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The third game of the DOOM series (now in full 3D) takes gamers through the depths of Hell, where technology and demons meet. But this time round, the game is more focused on horror elements than previous games in series.

Doom 3 is set in the year 2145, on Mars. You start as an unnamed marine soldier sent to the Red Planet, where a corporation named The Union Aerospace Corporation makes secret experiments based on ancient aliens' technology. People around the base are on the edge, & something is not right. You receive your first simple mission and when you depart, the game really kicks off.

This third major release of the Doom series is especially based on single player experience. As in most First Person Shooter games, you aim, you shoot, & you run... Enemies are zombified humans from the base or daemons straight from Hell. Doom 3 is much darker visually than previous games - you can use a flashlight in dark corridors, but you must choose between various weapons and the flashlight (the marine can't use them both in same time.)

The game has multiplayer with four game modes for four players.


  • Doom 3 - Alternative spelling
  • 毁灭战士3 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 둠 3 - Korean spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

141 People (135 developers, 6 thanks) · View all



Average score: 85% (based on 107 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 293 ratings with 28 reviews)

Doom 3 is the shallowest and longest puddle in videogames

The Good
Doom 3 is a spectacle (I know it's DOOM3 but that's not even English, let alone proper English) . It puts itself forward as the benchmark of its time for graphics, sound, design and presentation. No many games have the gloss and shine of Doom 3 (what with all those spectacular lighting and shadow effects). As audacious as it is, it succeeds where its ambitious lies. It really does look and sound great. As you progress through the levels and admiring at how cool it is, you'll be inspired to continue the drudgery of looking at a black screen for the next cool thing to amaze you eyeballs.

Humanity is respented by the three major races (I didn't see any Hispanics, Jews or Arabs though; maybe they're all getting along on the love planet, Venus), nice to see the future really is a bowl of neopolitan ice cream--though when they become zombies there becomes no difference. The interface with in-game computers is innovative, gets you back into the action quick.

This is definitely a love letter to the first Doom. This act of revisionism will cause us nostalgia-prone 80's babies to live over once again that initial "whiz-bang"-gasm that got most of us into gaming in the first place. For the most part it succeeds in replacing the first Doom in areas like graphics and presentation; however, revisionism is always a tricky thing...

The Bad
Doom 3 is a spectacle, just like the way your aging mom dresses twenty years her junior and tries to flirt with your friends. It's difficult to look away from a car accident, especially when it's the most amazing car accident at which your gawking eyes can look.

Doom 3 simply didn't have to happen. I think I heard a story somewhere about how those id(iot) guys approached senior management after completing Quake IV and dropping a ultimatum along the lines of, "We want to make Doom 3 or else we all quit!" Well, the world or even the world of videogames is not better for this.

The original Doom is a cool game, an influential one that many will remember fondly upon. The operative word here is "remember". I myself remember going over to a friends house to play it into the wee hours of the morning, scared to death at those (at the time) cutting edge graphics. Cool factor MAX 10 vector five.

But you can't go back. What is called "Doom 3" is really Doom 1.5; it's just an updated version that is less than the sum of the first one's parts. When it's the exact same thing done all over again and not the third in the trilogy (not much of a trilogy either, wasn't Doom 2 like an expansion pack idea?) you have nothing new to say. So it becomes 15 hours of gameplay of nothing.

I will clearly say that I like the first Doom much more than this one. Who cares if you can look up and down? Who cares if you can jump? Who cares if you have the best graphics in the world? The first one played so much better than this one. The two crucial gameplay elements to the first one are missing here: puzzles and being in mortal fear of your life.

It's rather sad: there aren't any puzzles of note. This is one brainless shooter that offers you no choices, really. In actuality you're quite simular to the zombies: there's no thinking. Most sad of all is the fact that id designed such a marvelous interface with which to interact with everything; you can hang onto the mouse without breaking up the action. Honestly, there's no point to all this worthless reading of emails and messing about with PDF's.. what a scam. Please don't dress up your aging mom in sheep's clothing.

The wonderment of the first Doom is the realization that there are new places to explore, you just have to be smart (or diligent) enough to find them. You see where that imp is sniping you from that balcony? You can get there... you just have to figure it out. This idea of having secret areas puts in an adventure element that has you enjoying looking around the level and not just looking to flip a switch and advance.

Doom 3 is not a scary game. It might have been back in 1990, but this is the po-mo world that we live in; "Scream" the movie pointed this out to the masses so we can't turn a blind eye to this. Nothing is scary here. When you play through a game where it is dark all the time, this effect of fear is lost. You would get scared in the first Doom when the lights turned off because the lights were on in the first place! No contrast, no effect.

The use of scripted events are very lame. When there is a darkened hallway in front of you, your first instinct is, "hmm, looks like an ambush, better get out my shotgun," and your instincts are always correct. Something will always jump at you from the darkness. Now I know everyone is a genius, but the reason why you know is because id is simply too predicable. This game is exactly the same from start to finish.

