Saturday, August 28, 2004

"Get your ass to Mars."

I'm gonna write a game review. 'Cause I flippin' feel like it.

I just finished DOOM 3. Not an awesome game by any means, but it is good enough to tide me over 'til HALF-LIFE 2 is finally released. (Whenever the hell that is.) Best graphics ever by far. The story was a little too similar to the first HALF-LIFE. Instead of making a portal to some unknown planet and causing aliens to invade Earth, the scientists in DOOM make a portal to hell and cause demons to invade Mars. Which is also very similar to the movie EVENT HORIZON. Are there any original ideas left in this world?

Gameplay was standard first-person shooter stuff. Shoot monsters, find keys (except this time they're "PDA's"), open doors, find better weapons, shoot bigger monsters with said weapons, rinse, lather, and repeat. There is no strategy involved in this type of game, especially because the AI in this one is too simple. All the monsters run straight at you at first sight. They don't work in groups. They don't hide behind covers. Just. Run. At. Me. All I had to do was aim at their face (if they had one) and shoot. Okay, I know they're supposed to be demons. Maybe I was expecting too much. This may make the game sound easy, but it's not. See, the demons have the ability to teleport and spawn out of nowhere. So you might think you're safe as you walk down a dark, yet seemingly-empty corridor, then BAM, a mutated baby with claws spawns right behind you and lunges at your vulnerable space marine ass and chews on it while you, the player, jump five feet off your chair. Cheap? Yes. Scary? Hell yes. Fun? Sorta. It's cool the first four times it happens, but you gradually start learning and anticipating when the next "ass-spawning" would occur. By the 59th time it's just annoying.

Another gameplay element that annoyed me was the flashlight. This game is dark. Too dark. So you gotta use a flashlight. The thing is, you can't use a weapon while you have your flashlight out. Okay it's realistic, I'll give them that. You can't expect someone (even a space marine) to wield a shotgun with one hand and hold a flashlight with the other. But couldn't the game designers find another way to implement it? Hmm, I got an idea. How about a flashlight mounted on a helmet? What a brilliant concept. Miners have been using those since what, 1936? And the game is supposed to be set in 2145? So this little annoyance caused a lot of funny frustrating moments. Remember that part when my space marine got his ass chewed by a mutated baby with claws? Yeah well now imagine the guy turning around and trying to hit the crazy demon kid with a freakin' flashlight because he was going down a dark, yet seemingly-empty corridor and couldn't see without it. After losing half of the health (because it took awhile to get back on my chair), I switched to a machine gun and shot that little bugger up. Funny to watch, not as funny to play.

Okay this review is getting too big so I'll cut through the crap. Sound - decent. Could've used a little more OOMPH to the guns. No music except for the opening heavy metal track, which is pretty decent. The game is pretty long for a first-person shooter, about 20-25 hours. There is multiplayer but it's just standard deathmatch, which was invented with the first DOOM over 10 years ago.

To wrap it up:
Graphics - Best. For now.
Sound - Okay.
Gameplay - Been there, done that. But still fun and scary.
Story - Unoriginal, but who cares it's a shooting game.

Grade: B


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