Why I Love… Doom III • Page 2

Happiness is a warm gun.

The descent into, and out of, Hell in Doom 3 really was a treat for eyes, ears and trigger fingers. It's just that if any of the above were attached to a brain doing any degree of actual thinking, the effect was dramatically reduced.

Sure, it could have been condensed. If there's anything gaming has taught us it's that endless corridors numb the soul. But Doom 3's UAC Mars base remains a superb ghost train of impressive light effects, distant screams and gurgles and an occasional body hanging from a light fitting.

Given the solid foundation of guts being spewed out of vents, gribblies leaping at you from the dark and the bit with a chainsaw - what exactly is wrong with being a solid, engaging shooter that's old-school enough to hide its entire armoury behind your keyboard's numerical line-up?

To bring up a more minor point, meanwhile, it's a real shame more PC games haven't picked up on the function where you simply wander up to a computer screen and click away on it with your mouse, or indeed sift through emails on a PDA that have apparently been sent by Finchy from The Office about an upcoming pub quiz.

Similarly, what's wrong with such a fairly basic story when the overarching themes of a Hell dimension breaking into Mars are so compelling? Geographically, it might have been a sprawl - but the sense of location, threat and solitude within the UAC base is brilliantly captured through the art design, audio diaries and a story that might be extraordinarily basic, but is still impeccably delivered.

Dead Space would, of course, later replay the Doom 3 tune note for note, yet somehow it still wouldn't be as fundamentally compelling. By my reckoning if Dead Space's endangered crewmen had recorded worried and vaguely campy last posts on their PDAs, containing their credit card details and the numerical codes for the nearest ammo locker, perhaps it could have raised its game.

Back in 2004 Doom 3 was a game with the sensibilities of yesteryear, polished to an immaculately high sheen. Spawning into the same pool as the truly game-changing Half-Life 2, however, would mean that comparatively it'd play like a dinosaur.

Simultaneously, the relentlessly claustrophobic approach put-off those who enjoyed that first Doom revolution back in 1993. On top of this, if your gaming habit was of the variety that started a game one evening and had it completed by tomorrow lunch-time, the repetition of Doom 3 would have prompted a violent assault on the milkman at around 6am. I can honestly understand why people were disappointed.

To truly love Doom 3 the laboratory conditions must be correct. The lights must be off, your significant other must be asleep and you must have one hour before bed. The more rational parts of your brain must have been dulled by a hard day's work and/or a sensible alcohol intake.

Tick these off your objective list and by my reckoning, there is no better orgy of death to relax with than Doom 3. I still love it, and I'm not ashamed.

(Next month: Why XIII was definitely worth the 83 per cent Will gave it, but only if you've been injecting your eyeballs with ketamine.)

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