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Xbox Review - 'Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil'

by Inexhist on Nov. 10, 2005 @ 1:10 a.m. PST

Resurrection of Evil picks up two years following the events of the original in a once forgotten and remote UAC research facility on Mars. Players wage a brutal war against an army of new demons and zombies including Hell's own Hunters, while utilizing incredible new weapons like the physics defying "grabber" and the return of the classic double-barreled shotgun.

Genre: First-person Shooter
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Nerve Software / id Software
Release Date: October 5, 2005

Buy 'DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil': Xbox

I have many fond memories of days becoming nights becoming days while playing Doom II, listening to White Zombie and eating a giant piece of pepperoni while downing Jolt after Jolt. The lights were off, the dark ambience blended with the harsh monster rock of White Zombie, and the gibbering demons in the background kept our nerves from growing dull. Suddenly, a creature would appear out of nowhere with a terrible roar, flames coming from its eyes as it hurled bolts of fiery death right into my face … it was startling, to say the least.

It might be worth mentioning that these childhood events transpired roughly 10 years ago and the game managed to scare the hell out of me even with demons that looked like they could have been made out of Lego blocks. Roughly a year ago, Doom 3 was released, featuring graphics leagues above those present in Doom II, utilizing this new graphic potential the game was able to achieve heights of terror inducing visuals that its predecessor couldn't even approach.

Resurrection of Evil picks up roughly two years after Doom 3, when scientists head back into the abandoned facility where they resume the archeological excavations. During the explorations, they discover an ancient artifact of indescribable origin. Due to the previous events that transpired on Mars, they sent a Marine team to recover the alien artifact. When the Marine took hold of the artifact, the world changed: hell began to seep into the reality around him, demons began to appear, and he quickly lost contact with the rest of humanity. The player gets to take over the role of the Marine in possession of the artifact as he attempts to send the demons back to hell and close up the gate.

The gameplay is hardly groundbreaking and in fact has remained essentially unchanged from Doom 3. The most noteworthy changes in gameplay stem from the artifact, a Martian power orb that looks remarkably like an oversized heart. When charged with souls, the artifact allows the player to slow time to a crawl, providing ample opportunity to lay waste to the now-unmoving opponents. The time-altering effect of the heart also comes into play during a number of environmental challenges where slowing down time is necessary to avoid being crushed by moving walls. It also aids in getting through closing doors and landing precariously timed jumps across moving platforms.

The arsenal of weapons has been expanded to some degree, incorporating a blast from the past in the form of a double-barrel shotgun. Of course, being double-barreled means that the shotgun packs twice the punch while requiring twice the load time. Another addition comes in the form of a gravity gun, a device that can be used to hurl smaller enemies around, catch and return enemy fireballs, and toss objects around the stages. A number of stages require creative utilization of the gravity gun in order to bypass obstacles and even defeat some bosses.

The scant changes to the online multiplayer portion of the game consist of removing the co-op mode and adding some new maps. Much to my disappointment, these changes do very little to fix the flaccid multiplayer gameplay that was found in Doom 3. There is a tab available for downloadable content so we can expect to see some new maps in the near future and if we're lucky, they will port the missing Capture the Flag mode from the PC version. For now, the online features, options and game types are the same as they were in Doom 3, leaving much to be desired in the multiplayer realm.

Of course, Doom 3 has never had a terribly strong multiplayer component; the meat of the game is in the single-player campaign, where the fright factor keeps the adrenaline flowing. The campaign is where Resurrection of Evil excels, providing a stronger and more interesting storyline, a more believable feeling of spatial dimensions and more disturbing images and scripted events than its predecessor.

Graphically, Resurrection of Evil is one of the most beautiful looking games I have seen on the Xbox. (Can you really use the term beautiful when the things being rendered are so demonic and hideous?) The truth behind the beauty in Resurrection of Evil lies in the design more than the billions of polygons, particle effects, or even the texture maps. These design elements are what set it apart; like the way shadows dance across the walls as a flashing red alarm casts its lurid glow or the way a pistol-mounted flashlight pierces just enough of the darkness to make it seem like something must be hiding there.

Not unlike the graphics, the audio has been carefully crafted to create the most disturbing atmosphere possible; through the use of ambient noise and not-so-ambient demonic noises, the sounds alone could give a young child a fear-induced heart attack. That is to say that the audio has been handled expertly and in a manner that adds to the realism as much as the graphics or lighting. Even the voice acting, one of my most critical audio elements, has been handled exceptionally, which is rare, to say the least.

Since the game takes place primarily in a Mars scientific research facility, the stages look far more familiar than they have in past titles. The stage familiarity helps to set the tone of the game while providing a more disturbing and unsettling backdrop – things are scariest when they seem close to home. The stages have been built in an extremely convincing manner, containing small details and design elements that make the world seem far more believable than it otherwise might. One of the complaints I occasionally heard regarding Doom 3 revolved around the slightly repetitive-feeling stages. Resurrection of Evil eliminates any potential repetition by sending the player through numerous areas and environments, ranging from the aforementioned scientific facility to the surface of Mars, and even back through some previously explored parts of Doom 3.

Progression from start to finish is, for the most part, a linear experience with a few small diversions and a couple of meaningless forks in the road. A typical fork in the road will range anywhere from a different corridor that ultimately leads to the same spot to a fairly trivial detour through an extra room. Fortunately, the linear nature is mostly obscured by the storytelling and through the use of well-staged events, the likes of which frequently include demonic sounds, disturbing imagery and blood … lots of blood.

The PDA still plays a central role in the story without forcing the player to sift through countless hours worth of video and text to find their way. There are occasions where it is beneficial for the player to peruse the files in search of passcodes, which will open armories, medical centers, and other helpful, but generally unnecessary, locations. I personally enjoy being able to choose how much time to devote towards watching the story, as often I am just not in the mood to listen to an animated scientist babble on about some fictional science thing.

Ultimately, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil seems more like an expansion that adds levels, weapons, and a new campaign to further flesh out the storyline, rather than a standalone title. This Nerve/ID collaboration has been aimed to continue with the best parts of Doom 3 while leaving the weak areas untouched. Personally, I like to see games improve the most in the weak areas while leaving the strong areas strong, but sometimes, that's too much to ask for. The play time runs about 15 hours, making it ample enough to support the reduced price tag, and the inclusion of Doom II provides a bit of added value. Resurrection of Evil was released for anyone out there who thoroughly enjoyed the campaign of Doom 3, and in that aspect, it has succeeded with flying colors.

Score: 8.0/10

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