There's nothing wrong with being influenced, but shouldn't you game companies try to hide it a little bit, or even try to have different influences? Aliens was a great movie, so great that I'm watching it every time a play a contemporary videogame. (but as unicorn b lynx pointed out, at least the computer screens aren't green). This game is exactly like Halflife, exact that Halflife has the enviable position of coming out about 10 years earlier (speaking of which, yet another game with many influences that doesn't try to hide it--but which also made it everyone's grandmother's favourite game).

By the way, if this is the future and people have money and the ability to build on Mars, why is it so ugly? This is the main thing I think about as I'm squinting at the screen; I try to imagine the place with the lights on and people walking around, but I can't imagine that people in the future share the same design sensabilities as modern Chinese. It looks cool for us "game tourist" who are visiting this world, but it just isn't real.

Making Doom 3 is making a statement that the first Doom never existed, that by updating this game, Doom is finally the game it is deserving to be through use of modern technology. But worse of all, more so than being brainless, is being heartless. Doom 3 has no soul. Besides it being cool, there's nothing to like about it. You don't identity with anything in the game, so you never get past it's superficiality.

In the original Doom you see the marine's face in the HUD, and it worsens to a bloody pulp as you get beat up or grins maniacally when you pick up a chainsaw. No, you might not be this nameless guy, but he's like you. He bleeds when hit by demonic fireballs and likes his weapons pick-ups to be more and more powerful. What's there in this game? He's just some guy, a Gordon Freeman stand-in; you never find out why he does all of this stuff.

This game takes some effort to explain some things but not others. I might understand how a nixup might lead a shipment of chainsaws to Mars, but why can't you put a flashlight on a gun? Why doesn't this guy just go home after awhile? Why is he compelled to fight the Cyberdemon? Who are the ghostly (female) voices in the game? Don't people know when a stockpile of weapons is amassed that one day those weapons will be ineviably used? What happens to this guy in the end? Because our hero doesn't talk, you don't know what he thinks about anything but even sadder is that you just don't care.

The Bottom Line
Doom 3 (or "Dooom" as the Romans would say) is bloated sign of our bloated times. This game happily supercedes presentation and spectacle above gameplay and substance.

The id that made Doom was a bunch of talented upstart rockstar hooligans who dared to mess with the rules.
The id that made Doom 3 is a group of bloated unimaginative millionaires who just want to keep their tenative position as the king of FPS's. It draws exactly the same paralells as Saturday Night Live; once a daring and funny show (remember the "Not Ready for Primetime Players"?) it's now the vehicle of choice where movie and music stars plug their latest movie or CD by reading off a teleprompter. SNL is a 90 minute commercial that stopped being funny twenty years ago.

Most telling is that this game is just like Quake IV. There are some thematic changes (like going to big outside settings and use of group combat) but you still just go and kill things in a splendid way. You're still a space marine who has to endure level after level of the ugliest space stations designed after the first Star Wars trilogy. It's funny, since the demise of the Star Trek franchise space stations have been butt ugly.

I think the bottom line is that Doom 3 is a punishing game that challenges the player to be as macho as the game is but never rewards the player. Doom 3 is the shallowest and longest puddle in videogames

Windows · by lasttoblame (414) · 2007

An artistic marvel that attempts the impossible, but fails gloriously

The Good
History has not always been kind to Doom 3. While it released in 2004, after a long period of delays, to critical fanfare and very impressive sales, it has since been viewed increasingly as a bit of a disappointment in comparison to its predecessors.

It's important to note, especially for folks who weren't old enough to pay attention to it at the time, that the game set out to do exactly what was in fashion for the industry at the time: graphics showcases that showed off lots of shiny real-time lighting and bump mapping and a very tight, on-rails FPS experience a la Half-Life.

The hype around Doom 3 was immense, dating all the way back to the year 2000 with John Carmack's famous .plan update which explained how id's owners had been reluctant to return to the same franchise for yet another FPS, and in return the staff had threatened to walk out if they didn't get to do another Doom game.

I loved Doom 3 back when it came out and still love it today, though I can acknowledge that pretty much all of the popular criticisms of the game are on the nose. It is a mediocre shooter and a mediocre horror game with dated graphics and gameplay mechanics that weren't strong enough to age gracefully, but man does it have some fantastic production values. Part of the allure when it came out was to just see what a Doom game could look like were it to be reimagined with the period's contemporary technology, and on that front the game excelled.

Some of the reasons for the game's drastic shifts in direction from previous entries were obviously decisions dictated by technology concerns. The real-time stencil shadows offered by the engine looked harsh and sharp, so the setting was dark and metallic to lend well to this effect. The engine was not capable of drawing convincing-looking outdoor scenes or areas with natural lighting, so the game barely features any. Most machines of the time couldn't render a scene with more than five or six actors at a time, so surprise, that's what you get. And of course, rendering scenes with wide open spaces and lots of detail was hard on the hardware too, so you're in cramped corridors full of tight corners and doors that automatically close after a few seconds.

The call to take the game's design in a horror-oriented direction would've been the natural one to make. The original games were commonly thought of as being rather scary in their day, even if they seem quaint by modern standards. But in the id Software board room, there were other concerns.

