Satan knows what possessed the mercurial John Carmack and his diligent little Stormtroopers at Id Software to rerelease an upgraded, expanded edition of Doom 3. Maybe they’re gauging interest for the hopefully forthcoming Doom 4. Heck, maybe John just needs a quick cash injection so he can piddle about with his beloved space rockets.
Whatever it is, it’s nice to see Doom 3 again. Obviously it can’t even begin to compare with the primitive, balletic violence of the first 2 games, but taken on its own merits Doom 3 is an effective, if rather obvious, little bit of interstellar/dimensional haunted house trash.
Doom 3 takes some pretty hefty cues from the likes of System Shock 2 and Half Life to try and modernise its appeal. For the most part it’s effective, and finding audio files from people saying things like ‘people are going mad something’s going wrong hereaaaaargh’ pretty effectively sets the apocalyptic, hellish scene. Some of the scares can be seen coming a mile away, though. Compared to say, Condemned or F.E.A.R, it’s about as frightening as an episode of Buffy. The fighting is oddly unsatisfying sometimes, too. They’ve beefed up the shotgun a bit, but all the other weapons feel disappointingly weedy, and there’s nothing satisfying about enemies that instantly disintegrate. Where are the gibs? These things are important to some, you know.
Oh well. The BFG edition at least fixes certain issues people had with the original release. There’s a shoulder-mounted torch now, so there’s no flipping between flashlight and weapon in this one. It also runs at a pretty solid 60 frames per second, so everything’s wonderfully smooth and playable. The expansion pack, Resurrection of Evil, is present, too, as well as some new missions (which feature bits of the main campaign flipped around, so nothing amazing). Doom and Doom 2: Hell On Earth are here, too, if you’re one of the many that never played them. There’s god-knows-how-many hours of gameplay here, and it’s all still better, more varied and enjoyable than the grossly offensive, jingoistic military shooter you’re currently skulking through.