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A friend of mine was nice enough to lend me a legal copy of Doom 3 to play around with on my system.

After a few hours of play, I can say two things. One, id deserves praise for making a game engine that looks good no matter what system running it. I'm running it on a two and a half year old Dell Laptop and it still looks fantastic.

Two, the game feels weirdly like the old FMV lightgun rail shooters of arcade old. Every five minutes, a zombie comes out of the side of a wall and walks towards me or shoots at me and I stand still or dodge left and right shooting. Honestly, there were moments when Lethal Enforcers and Mad Dog MacRee came to mind.

My main problem with the scripted attacks in Doom 3 is this: the enemies are neither smart nor clever, so their clever jumping down at you seems all the more scripted. Somehow a demon of hell can follow me, jump at my back from a ventilation shaft, and then just stand still while I shoot him in the head.

Personally, the game reminds me of a poor-man's System Shock 2. It has the same general "Oh, we're trapped in space and the shit's really hitting the fan" atmosphere without the smart enemies and strategic roleplaying classes.


Doom 3's enemy introductions are very poor. With such great technology and the opportunity to create more detailed worlds, there must be other places for enemies to pop out from. It's especially depressing when you go to explore one of these monster closets and find that it's just a tiny space with no real function. It's like some homage to the Cask of Amontillado.


It's a relief that I'm not the only one bugged by this. I've been playing through the game, promised that it's the scariest thing ever. Unfortunately, unlike in System Shock 2, where there was some danger and unpredictability, after you've figured out each enemy's attack pattern, you're set! Sure you'll get hit sometimes, but it doesn't really matter, because you're almost never in a position where there isn't adequate health supplies to refill on.

As well, because the monsters don't respawn except through scripted events, you can always run back through the level, free of all worry, and restock all you want! Chances are you've left a ton of health and armor in your wake (I know I have), and since there's no worry about critters, it takes a lot of drama out of the game.

In SS2, this was never a viable option. You'd have to sneak back to previous decks, because the nasties were never truly gone. (Granted, late in the game you'd have a laser sword or enormous crystal, and the weakest enemies could be cut through immediately)

Doom 3 is a pretty fun action game, don't get me wrong, but it's not nearly as scary or as well written as it's been touted to be.


I don't get the guys at id. They can put together unique, beautiful engines, but they can't seem to get past tired, cliche gameplay. Doom had me hooked for a few hours. The excitement has worn off.



While I think he's accurate about some of the action, he's neglecting the many scripted that have nothing to do with trying to hurt you - they are just there to spook you. Some of these are pure gold.

SS2 was better written and scarier, I'll agree. But it's respawning monsters were the worst aspect of the game, hands-down. So bad I think it basically crippled it for me. You couldn't really explore the ship, for fear that you would run out of your very precious ammo and then later in the game just get completely hosed. By limiting the player's resources but not limiting the AI's, it essentially made simply running for the exit your best strategy. A real loss for a game with such thought put to it.


"They know the trick - to always leave someone wanting a little more."

This is pretty much the number one rule in show business in general, whether it is music, movies, or video games. Any entertainer (male or female) should know this and embrace it. The sexual connotation he added was completely unnecessary and unfortunate.


It strikes me that the fundamental problem with the scripted events is not in the scripting but in the design. Why do these secret doors exist? Why are there monsters simply waiting behind them for you to trigger them? It's clearly a gameplay gimmick that's at odds with the believability of the world created.


Scripting and AI shouldn't be mutually exclusive. They're both colors on the palette. You only have to play Call of Duty to know that good scripting can make a mediocre shooter a great game. Good scripting is much flashier than good AI. The problem with AI is that there is no timing to it. If the AI is doing something really great, but it's on the player's perifery, does it really matter? If you like Buster Keaton, you know that it's all in the timing.

Scripting should work like a great stunt scene in an action film. A set piece like the helicopter scene in the Matrix. AI should fill in the details. It's the set up to the punch line.

The Firing Squad review is one of the better pieces of game critcism on Doom 3 that I've read so far

Tony Walsh

Argh, it seems good gamers think alike :) I was just finishing up a review of Doom 3 with the same complaints, specifically with regards to the monsters that seems to be able to bolt themselves into small, supply-littered closets throughout the Mars base.

I feel as though Doom 3 is a graphics technology demo rather than an actual game. I've played the game before. It was called "Doom."

Mike Shea

Maybe I'm still starry eyed and hung over from the crashes and explosions, but I think we're being overly harsh here. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Everquest spoiled us. Now every game with a storyline is "on the rails".