"Well it's a Doom game, so it's gotta have the demons and shotguns! And the chainsaw too! Gotta have lots of shooty shooty stuff 'cause that's what Doom is known for!" Tim Willits says, upping the irons. "Heavy metal and pentagrams! SLAYER!"

"But it's gotta be dark and scary and tense because that's where the technology works best, mmm!" Carmack retorts, his vocal tic aggravated by the lively debate.

Todd Hollenshead leans in to look at the two, brows furrowed, his luscious locks dangling at the sides of his head. "So which way do we go? Big, stupid and fun, or dark, serious and scary?”

"BOTH!" The room erupts into riotous cheering. "Both at the same time!!!”

After watching the opening cutscene, you're given some time to trudge around in a safe place with no enemy threats, filling the shoes of your nameless protagonist (we can call him Doomguy, or maybe we should call him Kevin, since his visage in this game is modelled after artist and id Software co-owner Kevin Cloud's visage, not to mention it's Kevin's arms holding the guns in the original games, and it's Christmas time as I write this so Home Alone has been on TV like fifteen times already this month). Doom 3's increased focus on horror and a slowed-down pace lends itself well to establishing a fantastic sense of place in the environments.

There's no 'use' key, but instead the game offers rich interactive screens. When you approach one, your gun drops away and your crosshair becomes a mouse cursor, that you can click on the screen's elements with. Interactive terminals in FPS games are nothing new, but the implementation of this mechanic in Doom 3 is incredibly slick, maybe the best I've seen in a shooter. Your view doesn't lock into the screen or take you to a menu or anything, you can just walk up to it and start using it just like any touch screen in the real world.

Things like that serve as small elements of what makes up the game’s greatest strength, its presentation. Even in 2019, Doom 3 looks fantastic, and it’s not because it’s got bump mapping and stencil shadows, it’s because the game is a lovingly crafted work of art. The environments are lovingly brought to life with details and movement. Machines run through complex procedures, carrying glowing tubes of blue liquid from place to place. Pistons pound up and down, consisting of complicated arrays of individual moving parts. Often, nearby monitors and terminals update to reflect the cycles of the machinery around them. These landmarks aren’t static meshes that see repeated use, either – they’re handmade, one-offs that you’ll see once and probably never again. Lights flicker, spark and move about from place to place, making the shadows dance along the walls and floors. Computer terminals are crammed with scrolling text, animated graphs and charts, many of which are interactive even if they don’t actually affect anything in the game world.

This isn’t even covering what it looks like when you get to hell, either (sorry, spoiler warning: this is a Doom game, you go to hell). The representation of hell in Doom 3 is fantastic, filled to the brim not just with fire, brimstone, skulls and pentagrams, but also with some truly weird architecture and lots of cool scripted events.

Other games had beat Doom 3 to the market with some of its banner engine features (Deus Ex Invisible War, Far Cry and even fan projects like Tenebrae for Quake already had the per-pixel lighting implemented) but Doom 3 is seemingly built from beginning to end to make full use of its engine’s features in an artistic capacity. Even if modern engines show Doom 3 up with soft shadows and physically based rendering and vastly increased poly counts and texture sizes, Doom 3 still manages to hold its own based on the quality of the artwork alone.

It’s also worthy to note that compared to other titles at the time that ran on bleeding-edge technology, Doom 3’s engine is solid and stable. Aforementioned games like Deus Ex IW and Thief 3 are janky, having significant trouble even running on a modern computer. Not the case with Doom 3. Not only does it run on today’s hardware, you will find performance is consistent, maintaining a good 60FPS rate on most mid-range hardware at native resolutions. It might take a bit of fiddling with the console to get your desired resolution (use CTRL-ALT-~ to bring up the console, set r_mode to –1, then use the r_customheight, r_customwidth and r_aspectratio commands to fix this). For people with a monitor supporting higher refresh rates, it’s important to note that the Doom 3 engine’s tick rate is locked to 60Hz. It will not render more than 60 frames per second, no matter how much power you throw at it, which is disappointing for folks like me who run a 144Hz screen and care about the difference. This also results in some slight audio quirks like how rapid fire guns like the machine gun and plasma gun seem to ‘hiccup’ and miss as they fire, and the player’s footsteps sounding like the Doomguy is occasionally tripping over his own feet. It’s ironic that this had to be done when the Carmack’s reasoning was to ostensibly prevent exploits and cheating in multiplayer games, when Doom 3’s multiplayer is a clear afterthought with very few features. The BFG Edition goes a good way to alleviate this unfortunate quirk by allowing you to double the tick rate to 120Hz.

For a first-time player, the introductory levels are a gripping experience, as you see things go quickly from bad to worse while the demonic invasion takes over. Stuff is blowing up, people are dying or being possessed left and right, imps are crawling out of the freaking walls and your radio is screeching with screams, men yelling orders and gunfire. You heft your shotgun and open a door to come face to face with an imp. He screeches a dissonant shriek at you, rearing up to pounce and take your head off. It’s great. The game throws almost its entire bag of horror tricks at you in the first couple of hours, and I found it genuinely scary at a few points... to start with, that is. More on that later.

