Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Doom 3: Hell Unleashed On Your Nerves

If you've played Doom 3, then you've known what it is to be scared.  This game is packed with so many jump scares and tense moments that by the time you reach the end credits you'll probably notice a few gray hairs sprouting up on your head.  Today we're going to take another trip back to Mars and face the minions of Hell one more time as we explore the terror of Doom 3.

But first a little background on this series.  The original Doom is a true classic, with its revolutionary graphics (by 1993 standards that is) and thrilling first-person perspective.  Doom's popularity is considered by many to be solely responsible for the boom in first-person shooting games.  In this game, you play as a space marine stationed on Mars who is trying to fight back an invasion of the demons from Hell.

Hell is no match for the Doomguy.

The game is full of fast-paced demon-blasting action, as you charge through the level mowing down these beasts with weapons such as mini-guns and plasma rifles.  All this happens while a rocking soundtrack plays in the background, making for some pretty awesome gameplay.

The style of the original Doom games remained relatively unchanged until Doom 3, when id Software decided to go with more of a survival horror feel.  Gone was the rocking soundtrack, as were the (mostly) brightly-lit game maps that encouraged run-and-gun gameplay.  You'll still do some running, but this time it will be in fear.

The game has a very dark and creepy atmosphere that will have you on edge the whole time.  In some of the darkest rooms, you'll need to pull out a flashlight in order to make your way through.  However, when you use the flashlight, you aren't able to use a gun at the same time, adding a feeling of helplessness.  A special edition of Doom 3 was released that allows you to use a weapon-mounted flashlight, but in my opinion that took away one of the great tension-causing features in the game.

Flashlight or mini-gun? Better decide quick, he's getting closer by the second.

This atmosphere makes it all the more simple for the game to utilize jump scares to great effect.  Some of the scares are nonlethal, such as a steam pipe exploding in your face as you slowly walk down a hallway.  Other instances can be brutal, as in the case when you open a door and find yourself face-to-face with a demon that instantly pounces on you.

Because you are always expecting the game to throw something at you, gaming sessions can really do a number on your nerves.  I found this to be one of the most stressful games I've ever played, and I could only handle it in short chunks of 20-30 minutes of gameplay at a time before I needed to step away and calm down.

During your adventures on Mars (and in parts of Hell too), you'll encounter updated versions of your favorite monsters from the original Doom games.  Imps, zombies, and the huge Hell Knight all make numerous appearances (in the Imp's case, probably too many appearances).

Prepare to be ambushed by plenty of these guys throughout the game.

There's even a bunch of new additions to the cast of enemies, including a creepy demon-baby called a Cherub.  As if an evil baby isn't scary enough, Cherubs have wings similar to a fly's, and crab-like arms that end in pincers instead of hands.  As an added bonus, they tend to swarm you in groups.

Creepiness brought to a whole new level.

If there's anything bad that can be said about Doom 3, it's that the developers might have went a little overboard with the constant jump scare tactic.  Towards the end of the game you get accustomed to enemies jumping out at you every couple minutes, so when an attempted jump scare happens you just shrug it off and move on.  This game could definitely have benefited from more slow Silent Hill-style moments, where nothing jumps out but the creepy environment handles most of the scares.

That wraps up our quick look at one of the scariest first-person shooters you'll ever play.  While it's definitely different from its predecessors, the combination of scares and demon-blasting make for a tense but fun experience.  Did you guys play Doom 3?  If so, did you find it to be a stress-inducing experience?

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