Now it’s time to actually kick this week off, and finally i can say what i need to say about this game…
Doom 3 BFG Edition.
Doom3 is a remake of Doom’s story (the original doom) with a different everything else. One of my biggest gripe initially with this game that continued on halfway through the game was on how it just felt like such a betrayal to the series I had played as a kid. But of course it would as the series origins were originally horror-themed first person shooting, and not survival horror. Though hindsight would tell us that it’s probably due to the fact of the technological level of that day that the game wasn’t made as a survival horror.
Maybe that’s why for Doom 3 [talent + technology] lent itself to making a horror survival game. I had to step away for a little bit to take it on at the perspective of: “What if this is how they wanted to represent the first doom originally but knew they couldn’t?”
Games must innovate or else they become stagnant and lose their fan base, and then their financial backing. Even games like Call of Duty, and other series that suffer from “sequelitis” must innovate in some manner or each game would become a snooze fest all too quickly and people would recognize they were getting an overpriced broken expansion.
So while initially I really detested and lament at the changes, change is inevitable and it is good or can be… I slowly changed my tune on this game. I was fortunate enough to have been gifted a copy of the Doom 3 BFG edition or as I call the ‘better flashlight gear edition‘. And with it came a well a better flashlight, this one being shoulder mounted and would allow you to fight and use a flashlight albeit it for a limited time.
This game tried to control atmosphere by using typical horror gaming cliches, such as poor lighting throughout the game and constant scripted surprise attacks by a bunch of demons or undead. I must say once again I find this irksome in the constant jump scare attack in the dimly to no light room. While enemies often had some sort of glowing/semi bio luminescence to them, essentially saying “I’m here, come unload a hail of lead/rounds of hot plasma upon my demonic flesh” it bothers me that the lighting systems just doesn’t meet with the technology that an advanced Earth civilizations has or could bring i mean seriously considering they built a city and science facilities on another planet i feel like their back up lights wouldn’t be 5% dim light lights or red lights…
The light was done so poorly and I never understood why these games needlessly rely on it, after all darkness and jump scares while yes get the job done they wear off quicker than some of the other more cerebral methods of fright. Doom 3 tries to include different horror and fright and anxiety methods and at certain points but quickly drops it for the old wash and rinse repeat game mechanics. The beginning of the game is simply there to build the stage of suspenseful anxiety. After all we all know what’s going down before it goes down. We all know that this 15 minutes or so of game play that’s slow, yet unnerving is really just like the beginning credits to a flick where zombies will soon have civilization on its knees.
In these short non-horror filled minutes I have no weapons other than fists which is absurd for a Marine, a combat unit… Oh no the other military guy on the flight I came in on happens to have a BFG 9000 which happens ironically enough to be the strongest human made weapon in the game. Yet I can’t even carry a club or a pistol!? But… it is another way to drive up that sensation of anxiety, a nod of helplessness. I know demons are coming and i don’t even have a pistol!? How will I defend myself. Again we know something bad is going to happen and now with little to no way to defend that onslaught just waiting to break out starts to eat at the back of our heads, and it also makes us anticipate our first demonic encounter. While this portion of the game is too short I do think it is done well.
The first 15 minutes really hit the nail on the anxiety factor if a player is subject to it as hell all the civilians on this Mars Base has been hinting at the horror to come and even still I can’t have a pistol until I’ve traveled through some creepy slightly broken/decrepit already poorly light areas. Then finally Hell is unleashed and the apocalypse on Mars has begun.
While the game doesn’t feel like Doom I or II; I do have to say that the enemy mobs in this game are what I expected for them to be, each one serves a purpose and is uniquely its own creature/ creature type. They look impressive down from the small trite up to the large Guardian and the more you go into the game the harder and more frequent demons become and the more badass they look. But again the further you get into the game the AI scripting starts to seem lack luster and they all generically in a way just shamble towards you. Which for me is fine as then I can use my favorite gun in the game the: Chaingun.
This game saw several improvements over its initial release such as the flash light we talked about already, but it would also see some technical editions or revamping to make the game play smoother and I have admit when I’m being cornered by five zombies and two imps the game play still stays fluid and I’m able to shotgun them back to hell like I am a terminator on a motorcycle (assuming I don’t get caught on a box due to my own fault and get swarmed).
Sadly 4/5ths of this game take place in the Mars complexes and not in an interpretation of Hell in the physical world, and by the time you do get to ‘hell’ where the game opens up and truly feels like a older Doom game its over so short, but that is the best 30-45 minutes in this game. Even still it makes me look forward to getting a Doom 4, which I would like to see be a mix of this game and Doom II. Hell was a nice mix of rocky cavernous feeling and living demonic entity, stone would often move on its own accord. The sky was like a hell on Earth with it being a creepy crimson red. And minor scenery looking almost medieval with obelisks and gates. Let us not forget the magma, often associated with hell of the Jude-Christianity religions of our world.
Hell is often claustrophobic in feel and really amps the anxiety again with the constant ambient sounds of cursed souls and moans. It’s well done.
I often wonder if this games hell isn’t the real hell as in religions but something we as humans project on this lawless, degenerate and demonic place and there by equate it to something that matches. Certainly the beasts found in ‘hell’ happen to make me think of a demonic dark desolate place where humanity would lose its way. Then again the cold slightly under scientific advancement that is present throughout Mars Base alongside science devices and advancements that are either only current day theories or complete fiction kind of seems like the real hell to me. I really enjoyed this game by the end, even after all the issues that bothered me it still had solid game play in the main story, and the BFG edition came with extras including the original Doom and Doom II.
This game took me to a ‘place’, that sensation of hopelessness and knowledge that you are utterly trapped in the case of an incident which is bound to happen. It really makes me think about large corporate business and government Military & Science studies and the dangers therein.Doom I’s Mars and it’s twin moons were the original horror mansion full of creeps, demons, and undead long before Resident Evil. Its only in the last few years that Doom 3 has brought the series full circle and is really trying to bring something new and with depth. To this end I feel they succeeded and Doom 4 which we know will happen will probably be a superior game with the experience of Doom 3 under the developers belts. Here’s hoping they find a better balance of action and horror survival so I’m not cringing and hiding every 20 minutes of game play like a little kid.
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