The first half an hour of play sets the mood very well - excitement levels are raised as everything goes to hell (literally) around you and your former co-workers spring back into life, intent on killing you; moody lighting warps into brooding darkness and the player will be expected to explore through pitch darkness with nothing but a torch which can only be wielded by holstering his gun. Enemies spring unsuspectingly from every direction, further heightening your suspense and anticipation.
There is little variety in the gameplay but what did you expect from a remake of Doom? While Half Life had the player fighting, it also wanted them to do a spot of puzzle solving and to navigate the environment. Doom 3 doesn't care so much about the other stuff - the vast majority of your time will be spent simply blasting things back to Hades. There will be some moments where you are presented with a minor non-combat related challenge, but to call them challenging would be generous. Most of the time, when you're not shooting things, you're picking up the PDA's belonging the staff of the facility, studying them for details of their previous owners and their fates, retrieving codes for ammo lockers or updating your security clearance so you can progress through that locked door (in other words, the coloured key cards from the original Doom). These can be entertaining asides from the real meat of the game (and can at times be quite haunting) and go a long way to creating the games incredible atmosphere, but for some they might sit at an incongruous angle to the rest of the game; slow in pace, compared to the adrenaline that constitutes 90% of proceedings. The plot too proves to be engaging enough, when it decides to stick around for a while, although is unlikely to convince cynics.
'Unlike Black Mesa, the UAC facility feels like a series of very similar looking levels'
Fortunately for Doom 3 then, the combat can be totally engrossing. It can, however, at times, also be hugely frustrating, particularly when you are surrounded by enemies who can savage you in seconds, or when fighting some of the game's boss creatures, and the weapons on offer aren't the sleekest looking of their respective types ever seen. Despite this though, blowing things up has never felt so good in a first person shooter and through sheer virtue of addictive combat, Doom 3 proves itself to be one of the most addictive shooters in recent history. The game features a plethora of familiar looking armaments, ranging from the good old shotgun and machine gun to more powerful offerings such as the plasma rifle and rocket launcher (and not forgetting the often satisfying chainsaw). It also gives the player access to power-ups, such as the berserk, which turns the player into a raging hulk of flailing fists. In the modern realm of games, where the emphasis is on being something closer to human, it's nice to be an unstoppable killing machine again. This is after all a game.
To truly feel how nerve racking the game can be you'd be best to avoid excessive use of the quick save function. Enemies teleport in front and behind unexpectedly, appear from hidden compartments and generally go out of their way to freak you out. Saving every few seconds makes the game a lot easier, but removes a huge chunk of fear from the game.
Sound is used to very great effect, whether it be the foreboding humming of the base, beastly grunts and screams or the ethereal threats of Dr Betruger. Set pieces, too, prove to break up the corridor blasting and door-unlocking by offering the player other tasks to take care of. There are a number of excellently devised sections where the player has to follow a small amount of light through a completely dark area of the base and the tension during these sections prove to be some of the highlight moments of the game. A few more moments like this would have helped remove a little of the tedium that sets in the further you get into the game; blasting hell beasts back home is a lot if fun, but a few more changes in pace would have been nice.