Genre: First-Person Shooter
Developer: Nerve Software
Release Date: April 8, 2005
Buy 'DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil': PC
Evil, won't you ever learn? It doesn't matter how you plot, scheme, or strategize, you're doomed. No matter how strong your forces, remember that you'll get wiped out by a single guy with a pistol and six bullets. At the end of the day, you'll go home with tears on your face. But no, that's something that just won't sink in. Even the army of Hell itself can't figure out that you simply can't beat the Anonymous Space Marine, so they keep on trying, over and over, in the exact same way …
Resurrection of Evil is the first (and at this time, only announced) expansion pack for last year's alone-in-the-dark gunfest Doom 3. For those of you unfamiliar with the background of the entire Doom series, it's basically the same every go-round: as the lone survivor of the latest invasion by the amazingly inept Forces Of Hell (tm), you'll load up your underpowered pea-shooter and dive headfirst into the damned, shooting your way from one end of a military institution to the other. Doom 3 tried hard to innovate with a new engine, great lighting effects, and an emphasis on frenetic firefights over Half-Life 2's more story-driven system.
RoE is, put simply, exactly the same thing as the original game. While exploring the abandoned base to find the source of an odd signal, your squad stumbles on a strange artifact. As soon as you, Mr. Anonymous Marine Guy Who Didn't Bring Very Many Bullets, touch it, everything suddenly goes wrong. It's all throw-away set up for the firefights to come. Your poor grunt will stumble through the same odd temples, ruined caves, and industrial-military areas, slowly gathering better firepower and finding out what's going on around here.
Anything that was right about the original Doom 3 is still going strong here: the graphics are absolutely lovely, the lighting effects are grand, and firefights with intelligent enemies abound. In turn, any problems that existed are there as well, including boring levels, uninspired weaponry, and more darkness than New York during a power outage. While the level design is somewhat less reliant on hiding things in the shadows, it's still the preeminent assault style. Even though that may sound like something completely awful, you have to stop and consider that this is the same formula that made Doom 3 popular late last year. At the end of any argument, your love for RoE will, like most any expansion pack for most any game, depend on whether or not you enjoyed the original game.
Beyond the new levels and storyline, there are a few new "nifty-neatos" grafted on to the original Doom 3 experience. You'll come up with two new weapons, a new gadget, and some new enemies before the end of the segment. Arms-wise, the Marine finally finds the one thing that's been in every Doom and Quake title to date, a perennial favorite guaranteed to perforate demons like scissors chop up paper: the super shotgun. Based on the first design from Doom 2 (right down to the reload animation), the dual-barreled beast is loud, violent, and good in close combat. Not that you'd ever want to be there, but just in case... The other "weapon" (and I use the term sort of loosely) is The Grabber. An unsubtle variant of Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun, you'll use it mostly the same way, throwing barrels and boxes around and snagging ammo from long range. It's not exceedingly useful in these levels, especially with the five-second "burnout" that forces you to throw things quickly, though being able to throw enemy projectiles back at them is a blast when it's manageable. (Sad note: the Soulcube and Chainsaw do not make a return visit. A moment of silence, please.)
The enemies are sadly not much to write about, featuring a new Plasma Imp and some other tributes to classic Doom enemies, like Barons Of Pain and Heavy Weapons Dudes. You'll see far less Zombies of all varieties this time around, instead starting off fighting Imps and Lost Souls at the beginning and ramping up to big evil much faster. The same strategies apply in most fights, except for a few boss fights where the Grabber is brought into play to hurl rockets and plasma flares about like baseballs. The bland level design centres far more around key hunts and backtracking than the base game, but Doom has never been about the involved environments.
The other tchotchke you'll stumble upon is actually in your inventory from the very beginning: the artifact. A stone heart (that even beats), it can do nothing initially. After gaining some extra bits for it, it becomes something much more incredible, allowing you access to Hell Time (bullet-time), brief Invincibility, and — my personal favorite — the freight train that is The Berzerker (another tribute to Doom). Judicious use of these abilities can make or break you in bossfights, and since ammo is quite easy to come by — it uses the corpses of the not-quite-damned-yet, and we all know those are everywhere — you'll probably spend much of your time as Hell Time.
If there's anything that curses RoE, it's the sheer size, or lack thereof. With only seven levels (versus Doom 3's nearly 30), it ends very quickly. There are far fewer characters, less dialogue, and little interaction. Even the PDAs are limited—don't expect voice messages or many of the rather interesting UDC video discs. Mostly, you'll spend time shooting at things and trying desperately not to be shot back, which is the underlying premise of any iD title (or expansion) ever made. That's not exactly the death of the package, but it makes for a slightly diminished experience.
I almost want to give two scores here, one for the Doom 3 fanatic and one for the not-so-fanatic. But in all fairness, the player buried face-first in the bloodbath of Resurrection of Evil is the first type, the type who couldn't get enough Imps and Barons of Hell the first go 'round. If that's you, then this will be exactly what you want — more levels, more science gone horribly wrong, and more bullets flying around your head. It looks good, plays fast, and doesn't diminish the formula that scored Doom 3 its dedicated following last year. While it may not exactly win hearts and minds back from Half Life 2 or Thief, Resurrection of Evil is a fine aperitif for the Marine who's still got some rounds left in his pistol and gas in the chainsaw.