The story is hardly any more developed than the original game but the dialogue is well written and well-acted, making use of a wide cast of veteran voice actors to record the various NPCs you interact with (for like, five seconds, before you have to proceed without them or they get killed) and the various audio journals you listen to.

The quality of the level designs throughout is consistently good, and the game maintains a deftly paced, hypnotic rhythm of exploration and combat. Level layouts are less linear than later FPS games, still coming from the boomer shooter school of design, though they are more streamlined than in previous id titles. Like Half-Life, the game knows not to keep you doing the same thing for too long, alternating between corridor crawls, spooky bits, heavy combat, set pieces and the odd breather moment.

The Bad
Doom 3 has a problem being comfortable with itself and deciding what it wants to be, though, and that’s what makes its gameplay the weakest of any instalment in the Doom series.

With the technological conceits and weaknesses that it is clearly designed around, id had the opportunity to incorporate some survival horror sensibilities into the game. And they did, too, but it’s ultimately the sense that they had to make it an action game too, that holds it back. Doom 3’s horror is only skin deep and doesn’t go into the gameplay mechanics, save for two features: the flashlight and the weapon reloading mechanics. Every other mechanic is standard FPS fare centred around combat, and the combat is never particularly great. Sorry guys. It’s certainly serviceable and balanced, but it’s far from thrilling.

Why? Well, it’s too easy most of the time, for one. Ammo and health are extremely plentiful, if you just remember to look around behind things. Demons may often lie in wait behind some of the pillars, pipes and crates you may pass, but even more often it’s caches of health, ammo and armour that lurk in the dark. And those storage lockers that you have to read emails and listen to audio logs to get codes to? Just ignore them if you like, aside from getting the odd weapon a bit earlier, they almost never have anything that you can’t easily get by without. If you’re playing the BFG Edition re-release of the game, the need to manage your ammo reserves goes from trivial to non-existent, by way of it doubling the ammo received per pickup, and adding even more ammo pickups to each level. Resident Evil, this ain’t. If you're looking for a game offering frantic moments where your blood is pumping while you sprint down the hallways trying to get away from a relentless pursuer after feeling the dread-inducing dry click of your empty gun, keep on looking.

Because throwing too many enemies on screen would be a performance concern, you’re extremely unlikely to ever be in danger of getting overwhelmed. You’ll round a corner. A wall opens up or a teleport happens and a monster comes in. You shoot him dead and immediately turn around to blow away the guy behind you, because it’s been three hours and you KNOW by now that every single bloody time a monster spawns in front of you, they place one behind you as well. Teleporting in is by far the most common way that enemies are introduced to the scene, increasingly so in later levels, and teleport are telegraphed by about almost two seconds of sound and visual cues before they actually appear. When they do, they also are frozen in place for a bit under a second, unable to attack you. Imps, maggots and wraiths, three of the most common enemy types, all come in this way and can be dealt with using the same tactic: make a beeline for where they’re about to spawn in, stick your shotgun in their mouth and pull blow them away before they can even activate. You keep expecting the game will finally catch on to this and maybe try a different trick, but it never does. It just happens more frequently, and occasionally with bigger bad guys as you go, like cacos and revenants. But the strategy never changes and it never fails. It’s boring.

By the way, that’s not to mention the cheap ambushes the game occasionally throws at you. That imp behind the door I mentioned earlier? Every fifth door has an imp behind it, waiting to do that same pounce. You can’t get out of the way, you can’t interrupt him with a non-lethal hit and you can’t back up quickly enough to get out of the range of his leap. Most of the time you’ll just have to take the hit if he doesn’t go down with your first shot. But most of us FPS veterans know to take doors on a narrow angle to divide and conquer the threats behind it... so you stack up on the side, nudge the door enough to open it and... the imp pounces on cue, and warps around the side of the doorway, in brazen defiance of the laws of physics, to hit you in the face anyway! Come on, man!

The weapons feel chronically underpowered, even though they’re actually not. Almost all of the way through the game you’ll be sticking with your melee weapon, the shotgun. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, don’t try and correct me, Doom 3’s shotgun is absolutely a melee weapon, being completely ineffective from any distance outside of three feet, but utterly devastating when used at point blank. I understand that this ludicrous degree of spread is to create situations where other guns are more appropriate, but this method of doing so is not practical and doesn’t even work. Almost all of the game’s combat is close quarters, with most rooms not more than a few metres in length or height, so the shotgun is almost always the superior choice, even with its insane spread. Why not just make it fire way slower, so it’s no good for groups? Make shotgun shells a little harder to come by, so you’re not reaching for it with every encounter? Yes, I know I’m spending a whole paragraph moaning about a shotgun, but when it’s your standby gun for pretty much the whole game, these problems with it tend to compound.

The other guns are better-balanced, each having a particular situation where they can come into their own, but all share the problem of having some incredibly weak audio-visual feedback. They sound like nerf guns, with the pistol, shotgun, machinegun and plasma gun being particularly problematic in this area. Enemies and the environment alike do not react much to being shot by them. I’m surprised that such a core part of the game, the shooting, sounds and so pithy and flaccid when the sound design, in every other respect, is great.

