When Doom 3 released on PC last year there were mixed emotions about how it was received. With a certain other FPS not that far off, many people had labelled id as engine makers and not game makers, and with Doom 3 they didn't do that much to quell it. When it was announced that an Xbox version was also on the way, people scoffed at this because many felt the power of the Xbox just wasn't enough. Well Vicarious Visions has managed to almost pull it off. Doom 3 Xbox is an impressive first person shooter but is a bit lacking compared to the PC version.
Doom 3 is a recreation of the original game's storyline. Set on Mars in the Year 2145, you play as a marine, employed to keep security around the place and generally keep the scientists safe. After being sent to investigate a missing scientist, the marine (as id calls him) discovers the scientist carrying out an experiment that will doom him and everyone but the Marine to death. From here the aim is survival and to basically shoot enemies while uncovering information. It can be said that the storyline is not the game's strongest element.
With PC gamers and console gamers for the most part being different in their expectations, the gameplay may not be such an issue for console gamers as it was for pc gamers. The fact is Doom 3 is not the game people wanted but more the game id wanted. The focus is on having the daylights scared out of you, rather than any ongoing differing gameplay. What you see in the first 30 minutes is basically what the game is all about. However, in its defense, the original two games were also like this. It's just that gaming has become so mainstream since the first two mega hits for Carmack's men, that people may have expected more.
With that said, those going in with the right attitude will find a game that has the polish and graphics that go with an id game. You will have enemies jumping out at you, wanting to tear the marines apart, and generally the whole game is one big script giving it a very cinematic feel but it can seem a little contrived. Also with the game mainly set in dimly lit areas, a torch needs to be used. The thing is in the game you can't use the torch and a gun at the same time making for some truly terrifying moments while you scramble to grab a weapon when something jumps out of the shadows.
The interface is one area where the game has retained its old style yet also made some innovations. Keys are PDAs and these PDAs update information about characters you find throughout the game as well as give you a higher level of security access. This system seems to work well but unfortunately there is quite a bit of backtracking which in a game like this is somewhat unacceptable. It seems as if id can't decide whether to include complex puzzles or focus on action. The puzzles which are in the game are truly some of the best in the genre with the engine being used to its fullest.
You may notice I've mentioned id quite a lot in this review. There is a reason for this and that's because they made the original game however the Xbox developer has made its own additions and these are what makes the Xbox version one to play. Co-operative is the big one and really PC version owners have every right to be furious at id for not including this in the PC game. What makes Live and the Internet so different? nothing. The multiplayer is updated somewhat as well but overall it remains id's game.
Visually is where the game had to succeed and for most of the game it does. Sure the textures are not as shiny and detailed as a high end PC but considering the Xbox is almost four years old, and how well a 2001 PC probably runs the game, Vicarious Visions has done well. They have maintained the scared out of wits feel while keeping the framerate stable. The surround sound available on Xbox is also superior to the PC while the sound effects remain the same.
Doom 3 on the Xbox does what it set out to do and takes the PC version of the game and puts it on a console. Whether Vicrious Visions would have been better off waiting until the 360 will be debated but with what they had to work with, that being an ageing console, they have kept the game in tact while adding a few extras for console owners.