Doom and Doom 2 were amazing. How does the follow up a decade later compare?
The Doom series is legendary across nearly all platforms. The original Doom released 1993 immortalised the first-player shooter genre, and while not the first, it is instantly recognisable and a classic amongst gamers. Its sequel in 1994 and various mission packs added to the popularity, cementing it in gaming history. It also spawned the Quake series as well as many other first-person shooters that followed.
Then in 2004, id Software released Doom 3. A lot can happen in over ten years of technology. The days of 2D sprites and a MIDI soundtrack were gone, and Doom 3 unleashed a whole new look. It was jaw dropping.
Level design and our beloved enemies had a major revamp, some beyond recognition.
Initially released for Windows, it was also made available for Linux, Mac OS X, XBox, and a revamped version called BFG Edition was released in 2012 for Windows, Linux, XBox 360, and Playstation 3 with higher resolutions, tweaked sounds, and expansion packs.
A few years back, I played Doom 3 on the original XBox, but I just couldn’t get into it. However, after revisiting some classic first-person shooters again recently, I have been blasting my way through game after game and felt it was time to return to Doom 3 – something new to get my teeth into.
This time I bought it for my Mac. I currently own a 2012 i5 MacBook Air running OS X 10.11 El Capitan. At first it was looking like this PowerPC game wouldn’t run on a modern Mac, but an update patch – 1.3.1 rev a – took care of the that.
Running at 1024 x 768 (as I couldn’t get it stretch to the widescreen of my MacBook Air), it loaded very quickly and played like a dream with zero lag or slowdown – however, it requires the DVD in when playing. My Air doesn’t have a DVD drive, so I have to attach my external drive each time I want to play it.
The moment you start playing, you realise it is very dark – at times too dark. You do have a flashlight, but you can’t use it alongside a weapon (not without a mod). Gameplay is similar to the original, but it also puts a new spin on it too.
Door keys are now handled by PDA profiles and access codes, weapons can now be collected from dead enemies, and weapons now require reloading.
The eerie feeling has been ramped up to the maximum – we have more than just enemy noises coming from around the corner – we now have that in pitch black and in high quality. Monsters jump out from darkened corners, burst through walls, and jump down from above.
All your favourite enemies have been reimagined into much scarier versions. Imps now looks hideous rather than slightly camp, and Pinkies now are utterly terrifying amplified by the intro cut scene to them. We also see some new enemies.
Level design has seriously improved. Doom and Doom 2 were fantastically created for their time, but their blocky feel shows their age. Doom 3 levels are amazing looking – so crisp, so detailed, so realistic, so scary, so dark.
Doom used to send chills up my spine. Doom 3 had me on the edge of my seat. If I wasn’t worrying about the noises I could hear in the distance, I was sweating from the sudden appearance of an enemy. After playing for a few hours, I had to stop as I was getting more and more agitated.
All these put together create a superb and terrifying game that builds on the premise of the original and brings it forward for modern systems.
It is one of the hardest games I have played in a long time. The darkness and the intensity make it great fun, but enemies and levels are certainly harder than ever.
One thing I don’t like about Doom 3 is the weapon drawing and reloading. Changing weapons can take just a bit too long, and when you run out of ammo for one gun, it doesn’t automatically change to another. There is also a need to reload weapons at times, and this takes far too long and usually happens mid-fight with an enemy. It’s really not helpful.
The next instalment called just Doom has recently been released, and it will be interesting to see how this stands up against Doom 3 and previous releases.
Doom 3 is a superb game that can be bought either on the Mac App Store or used on DVD for under £10. It runs on low-end Macs (1.5 GHz G4 or better) to modern Macs – and other systems too. It is worthy of the Doom name, and it just brings it to a more modern feel. I’m off to be scared some more.
Doom 3 is rated 18+ and suitable for adult audiences only.
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