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DOOM 3: A Guide For Beginners
March 29, 2005 | Ted Bade

So you have a hot new PowerMac G5 and are considering trying your hand at Doom 3? While your machine might meet the minimum requirements, perhaps you need a few hints, techniques, and even cheats to help you along. As an older guy with a job, a family, and several time consuming hobbies, the amount of time I have to dedicate to game playing is limited. Let me share with you some techniques I use to keep the game fun.

In my opinion, if you can't enjoy a game because it is too hard (or too easy), you wasted your money. So a little help here or there isn't a bad thing. There are all types of resources on the Internet that offer suggestions, walkthroughs, and cheats. Don't be afraid to use them. One big advantage of playing games on the Macintosh is that games often come out on Windows based machines first. By the time the games is released for the Mac, there is a plethora of help resources available!

Doom 3 takes place on a Mars colony. Since Mars doesn't have a breathable atmosphere, most of the game takes place inside a complex filled with machinery, tight corridors, and artificial light sources. (most of which don't work properly).

Doom 3 is a dark game, both in the sense of having a dark theme loaded with undead, splatterings of blood, and disfigured bodies, but also in a visual sense (the lights are dim or out). Because of this, the game has a somewhat scary aspect. Lights that need repair flicker, machinery malfunctions, causing odd noises and movements. To make things worse, the forces you are fighting have the ability to darken an area, or turn off the lights completely; if you aren't careful you'll only discover a nearby creature when it starts hammering on you!

This dark environment creates the mystique of Doom 3. If you don't feel the hairs on the back of your neck tingling, you've missed out on a big part of the game. But Doom 3 isn't a very difficult game. The items you need to survive and to accomplish tasks are readily available, just keep your eyes open.

There are several techniques that help when playing any game. The two biggest ones are knowing the keyboard controls and saving often (and in the right place). Everyone who makes games has what they believe to be the best interface for the player. It is important for a new player to become familiar with the controls. Luckily, most of them let you redefine what each key controls. Use this feature to create a standardized control set. It is no fun to be in the middle of a battle wondering how to change from the flashlight to a more suitable weapon!

Doom 3 allows you to save at any point. Make use of this. I like to save after I have cleared an area of bad guys, have found all the health, weapons, ammo, and armor available, and are ready to move on. Generally after any major interaction of after finding an important key or object. If health is low, I usually opt not to save and move on hoping to find some health or at least to learn what is ahead. Then go back to the last save, using the experience I gained to do a better job the second time (if only life were this easy!)

Games like Doom 3 offer terrific graphics. I am one to wander about looking at all the pretty scenery, but if your Mac is nearer to the low end of the requirements, it might be a good idea to tone the imagery down. While your Mac might let you wander down the corridors with no problem, its when you are surrounded by a group of uglies all intent upon bashing your head in that it will bog down.

When you first run Doom 3 it inspects your machine and chooses what it thinks will work best. It did well with my set up. You might try upping some aspect of the graphics, but don't expect the best results if you do.

Since Doom 3 is visually dark, playing it with a good sound system or a set of headphones is a must. The game offers many audible clues. Creatures moan, growl, or make some other sound as they arrive on the scene. Learn what each monster sounds like and you'll be able to identify which one is on its way. You can use the time from the sound bite until the monster actually gets close enough to attack to select the best weapon and vantage point for the battle. Expect to be fooled by machinery sounds on occasion.


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