Okay, now let’s talk about the flashlight. Yes, the infamous flashlight mechanic doesn’t make sense and doesn’t add tension. That said, it’s not as bad as people tend to make out – instances where it is genuinely dark enough that you just can’t see at all without the flashlight are extremely rare, and there are actually a few moments where it is played to good effect, where you are constantly being attacked in pitch darkness, with a moving source of light that you must stick close by and defend so that you can proceed without having to put your gun away and expose yourself to attack.

I do believe that having a gun-mounted light with perhaps a more limited cone of light would be a better compromise, and those scenes designed around the sparse lighting could be mitigated by simply knocking your light out (there is already one sequence that turns your flashlight off anyway).

The BFG re-release of the game makes this situation worse by not only providing you with a shoulder-mounted lamp, but it also assigns an ambient base light value to levels, making it so there are almost NO dark areas whatsoever. For a game which tries to add tension by the idea of threats lurking in the shadows, this is a crippling blow to the game’s already hit-and-miss efforts at frightening you.

The other ‘horror’ mechanic I mentioned is probably a total accident: you cannot interrupt weapon reloads, save for the shotgun. If your gun runs dry in the middle of a fight and starts reloading, you have to sit and wait for it to finish while you are getting pounded on instead of being able to switch to another. Mercifully, the ‘auto-reload’ feature for weapons can be disabled, so you can pick your moments to top up your guns. With it working this way, I actually like the way it feeds into the rhythm of the game – after a firefight or before entering a new room, you get into a habit of checking your weapons to make sure they all have full clips before proceeding.

Aside from these two techniques, there really aren’t any horror mechanics to speak of. If you want a first person experience that’s actually designed to scare you, go play Amnesia or Alien Isolation – Doom 3’s horror is, for the most part, a cosmetic affair. You’ll walk down a hallway and a loud CLANG rings out and a panel of the wall flies off. You’ll walk down another hallway and a dead body will drop from the ceiling and a ghostly voice will say “Help me”. You’ll walk crawl through a vent and you’ll see a shadow flicker past the wall. And of course, there’s plenty of monsters hiding in closets that are seemingly designed to do nothing but store monsters in them – you’ll be walking along and the wall opens up suddenly, and yet another spring-loaded imp comes flying out at you. Of these examples, only the latter one is a moment that puts you in any actual danger, and even these are no more than minor threats at best.

While these tactics certainly worked on me at first, the game very quickly gets to the bottom of its bag of horror tricks and doesn’t find any new ways to unnerve you. Once you realise the scary spooky stuff poses no physical threat to you, it ceases to be scary. It will simply keep resorting to the same tricks, becoming less creepy with each use. By the latter end of the campaign, the game has more-or-less given up on the horror angle and devolved to a pure FPS with some spooky atmospheric trappings. By consequence of you retaining your arsenal from the old games, by the end you’re armed to the teeth with rocket launchers, plasma guns and the obligatory BFG, as well as the soul cube that can heal you (and largely supplants the game’s use of health pickups). The only possible way this can go is to favour the combat over the horror, and when the combat is solid but not particularly exciting or tense, that is how Doom 3 becomes as well.

And finally, there’s just one more missed opportunity for making a scary game: character development and story. Doom 3, with its barebones narrative (if well-written), features no clever twists to provoke any sense of shock, disgust or surprise in you. It features more-or-less maybe four main characters. There’s Sarge, your guy who gives you objectives over the radio, Swann, a guy who is always a few steps in front of you, Betruger, the bad guy who laughs a lot, and yourself, a silent protagonist with no history or personality.

The audio logs fare no better, with every PDA filled with recordings and emails of people talking about how the UAC has bad work culture and Mars is very spooky and they have a bad feeling about this or if Bill Lumberg took their stapler again they’d burn down the base. Remember System Shock 2’s audio logs? Do you remember following the stories of Diego, with his submission to the temptations of evil and subsequent redemption? Polito, your ally with a seemingly split personality and packing one of the best plot twists in video gaming history? Bronson, the security chief who chose to stand up for her morals even if she died for it? The lovers Tommy and Rebecca? Doom 3 features none of this kind of characterisation of anybody, despite having more content present in it and a campaign of similar length. It’s a total wasted opportunity, devoting its energies to world building in a world that doesn’t have much that can’t already be explained to you visually.

Sarge is perhaps the one person who you might feel some rapport with, if only for being your only company during most of the game (and even then, only as a voice-over), but it’s not like anybody in the game has a character arc or anything. With developed characters, you can feel empathy and attachment to them, and when they’re thrust into a dangerous situation where they could die at any moment, your fear for their safety can be as real and tense as for your own. Rather tragically, in Doom 3, you won’t ever care who lives or dies and you’ll pretty much never be looking out for anybody besides number one.

The Bottom Line
I find myself holding a weird sense of cognitive dissonance about Doom 3, because while there’s plenty about it to criticise, I still very much enjoy playing it, and have come back to it every year since 2005 when I first got it. Its problems can generally be traced to its attempt to execute on two mutually exclusive goals: to maintain the fast-paced action and irreverent tone of the old Doom games and to create a dark, engaging and deep horror experience. The efforts of each is undercut by the other, a problem that Monolith would also struggle with a year later with their game FEAR, and garnering similar results (though FEAR perhaps fared a bit better by being a new IP with no baggage, and keeping its combat and horror largely compartmentalised).

