is not recommended for the cowardly or the faint of heart.
However, for those who dare to face Doom 3 as it was intended:
Lock your door. Turn off the lights.
And turn up your sound.
Enjoy Doom 3.
Almost poetic, isn't it? And so I did indeed
close my door, kill the lights, and load up the game.
||The first thing I noticed was the new
interactivity - something no id Software title has toyed around
with previously. Where Doom was 'run into something to activate
it' simple, the new setup lets players actually interact with the
environment. Walk up to someone and click "fire" and
they'll talk, if they have anything to say; pull up to a computer
console and select an entry, click interactive buttons, close
windows... here I am examining a ship's cargo manifest.
It's a bit much to take in at first
glance. Ultimately I get the feeling it's going to be a staple of
the gameplay - messing with these things has got to be a source of
necessary clues for completing objectives.
Next, I got my PDA. Not much so far, just
enjoying the scenery, the UAC "welcome new employee"
tape running in the background, and seeing the little camerabot
scuttle in front of me. For a second I thought the base was
already about to explode, and me with only my fists to fight
through the first wave of enemies; it would have been scary, but
alas, they apparently want to build up suspense a bit more before
setting events in motion.
|Wandering down the hallway a ways, I found
a cutscene, and spent a bit more time exploring what my PDA could
do. Then, I found more incontrovertible proof that the id
designers had approached the game with a good degree of humor.
Behold, Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3 - a
hybrid making fun of Street Fighter games, but with the added
bonus of incorporating classic Doom textures and icons. And of
course, beating the heck out of helpless turkeys until they
Meanwhile, the PDA is proving to be a
pretty nifty source of info all on its own - one can spend a good
deal of time just picking up random material and reading it. If
this holds true throughout the game, we're looking at enough
reading/viewing material to rival Betrayal at Krondor or Deus Ex.
||I wandered into the bathroom to check
things out - wondering mostly how much detail id Software had
bothered to program in to everyday objects. I was remembering
again the world of Deus Ex, where just about every faucet turned
on, every button made noises. Sadly, it wasn't to be - none of the
faucets work, none of the hand dryers either. No wonder all the
workers are trying to get the heck OFF of this base if they've had
to put up with that for months.
Then I went to Marine HQ, to finish my
first "objective." Not really an objective, but just to
show up in Marine HQ. Despite this, the Marine commander yelled at
me for being late, then assigned me a rescue mission. I'm supposed
to go find a scientist who is missing, the one mentioned in the
missing persons report I downloaded to my PDA earlier. He sets me
to follow a scuttling, vaguely arachnid robot called a sentry.
Boy, talk about FAST - I know I'm going to have to be shooting
these things later, I just know it, and it doesn't make me very
happy. Pinpoint shooting reflexes are going to be very necessary -
that and some distance!
If you're thinking the game is dark,
you're right, it is. Just about everything's dark, and playing
with the gamma settings doesn't do a lot for it - the game's
lighting system won't do a lot to reveal "dark" areas
even if you've got it turned way up.
Well here I go, off on my first
"mission" with nothing but my fists. Either I'll find a
gun, or I'm going to have to punch something for real.
As for the rest, well... that's something
for tomorrow's diary entry.
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