by Mike Shea on 10 August 2004
Last night I finished . This game is well worth the $50 and has some of the best graphics and shock moments I've seen in any game. It isn't without flaws, but there is no doubt that it is one of the best single-player first person shooters ever made.
Everyone pays the most attention to 's graphics. While it takes a powerhouse machine to play at 1600x1200 with ultra quality graphics, many normal machines are able to play at 800 x 600 with low or normal quality graphics. The lighting, the shiny texture, the walls of moving slime or dripping blood, all of it looks solid and top notch. The boards are very creative and very well done when they manage to break away from the standard steel-walled space habitat. The weapons are good but somewhat generic. All of the basics are there and there's nothing really weird and stupid except for perhaps the soul cube. It's a fun weapon and seems pretty important in the later levels.
The real draw of are the beast models. They're horrifying and beautiful. They're fast and furious. I never got so scared from the beasts in Doom 1 or 2 except for the clump clump of the cyberdemon. Each of the old mobs has a new version. All of them are done really well. The basic imp manages to terrify you up to the very end of the game. The chaingun charlie fellows roar down the halls with their huge guns tearing apart everything around you. The bosses are huge and dangerous. The whole game just ties together this hell-on-mars so well that you're scared enough to avoid playing just from freight. I jumped out of my seat a hundred times and felt that childhood fear of being chased by an unseen foe.
Doom pulls no punches. It grabs onto the idea of hell on Mars and never lets go. It doesn't shy away from blood or satanism. showed me the most truly disturbing imagery I've ever seen in a game. In our new politically correct Christian right moral majority country, its nice to see a game company make millions on a game this gruesome, violent, and disturbing. Expect it to be the new burning witch of the PTA.
Id created the best hell level I've seen in any game. It is somewhat short but packed with horrifying imagery and powerful beasts. The later levels in the Mars burial site are a lot of fun but most of the game takes place in the same metal corridors as the first level in the game. While the beasts are wide in variety, the levels are all basically the same except for hell and the burial site.
Like Old Man Murray's rule on "Time to Crate", I have a new game rule. The minute a game forces me to crawl through a duct, the developers ran out of ideas. If I ever crawl through another cramped duct again it will be too soon. Its cliche, its boring, and it needs to stop. No more ducts!
Game Girl Advance had a good review of that talked about the dangers of too much scripting. While scripting can add some interesting flavor to a game like Half Life where you walk into a room and watch a battle between military guys and alien bastards, too much leads to a feeling like you're watching a movie instead of playing a game. Comparisons to Night Shift and Sewer Shark come to people's minds, but I think its an unfair comparison. When I look at games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X, I see games that spend more time on full motion movies than on actual game play. Comparing to those is not accurate. Games like Everquest and Grand Theft Auto give us worlds where all sorts of things can happen all on their own. I remember seeing a gang war spontaneously start up as two rival gangs just happened to randomly run into each other. A cop wanders by and gets into the shoot out, civilians are killed. All of it was just random chance.
Games like that spoil us for interactive worlds where life goes on with or without your influence. , however, gives you a progressive first person shooter with a beginning and an end and thats exactly what I expected.
For the tech heads out there, I played on my new system I named either "Black 13" or "the Soul Cube" (I haven't decided which pompous name to use yet). It is a P4 3.6ghz on a 875 chipset Shuttle motherboard and case. It has 1 GB of PC 3200 400mhz ram and a Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM 74GB hard drive. The video card is a XFX Geforce 6800 GT video card, a card I am extremely happy with. I benchmarked it at 1600 x 1200 with ultra video quality at 53 frames per second average. On these top settings it was very playable. This was a great game to test out my new system and I am very pleased with both.
isn't the greatest game ever made. Its not likely to make a splash against larger and more detailed game worlds. It is a great game, however and it filled my weekend with hellish horror and I cherish the memories.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @mshea on Twitter. If you enjoyed this article, please bookmark and use this link to Amazon.com for your next online purchase.