I finished Doom 3 last night and it was worth every penny. Up through the very end I was still jumping out of my chair and getting that same feeling children get when chased by a parent. Those chain-gun fellows tearing down the hall at me had me logging out from sheer fright. The bosses were wonderful, the models are amazing, and the overall graphics are the best I've seen.

Yes, there is a lot of scripting. I never felt like I was in a real world. There are larger problems however:

If I ever have to crawl through another duct again, it will be too soon. I've crawled through ducts in games for 15 years now. I don't ever want to do it again. Like Old Man Murray's "Time to Crate" rule for gaming, I know a developer basically ran out of ideas the minute I'm crawling through a duct.

The environments only chage twice. Most of the game is spent running around steel hallways with fancy sliding doors and a lot of computer junk around. I spend my whole life in a cubicle field, I don't want to kill monsters in one. The board in Hell is the best board I've ever played in and the last couple of boards are also very unique. The rest of it, however, doesn't really grab me.

I think any linear game is going to have a lot of scripting to remain interesting. If this were a more open game, there would be more use for AIs. My fondest memory in GTA was watching a gangwar spontanously start up as two rival gangs accidently met in a park. Cops got caught in the fray, poor innocents got shot up from stray bullets. That was cool. I didn't expect something like that in Doom 3. What I got was a sequel to doom with a lot of nostalga and some excellent and scary beasts.


Coming from Florida, Doom 3 reminds me even more of a theme park attraction. You walk a bit. You get some videos and dialouge to help get you into the atmopshere of the attraction and then the monster jumps up, you kill it, rinse, repeat.

If anyone has ever been on Jaws at Universal Studios or one of those hokey "Alien Encounter" rides at Disney World, you know what I'm talking about.


RedAssedBaboon has an interesting review that basically calls Doom 3 a digital haunted house.


I guess my final thought for people disappointed in nearly any way on Doom 3 is - you either a) never played the original or b) didn't hear Carmack speak about what Doom 3 was going to be. This is precisely what they said they'd deliver.

Gabby Dizon

I've been playing Doom2 for about a week, always when the sun is down, and with full expectation of what the game is, and what it isn't. I don't get scared shitless like in the Alone in the Dark games, but there are still many moments when a monster gets in my face and I (mildly) jump out of my seat in surprise. I don't feel like it's a tech demo; it's a solid game that delivers on its premises. It's just the massive hype that has people feeling underwhelmed.

Doom3 a solid game, and is in line with my expectations. That's because I probably knew what to expect, and like many I am a big fan of the classic Doom games.

As for Half Life 2 - the bar is much higher in my mind for that one. It has to be every bit as good (or better) than their E3 presentations, or I'll end up very disappointed.


Does scripting really have better timing then well implemented dynamics? Scripting is a dynamic too ... they are triggered in most cases (and especially in Doom 3) by the players position.

I think that whether the player will act in such a way as too give such simple scripting the most dramatic impact depends on the type of aesthetic appeal the game hold ... and in a scary game's case, this is likely to be to the detriment of the game - after all, if the player deliberately tries to scare themsleves, they are not properly scared to begin with! A game like CoD is more likely to get players "into the spirit", I do not think any scary game could ever suceed at that.

Most AI currently lacks timing because they are usually making completely independent decisions, and in a traditional shooter they do not really live for long enough to have the oppurtunity to perform actions with great timing if they can only base such timing on actions they themselves have previously performed.

In a game like Doom 3, a "hive mind" (just an example!) might be a thematically relevant of justifying dynamics that reacts to the palyer in less primitive (and more aethetically relevant) ways.

I do not really think simple scripting does the job very well.


"Q: Were the I-beams and dumpster in the trap town demo scripted or physics + AI?

A: They were all AI, we just hinted for the soldiers to stand in opportune spots so they could get smashed by the heavy physics objects. :)"

- Half-Life 2 / Source Mod FAQ

Andy B

Doom 3 was great to play when I first got it, but as many poeple have mentioned, its the same old attack routine, duck when the imp throws the fireball then shoot it full of lead. Scripting just doesn't work now because games are getting too complex. They'd do better by producing a game with some complex A.I.

Doom 3 ain't all that bad, im going to start working on some map packs as soon as I have done a bit more learning. The game has got great potential to do alot better, but the levels on the SP (Although well designed) got repeatative. Maybe when the SDK comes out we will see some better TC's.

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