Reviews |Techie Talk by Judy @ 12:48 PM

I have to admit up front that I’m not necessarily a fan of first person shooters. I don’t play games that often. But when I do, I prefer games that require some thought and logic rather than blowing up everything that gets in your way. I’m a fan of games like the Myst series, Schism (the DVD version) and that ilk.

Then there’s Doom.

I’ve been playing Doom for somewhere around 10 years, give or take. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect FPS: Little or no plot, big guns, lots of stuff to blow up, mindless enemies to destroy. Oh yeah! I have Doom II installed, and I still play it. I also think it’s cool that Doom can be patched and expanded. I have a few patches installed: Barrels turned into Beer kegs and health drinks turned into Pepsi cans. My favorite patch turns demons into a certain big purple dinosaur, who comes bouncing into the base singing a certain amazingly obnoxious song, and then turns into nice purple splats when blown up. 😆

Everyone who knows me knows that I am in no way a violent person. I shoo bugs out of my house rather than kill them, even. But there’s something just so stress-relievingly satisfying about Doom’s mindless, pointless violence.

And now, after what seems like forever, Doom 3 is released, and you’d better believe I was in line to get my copy. Fry’s gave me a rain check for one at $45 — everyone else is $55, so I was willing to wait an extra day — and last night I finally had it in my hot little hands. It’s rated “M” for blood, gore and intense violence. I knew I was in good hands.

There were a few false starts getting it installed. It didn’t like being installed on my D: drive, where I usually install non-OS software. It died when trying to unpack. So I had to delete and reinstall on C:. It wants to run at 800X600 at High quality. OK. I can accept that. I’d rather have 1024×768, and thought I’d get that with my ATI 9800XT, but it’s OK. Configuring it to use surround sound caused the sound to cut out and then the game to freeze. I’ve solved this by using 2D sound. It may be a driver issue. There’s a new driver for my Audigy 2 ZS Platinum. I’ll download and install it tonight.

#1 Son came in while I was messing around with freezes caused by the sound problem. He offered to install it on his computer to see if it worked better there. I told him he’d have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

OK… first impressions:

The graphics rock. Period. The attention to detail is awesome. I love the way my point of view moves when something hits me – very disorienting. I wish I could afford a next-generation graphics card, but I can’t justify it right now.

The game starts out deceptively simple. The first missions are to report to headquarters, get armed, find your way outside and to the next building, and locate a missing scientist. That’s where things start to go to hell in a handbasket.

I’m not one to really get that caught up in a game, but the atmosphere is really spooky. The lights go off and weird things come out of nowhere. I had a tendency to blindly spray everything in sight with bullets. Not a good idea if you’re standing next to something that might blow up.

I didn’t have much time to play, so I didn’t make a huge effort. I made it back to the main base building and was attempting to cycle the airlock when the demons got me, the world turned red, and that was all she wrote.

I’m not sure I like having a plot — even as thin as the plot is. But I’m willing to work with it.

I don’t want to talk to people. I want to blow things up. It’s annoying to have to stop and talk to other characters. This is Doom, dammit, not Journey To The Center Of The Earth.

The PDA is both annoying and a good tool. Having to locate a downed person’s PDA in order to have access to a restricted area isn’t that different from having to find a key of a particular color. But it’s a little bit annoying to have to pause to refer to the PDA for other info. Hints are not unappreciated, however, so I guess it’s good in some ways. But see under “I’m not sure I like having a plot.”

There are lots of dark, narrow, twisty hallways. I’m hoping that I can get to somewhere open and light where it makes sense to use the big guns. It will be hard to use them in the halls. And a flashlight? Gimmeabreak. I’m on Mars. I should at least have night vision. I want to use the flashlight to see, but I know as soon as I do some demon is going to jump out and get me because I don’t have a weapon.

That aside, I still recommend Doom 3 to anyone who’s a fan of FPS or of the original Doom series. I notice that it’s expandable and patchable, like the original Doom. I’m hoping for a Barney patch, or the Bush equivalent, soon, along with a few custom levels out in the open.

Mom’s grade: one starone starone starone star

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