Id Software’s final parting gift has been with the open nature of the game engine and assets – Doom 3’s mod scene is surprisingly still rich and active, boasting several mods that hint at what it could’ve been if it had gone for a full horror direction (and the other way). I particularly enjoyed ‘Overthinked Doom 3’, which while in need of significant polish, shakes off Doom’s action roots and ratchets up the tension by making increasing the rarity of ammo and the lethality of enemy attacks, while also making weapon handling require increased concentration.

The rebellious spirit of id still lives on in this title, although it certainly isn’t what it used to be. With the legacy of the Doom brand looming large over it, Doom 3 is in many ways afraid to go all the way in any direction and that works to its detriment. Its spectacular 2016 follow-up serves as a perfect counterpoint when id decided to fully embrace the spirit of the old Doom games without any compromise or shame.

While I did touch on this here and there in this review, I cannot recommend the BFG re-release of Doom 3 from 2012. In its misguided attempts to reconfigure Doom 3 into an action game, it strips the horror elements to the point of total ineffectiveness and removes all the tension from the combat by making an already-too-easy game even easier.

Doom 3 is not particularly important in the pantheon of first-person shooters, it’s certainly far from id’s best game and yet I love it all the same. The A+ presentation, lovingly hand-crafted world and solid core gameplay elevate Doom 3 above its confused identity and fundamentally compromised design goals. There are no rough edges here – everything in the execution is quality and polish, all the way, and it’s absolutely still worth your time in 2020, even if it’s just for a single run.

Windows · by Ian McLean (21) · 2019

More like a tech demo than an actual game

The Good
When id software released the original Doom, it soon caught the attention of gamers for its frenetic gameplay and great graphics. Rumour has it that some people bought computers just to play it. Call me crazy, but Doom struck me as being way overhyped, its immense popularity more due to a clever marketing plan by id than merit on the game’s part. Its brain-dead, million-kills-a-minute gameplay and a “story” that you could write on the back of a postage stamp might not have impressed me, but Doom’s still-large fanbase must have convinced id that doing a third game in the series would be worthwhile. So, after four years in development, we find ourselves looking at Doom 3.

The game is a remake of the original Doom. Just as a recap, you’re a crack space marine in the 22nd century, who has been sent to Mars with a rapid response unit to help protect a research station there. The research station is tampering with the very fabric of space and time, and a rift between our world and somewhere else has opened. Soon, monsters are pouring through the portal, and and the station is utterly decimated. All of your buddies are killed (and turned into zombies…we must not forget that), and it’s up to you to stop the tide of hellspawn before it spreads to earth.

On all levels, the game is graphically stunning. Surpassing even Far Cry in this department, Doom 3’s unfalteringly dark, claustrophobic enviroments are a treat to look at. Blood-splattered walls and eery dripping pipes crank the mood up considerably. Both humans and monsters (you’ll see far, far more of the latter category) are rendered well and look almost real. The game also has a good physics engine, you’re able to push stuff and throw it around the room. And don’t let anyone tell you that you need a top-of-the-line graphics card to play. I was able to play quite satisfactorily with a Rosewill Radeon 256MB card on the highest resolution.

The level of player interaction is superb, especially for a shooter as generic as Doom 3. You have a thing called a PDA on which you can receive voice mail and instructions. The PDAs of slain personnel can also be viewed for more information on the backdrop story. There’s a good deal of black humour in many of the PDAs, which have messages from employers pompously asserting how “immune to attack” the research station is, and how they are ignoring the deaths of workers near the portal to hell. Some PDA messages are irrelevant but funny, such as spam advertising for online RPGs and sexual adventures. Talk about satire.

The Bad
Doom’s graphics might be cutting-edge, but its gameplay is at least eight years out of date. Doom is reminiscent of the early days of the FPS genre, where no game passed its beta testing stage without the required quota of blood and gore, gameplay consisted of running around shooting heaps of enemies, and the “story” was a paragraph somewhere in the manual. Doom fans would probably say that id is trying to recreate the feel of classic Doom. Doom haters would probably say that the game’s simplicity can be chalked up to laziness on the part of id. Actually, I think that it’s a bit of both.

On one hand, it’s refreshing just to play a run and gun shooter without having stuff like a story impede you. On the other hand, it stands at variance with the whole atmosphere id has tried to weave into the game. It is hard maintain a scary claustrophobic aura and a chillingly realistic setting when the player spends most of his/her time shooting at tomato-headed monsters.

Doom 3’s story is IMMENSELY unsatisfying. Not that id has ever placed much priority on a game’s plot, but this time around it’s different. Id has obviously tried to create an interesting story, tried but failed miserably. At least the original Doom had no pretensions about the experience it meant to deliver, but Doom 3 starts off with cleverly-plotted cutscenes, an ominous atmosphere, and a number of interesting developments that leave the player wanting more. But as the game progresses, the game turns into a generic kill-‘em-all shooter and the plot is left largely undeveloped. It’s as if id intended to do a story-based game, but halfway through they lost interest in the idea and just turned Doom 3 into a mindless monster fest.

