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SummaryDoom 3 resurrected (possible spoiler)
The GoodI'm aware that no-one gives a crap about Doom 3 any more (that's the problem with engine showcase games, they age at the same rate as the technology that powers them), but it still made a big enough splash to justify an expansion, which id co-designed with Nerve Software. It's a sad fact that most expansions suck, particularly when the developer "co-designs" the expansion with someone else (read: the less famous name does 90% of the work). Fortunately Resurrection of Evil is far from being a bad game. It fixes most of the things that were wrong with Doom 3, adds a decent amount of new content, and manages not to ruin the what wasn't broken to begin with. It is Doom 3 Done Right.
The game takes place one year after events in Doom 3. A strange signal is been sent from a Martian satellite, and a UAC team is sent to investigate. Predictably, all of hell breaks loose and the marine ends up having to lone-ranger things by himself. Like in Doom 3 the story plays only a backseat role, and is mostly advanced through PDA emails and the occasional cutscene. It might not be Shakespeare but the game makes up for this with great ambience and atmosphere. I'm prepared to call Resurrection of Evil an even scarier game than its predecessor.
One of the things that killed Doom 3 for me was the repetition. Let me first say that Resurrection of Evil takes big steps in the right direction. Gameplay is still the brainless old-school shooter formula, but they spiced things up with better and more varied level design, a greater number of environments to play in, and some well-chosen weapon and monster additions. Instead of endless "metal corridor"-themed levels we get creepy Martian temples and archeological digs as well as the required jaunt into hell. Resurrection of Evil brings a lot of variety into what was a stagnant and repetitive game, and this is nothing short of commendable.
If you were sick of monsters jumping out at you every couple of seconds, take heart because this problem is significantly lessened in Resurrection of Evil. The levels are overall brighter and better lit, so it's not as if you'll be using your flashlight more than your gun any more. Levels are also less cramped and you've got lots of room to circle-strafe in. Enemy placement is way better, and no longer will you have to deal with massive swarms of weak enemies that come at you in twos and threes and force you to stop every few feet and pick them off. Stronger, fewer enemies are the rule here. There aren't as many "go find the email/PDA log" puzzles as there were and the cutscenes are fewer and further between. Resurrection of Evil is even more of a straightforward action game than before.
Most expansion packs try to unfairly ratchet up the difficulty by limiting health and ammo packs. Resurrection of Evil skirts this temptation and in fact is more generous with health and ammo then its predecessor was. And since there is no longer such a huge over-use of monster ambushes, Doom 3's frustrating moments "go to pick up health and ammo, billions of enemies charge at you, and by the time you've killed them all you have less health and ammo then you had at the beginning" are for the most part ameliorated. So you can see Resurrection of Evil fixes a lot of Doom 3's weak spots and makes the game a lot less frustrating and a lot more cohesive.
New stuff: there are three major additions in the weaponry department. Firstly, there's the super shotgun, which is extremely satisfying to use. Second, there's the Hell's Artifact, which enables you to suck out the souls of corpses and use them against enemies. Each time you kill a boss you get a new power to use, berserk (kill anything with 1 hit), bullet time ((c) Wachowski Brothers), and invulnerability, in that order. Not the most original thing in the world, but let me just say it is an very well balanced weapon and was exactly the thing the original game needed. The effects stack, so by the late game you'll have a really powerful weapon. To counterpoint this, the corpses it needs for ammo get fewer and fewer, so it's not worthwhile using it unless you really need it. A nice touch is that your hands actually start to rot and get covered with gangrene when you try to use it, as if it's corroding your soul with its very presence. That leaves us with the grabber, which is a gravity-manipulator physics thingie. Doom 3 doesn't have quite as good a physics engine as Half-Life 2 but you can still do some pretty cool stuff with it (picking up barrels, snagging enemy projectiles out of the air and throwing them straight back, even tossing small demons.) And guys, stop whining about how they ripped off Half-Life 2 . The grabber was actually present in Doom 3's code before Half Life 2's release!
The game doesn't mess with the horror-movie presentation of the original, and the visual design is still very effective. Make no mistake, the atmosphere is one of Doom 3's greatest selling points and you can see they've gone to great efforts to preserve the Alien-style creepiness. If there's one thing there's almost universal consensus about, it's that Doom 3 had perhaps the best graphics of its day. Eight months on and it's inevitable it would start to look a little dated, but Resurrection of Evil more than compensates with a greater variety of environments. Several other reviewers on Mobygames have commented that the game lacks music. This wasn't a problem for me since Doom 3 relied almost totally on background ambiance and it makes sense they'd do the same thing here.
The game's lackluster multiplayer mode is much improved with less lag and better weapon balance and a greater variety of game modes. They even doubled the number of players you can have in a game (which isn't so impressive when you consider the original number was four but I appreciate the gesture).
The BadIt's still the same kind of game...for better or for worse.
Also, I'm really annoyed about how they traded off the chainsaw for the grabber. The chainsaw was one of Doom's signature weapons! What next? Zorro without his mask? Don't they have any respect? The grabber also gets highly annoying, with complicated controls and the fact it drops objects if you try to hold them for more than a few seconds at a time. And since it snaps objects up in front of the screen and obscures your view of what's ahead (especially if "what's ahead" is an imp throwing a fireball and "the object" is an exploding barrel you're trying to throw) it's usually far more hassle than it's worth.
The final levels are rather anti-climatic and the final boss is a joke. I took him down using only the chaingun, the rocket launcher, and two souls from the artifact. I guess I can't be surprised since id Software has a history of crappy final bosses. The new enemies are a lackluster crew consisting of three "Hunters", a wimpy Mancubus rip-off and a new kind of imp that is so similar to the old kind it might as well be the same enemy with a replaced skin texture. Groan.