Hell on Mars
Your character is a low-ranking Marine on a routine rotation to the Mars Research Facility of the United Aerospace Corporation (UAC). That's pretty much all the backstory you need. Doom 3 is a bit skimpy in the storyline department, but rich plotting and character development have never been the focus of the Doom franchise. Action is the name of the game here, and we found plenty. After a few minutes of wandering through the facility, listening to rumors about impending catastrophe from the staff (remember Half-Life?), it was time to start shooting. We fought our way through dark, lavishly detailed environments until finally doing battle with pure evil in the depths of hell. Although the game offers no opportunities to explore the Martian setting apart from the linear corridors of the research facility, good level design and well-crafted sound effects succeeded at scaring the living heck out of us all the way through.
Groaning zombies and the sudden leaping attack of an eleven-eyed Imp are just the beginning of the horror and anxiety in Doom 3. Floating Cacodemons attack from above with a mouthful of teeth... ethereal Revenants fire flesh-seeking missiles with deadly accuracy... a swarm of spider-like Trites skitter down the corridor, hungry for blood. Although the enemy AI in Doom 3 is less crafty than we would have liked, the incredible variety of enemies--each with a unique style of attack--outweighs this shortcoming somewhat.
Guns, Guns, Guns
While there are many powerful weapons in the game, they are designed to force players to anticipate and plan for firefights. For instance, we liked wielding the chaingun to shred enemies at longer ranges, but the weapon devours ammo and using it on close-range targets was a waste of bullets. We quickly learned to switch to the shotgun or the chainsaw to dispatch foes at close range.
One piece of hardware, the flashlight, was a point of both salvation and frustration for us. Doom 3is a dark game and many enemies know how to take advantage of it. You'll often find yourself switching back and forth between your weapons and your flashlight just to see what's lurking ahead. This problem might easily be solved by duct-taping the flashlight to your equipped weapon, but, alas, we found no duct tape on Mars.Looking Good
Doom 3 looks incredible. Every room is exquisitely detailed, from the shimmer of the air near a heat source to the texture of a hamburger sitting on the counter of the company mess hall. Id obviously went all out designing every creature in the game and their realism makes them all the more horrifying. The eye candy does come at a price, though, and we were forced to play at fairly low resolution even on a Pentium IV 2.8 GHz and an ATI Radeon 9500. Even so, gameplay was smooth as silk. For higher resolutions (1024 x 768 and above) the latest generation of ATI or Nvidia cards is suggested.