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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.6    CPU: G4 @ 1500 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 2200 MB    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

March 28, 2005 | Jonathan Lowrie

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For any of you who have played the original Doom series, the "click-click" of the shotgun will bring a fond smile to your face. In DOOM 3, you begin on Mars in the year 2145. You are tasked with the mission of finding a missing coworker amidst a series of odd happenings at the Mars base. Staff members hear voices, workers go missing, and the scientists are pushing the bounds of ethics and nature by experimenting with dimensional portals and the like. Once you accept this task, you get a trusty PDA to keep you in touch with 'Sarge,' who directs your mission as you begin your search beneath the U.A.C. complex. That is when all hell breaks loose. Literally. The game is dark, in a scary kind of way. It was meant to make you sit at the edge of your seat and get truly wary about turning corners and opening doors.

Gameplay: the Beginning
In DOOM 3 you must traverse the U.A.C. complex and fight your way to freedom. Much like any FPS title, you see the game from the perspective of being right in the action. The character you play is an anonymous marine who just arrived at the U.A.C. base. You have a variety of weapons, tools, and armor to gather and use, ammo to find, and bad guys to kill. There is a nice assortment of undead-killing devices to play with. You begin with a modest handgun, but very early on you will want to pick up the classic shotgun. Up close, it deals out serious demon-smashing damage. You also may be lucky enough to pick up some grenades -- which will get you out of hot water more than once -- machine guns, a plasma gun, rocket launcher, chainsaw, and the classic BFG. Let's just say it's a big gun for big monsters; use your imagination. You also start off with your trusty flashlight, which will be required to find your way around.

The game starts you off with some back-story and gets you used to the movement around the facility. The environment operates with a minimal of button pushing, which allows for your fingers to rest on the trigger; a very good thing. Doors open automatically, and you can move your aiming reticle over video screens to interact with those that require it. This little calm before the storm is well put together. Listening to the automated announcements and company propaganda, watching the videos about the outpost, and observing the workers as they go about their business really draws you into the setting. Take the time now to familiarize yourself with your handy PDA, accessed via the TAB button. It is the key (literally) to many of the locked areas, as well as revealing other tidbits that are useful to the game. As you come across abandoned workstations or fallen comrades, you pick up their security tags and download the data into your PDA. In some cases, this allows you access to higher security areas. There are also some videos and email messages which hold valuable information to beat the game.

All Hell Breaks Loose
In Doom 3, things go to hell fast. The lights go out and all of the helpful people you met moments before are now undead zombies looking to snack on your brains. The encounters are often in the dark and in close quarters, which makes combat tough. The lights flicker and cast shadows, and the nasties like to hide amongst those shadows, so you will have to get real good at changing between flashlight and weapon. Some of the encounters are quite challenging, as sheer numbers can overpower you. In cases like that, you need to hang back, toss in a few grenades, and draw the undead out to pick them off one at a time. In many cases, you open a door and are attacked by leaping undead. You will rely on your armor and quick shooting to get you out of the jam. Fortunately, there are some med kits lying about, and in some of the labs are med stations that allow some self-administered first aid.

There is a nice variety of undead to smash through, each graphically rich and possessing its own terrifying look. Some attack in packs, while others are solitary. Either way, there are a lot of them to battle. The game itself is a continual path from point A to point B, C, D, E, and F. You pretty much know that you have to move from room to room, pick up ammo, and kill things. It's rather simplistic in a way.


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