Latest edition doomed to succeed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 12:00am

It is 4am and all is not well. There is work in the morning but it is like I am stuck in a familiar nightmare. It may have made sense initially, may have followed some story line but now that is not an issue. It is raw, random violence and I'm trapped. Trying to escape, I grab my chainsaw and get back to the carnage.

Welcome to Doom 3, Activision's latest title in the famous series of first-person shooters, custom built for the Xbox. There is not much new here. If you have ever played games on a PC or a Mac the chances are you have played at least one of the Doom series.

The storyline is familiar, more like a new chapter than a new game. As a marine assigned to a base on Mars, you quickly find out that a demonic invasion has occurred and that it is up to you to get word to Earth. You will need to overcome the demons and their zombie foot soldiers to get the job done.

While it is not a new experience, it is still an excellent game and has much to recommend it. The graphics really show the potential of the Xbox as a serious gaming platform.

Doom 3 is a dark game in both senses of the word. In the first sense your flashlight becomes your most treasured item - you will need it to search for objects in dark corners and to negotiate the tunnels and hallways leading you through your campaign.

In the second sense, Doom 3 is downright frightening - I actually screamed out loud after one surprise encounter and the constant tension keeps the adrenaline levels high.

Most games do not need a rating system but this one does and probably should not be played by anybody under 18 and certainly not by anyone over 60.

The game is linear - one event leads to the next. Staying alive by saving often is key. Pickups are plentiful: extra ammunition, medical kits, and weapons are easy to acquire, but the best of them are usually locked in coded vaults or rooms.

The weaponry is superb. While you start out with a standard issue pistol you will quickly consign that to your holster as shotguns, sub-machine guns and plasma rifles fill up your arsenal. And, in the Doom tradition, it will not take many hours of play before you can pick up that king of close combat weapons - the chainsaw. That is what will keep you playing long after four in the morning.

Doom 3


Price: $299

Pros: Dark, frightening scenarios will have you screaming out loud

Cons: Probably not suitable for audiences under 18 or over 60