Critics are hailing Doom 3 as “a masterpiece of horror” and “one of the scariest games ever.” Humbug.

Doom 3 relies heavily upon the “BOO! Scared ya!” kind of thrill tactics that have been done to death is countless Resident Evil clones. Sure, you might be shocked the first two or three times a pink, jelly-like monster lunges at you from out of the shadows, but shocked is all you’ll be. The trouble is, there are so many monsters in Doom 3 that you spend most of your time pumping iron into them and hoping you don’t run out of ammo. It becomes extremely easy to predict where monsters will next strike. “Okay, see that extra clip lying over there? I bet that if I go to pick it up the door over there will burst open and a zillion monsters will attack me.” The monsters themselves look so downright absurd that they elicit laughter more than fear.

It’s things like this that spoil the atmosphere id has so painstaking added to the game. And for a game so bent upon realism, id apparently hasn’t done their homework. Come on! You’re a crack soldier in the 22nd century for Heaven’s sake! How come you’ve got such primitive armour? Shouldn’t you at least have a helmet? How come the marines have brought chainsaws to Mars? Why can’t you hold a flashlight and a gun at the same time?

Multiplayer mode was clearly added only as an afterthought. It supports four players (by comparison, it is fast becoming industry standard for 26 and even 32 player support in mid-range FPS titles), and while several fan-made mods hope to fix this, the game out of the box definitely is definitely not going to please Quake III fans.

The Bottom Line
Dare I say it, but Doom 3 is but another continuation of id’s trend of placing visuals ahead of playability. Once the wow factor wears off, it is actually a pretty mindless and generic shooter with not a lot of content.

Windows · by Maw (833) · 2005

[ View all 28 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

DOOM³ appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Board Game

This game was loosely adapted into 2004's DOOM: The Boardgame.


The budget for this game was US$15 million.

Cut Content

Original concepts for the game included: * Longer outdoor excursions that got scrapped mostly due to engine considerations. Their removal being quoted as the final nail in the coffin for the inclusion of a railgun (the weapon from Quake was originally going to be in the game as the long-range/sniper weapon). * More female personnel in Phobos, including a never confirmed female receptionist and an apparently complete topless dead female modeled by Kenneth Scott that was to be found on an autopsy table later in the game. * A flamethrower was at one point considered, and the PDA was going to include a map feature like in the original DOOM games. * Finally, (and most infamously) the game's initial concept called for a use key like in the original, but this feature was removed by head honcho John Carmack who called the feature "just a gimmick".

German Release

In Germany, the game was released unlocalized and uncut, both which are very unusual.


The name of the doctor responsible for the disaster is Dr. Malcolm Betruger. "Betrug" is the German word for fraud or deceit, which is exactly what the doctor does.


The Doomguy speaks only one word in the entire game. That word is "God..." as he sees the Cyberdemon. Incidentally, this is the first time the main character in a DOOM game talks.


As of 2009, two novels based on the game have been released, Doom³: Worlds on Fire, and Doom³: Maelstrom. Both were written by author Matthew J. Costello, who helped writing the story and dialog on DOOM³ and its expansion pack, DOOM³: Resurrection of Evil.

References: General

  • In a certain section of the Delta Complex, the player comes across a whole area of employee offices. The names on the door are names of actual id Software employees.
  • On Site 3 and the Excavation Dig Site, there are four stone tables which the archaeologists had found. One of these is showing the ancient hero in a battle against the forces of hell. This ancient hero is actually the Marine from the original DOOM, and the stone tablet looks almost exactly like the front cover of the original US DOS DOOM box. Other examples of hidden images in the pentagram are the UAC (Union Aerospace Corporation) logo and a Moon symbol (probably referring to the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, but it is not sure whether this really is a reference)
  • At one point in the game, the player comes across a nearly-dead soldier named E. Webb. This is most likely a reference to id Software monkey Eric Webb.
  • At certain points within the game, magazines with various covers can be discovered. One of them, called Booty actually sports a picture of Hunter's (a female character from Quake III: Arena) lovely backside.
  • The game's intro (text and voice-over) and story bare an uncanny resemblance to Resident Evil: The Movie.
  • Among the many names the game uses for owners of the PDF pads are Seamus Blake and Ben Wolfe. Besides being laborers who have turned into the undead, these people are also renowned contemporary jazz musicians.
  • The logo of the Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3 mini-game is a parody on the Street Fighter Alpha 3 logo.

References: Internet

  • id Software registered, making it look like the homepage of the Union Aerospace Corporation.
  • The player will receive e-mails on their PDA that advertise for Martianbuddy (the greatest company ever conceived!). It is a jab at the annoying Bonzibuddy. When visiting, the player will receive the cabinet code 0508, which can be used prior to the end of Alpha Labs to unlock the chaingun and at the end of Delta Labs 2 to unlock the BFG9000.
  • The player will get a message on their PDA that refers to the famous 419 Nigerian scams. The sender, John Okonkwo, is not a random name, just read this.


  • Near the end of the game, there is a clickable brick on the wall bearing the id Software logo. Click it and a wall opens. Inside, a secret PDA can be found, with messages from the id employees thanking everyone for playing the game.
  • The character who supplies the protagonist with the PDA turns back to typing after doing so. If the player takes a look on the man's screen, they can see him typing an e-mail about the main character being rude for watching over his shoulder.
  • In the very first levels you can see UAC employees that can not be reached normally. When using the noclip cheat code and going through the walls to reach the unreachable areas, it can be seen that all of these employees share the name Joe.
  • Try one of the old cheat codes from the other DOOM games; in addition to the obvious "unknown command" reply, the message "your memory serves you well" will also be shown.

Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3

After arriving in Mars City, go to the kitchen. There the arcade game Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3 can be played. The game looks like a previous DOOM game, except for the turkey of course. And so it plays (playing the Marine while he is in Berserk mode). After having punched enough turkeys and reaching a score of 25,000, the player receives an e-mail via their PDA saying: "Your parents can rest easier knowing they have raised another shining example of humanity. Due to the incredible amount of time you wasted punching poor defenseless turkeys, your vacation time has been docked two days."


  • The game refuses to run not only if CD/DVD emulation software is installed on your computer (CloneCD, Alcohol), but certain burning software as well (Nero).
  • According to the promotional video G4 History of Doom when DOOM³ was first demonstrated at the E3 Expo in 2002 the E3 Judges had to offer people to play a part of the game or to play the game themselves in order to show that the game being demonstrated on the screen was in fact real. People were that impressed by the graphics.

User Created Content

  • While most new FPS games have outrageous minimum system requirements, especially for video cards (at least 128MB, Texture & Lightning required), the Doom III engine is, despite the hefty overall requirements, quite scalable. Some users have developed a small patch that makes the game compatible with the Voodoo 2 card, among others in the Voodoo line. These are some of the very first 3D cards and they often do not carry more than 12MB. The game does not look better than Quake II with such setup, but it still is a fine piece of programming.
  • Within approximately 1 day of release, there was already a game modification which added a light to the pistol. In the game itself, players must swap between the flashlight and a gun.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2005 (Issue #249) – Best Sound of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – Special Achievement in Graphics Award (together with Far Cry)
    • 2005 – #5 Xbox Game of the Year
    • 2012 – #7 Top PC Gaming Intro
  • Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility
    • 2004 - one of the Top 10 Worst Violent Video Games of 2004
  • Golden Joystick Awards
    • 2004 - PC Game of the Year
    • 2004 - Ultimate Game of the Year
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2005 - #4 Biggest Disappointment

Information also contributed by AHO, bobthewookiee, Hamish Wilson, Karthik KANE, lasttoblame, lvnvgmb, M4R14N0 Maw, piltdown man, Pseudo_Intellectual, Sciere, Silverblade, Steve ., Tiago Jacques, Xoleras, Zack Green and Zovni.

Related Games

Doom³: Resurrection of Evil
Released 2005 on Windows, Linux, Xbox
Released 1993 on DOS, Linux, 1995 on Windows...
Final Doom
Released 1996 on DOS, Windows, Macintosh
Doom II
Released 1994 on DOS, 1995 on Windows, 2002 on Game Boy Advance...
Doom³: BFG Edition
Released 2012 on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Doom³: VR Edition
Released 2021 on PlayStation 4
Eraser: Turnabout
Released 1997 on Windows
Breath of Fire III
Released 1997 on PlayStation, Windows, 2005 on PSP

Related Sites +

  • A Guide for Beginners
    IMG's introduction to playing Doom 3.
  • Doom 3
    Official website
  • Doom 3
    Official game page on id Software's website
  • Doom 3 HQ
    A well-rounded Doom 3 fansite, with custom levels, game info and a forum.
  • Doom 3 Portal
    Comprehensive fansite for all things Doom 3 from fan art and fiction to a mod index.
  • Doom 3 on Win98
    A quick and easy to follow tutorial on running Doom 3 on Windows 98
  • Doom Wiki
    A Wiki site for the Doom series.
  • Doomworld
    Website with classic Doom and Doom 3 news and forums.
  • Hints for Doom 3
    Question and answer type solution guide gives you nudges in the right direction before revealing the final solutions.
  • Lord FlatHead's Homepage
    Hasn't been updated since Doom 3's release, but contains a lot of interesting articles about the technology behind Doom 3 and some speculation.
  • Once More into the Inferno
    An Apple Games article about the Mac version of <em>DOOM³</em> (February, 2005).
  • PlanetDoom
    GameSpy's Doom Website

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Lexicon Dominus.

Macintosh added by Corn Popper. Xbox added by Sciere. Linux added by Iggi.

Additional contributors: James1, Unicorn Lynx, Lord FlatHead, Jeanne, Michael Dionne, Guy Chapman, Sciere, Jack Lightbeard, Silverblade, Maw, xy xy, Zeppin, Cantillon, lee jun ho, Patrick Bregger, Titan10, FatherJack.

Game added August 9th, 2004. Last modified September 17th, 2023.