Doom3 BFG Edition – is this the Biggest Friggin’ Game in the Doom franchise?

 

Last week in Australia, our shores were graced by the arrival of no, not more ‘boat people’, but by Doom3 BFG Edition, which comes equipped with the original Doom, Doom2, Doom3, the mission pack, Doom3 Resurrection of Evil, and a new campaign consisting of eight levels titled ‘the Lost Mission’.

Doom3 in itself was a terrific action shooter that went out of its way to make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, and boy did it succeed! The high definition reboot of the action classic is graphically sublime, and cannot be faulted in any way with the seemingly stupendous visuals that it throws at you in every frame. The in game movies have been beefed up along with the general gaming experience to fully immerse you within a realm that has been graphically redefined.

The monsters look absolutely terrific, and some, especially the Pinky Demon seem especially grotesque in their appearance.

The sound is in your face, exploding out from the speakers with an unrelenting fury as it envelops everything within the vicinity.

Moreover, the game itself has not been changed, so gamers will be able to expect all that they once endured and suffered at the hands of Hell’s demon spawn to once again suffer some more.

Suffering is the right term though for those of you who think I have lost my mind. Playing the game on Veteran – I had forgotten just how difficult it could be. It is easy though – as long as you don’t get hit by anything. After a couple hits you’ll find your character lying on the ground with his legs and arms in the air, so you need to be extra vigilant whilst exploring the UAC Mars Facility for the enemy can come from everywhere and anywhere.

There is also the fact that id decides to teleport in a demon or too into a room if you fail to leave in an unspecified time frame, or you decide to begin retracing your steps in an attempt to find some health or are looking for the cabinet that wouldn’t open before because you failed to have the right combination.

However, one will not suffer at the hands of the boss monsters. As one will recall, the boss creatures from the Doom games are never that complicated – all you require is ammo – you can never have too much of it. From the original Doom, in which you blasted the Spider Mastermind a couple times with the BFG to make ‘im blow up till now, the bosses of Doom have never offered the worst challenge imaginable, and most of them (minus the guy at the end of Resurrection of Evil, unless you have the strategy down) will be taken out on your first attempt.

The multiplayer experience moreover for those enjoying the game on console is strictly for online multiplayer, so don’t expect to go round fragging your friends in a split screen game.

However, id compensate for this by allowing the original 2 Doom games to come equipped with such a function.

Yes, Doom and Doom2 can be played on all platforms now, which is really impressive, although don’t go expecting the graphics to be any better than they once were. Hailed as the greatest graphics ever conceived back between 1993-95 when the games were originally launched, now they seem rather obtuse in comparison to games of today, but the fun they will provide has not at all been extinguished. What’s more, both the Doom games come equipped with all of the add on packs that were conceived, so for Doom you have all four original terrifying episodes, and for Doom2 you are granted the ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ game as well.

What is a little upsetting for the biggest Doom fans might be the fact that Evilutions (which wasn’t exactly the best Doom game ever) and the Plutonia Experiment (or, as I like to call it, the hardest Doom game ever – people may remember a secret level filled with Cyber Demons!) are not included in this limited edition reboot.

However, as previously mentioned, the multiplayer is capable of allowing gamers who experience BFG Edition on console the ability to either play the campaigns co-operatively or in a death match via split screen. Massive Doom gamers will no doubt remember the fun that Doom multiplayer provided back in the day – I mean, it was what, the first ever game that allowed people this opportunity?! That fun has returned and is exceptional!

It feels incredibly fun to once again blast your enemies away in these original Doom conceptions, although at the same time the music and the sound of all the items respawning is no doubt capable of making your brain turn to juice as you slowly but surely lose your mind.

I guess the only negative feature of the original games is the weapons – the keys to select which one you wish to use are incredibly fiddly and never will you properly get used to them, which becomes especially annoying during a massive fire fight. If that’s not enough, not all of the weapons are in the order they once were on PC all those years ago – you would expect the Super Shotgun to come after the Shotgun? Nope, it comes in as one of the last weapons.

However, do not let this little addendum cause you dismay; the original games are just as fun as ever before!

Moving back to the Doom3 series, although Doom3 in itself looks fantastic (although once or twice you can see something’s a little off but that happens in all games), when it comes to Doom3 Resurrection of Evil you can clearly see a difference when you start to play – it is as though whoever was involved in rebooting this particular campaign into high definition lost their passion after being involved rebooting its predecessor.

The graphics in game do not look quite as beautiful, and the cinematics – they have not even been changed. These parts of the game, of which there are quite a few mind you, look exactly as they did back in 2005, which isn’t all that bad – but when you compare it to Doom3 you can clearly see the graphical differences and feel a slight ping of disappointment.

Again, when playing Doom3 and its sequel the keys to switch the weapons can be a little annoying, but less so in these particular games than they are in the originals. Upon acquiring the special artefacts found in either game, these can be accessed just by pressing the left button on the D-pad, although it is annoying when the game fails to register your pressing need for the artefacts and so decides against giving them to you – often resulting in a rather unpleasant death.

As for ‘the Lost Mission’ and the eight ‘levels’ of entertainment that such a campaign provides – I’m sorry, but I have to ask – what’s the point? This particular campaign will take you less than two hours to complete on Veteran difficulty, and the supposed ‘levels’ (hence the reason why I put such a word in quotation marks before) are incredibly minuscule – in fact to even call them levels is a downright insult to the levels in the other Doom3 games which are by far larger in size than what you shall experience in this campaign.

In this new campaign you find yourself in the shoes of a member of Bravo team after this small militarian group were attacked by ravenous demons in the Empro Plant. Waking up to find you only have half your health left, if you are anything like me, you begin by thinking ‘what’s the point?’ (as previously stated).

In Doom3 and the sequel, the games both focused on you bringing a stopper to the invasions that had taken over the base. The objective, as you will find later on in the second level, is as follows; a scientist is in need of your assistance. Believing himself to be the only person who has survived the invasion, he needs you to be a good boy and go into what he calls ‘the other realm’ (why can’t he just call it Hell?) and switch off a teleportation system there that is still online and linked to the UAC Mars Facility. Worse still, the demons could use it as a means to travel directly to Earth! Good times!

Much of what you shall find in these eight levels look to be rehashed from the Doom3 experience. Segments in the Empro Plant and the Mars City Underground will leave you with great feelings of déjà vu, and the secret ‘Exis Labs’ that is supposed to be capable of bettering the Delta Complex upon completion looks exactly on several occasions like sections of the Delta Complex that it is supposed to be bettering!

A couple sections in the game are new, including running around, trying to hopelessly find the code to the cabinet with the double barrelled shotgun in it; fighting a couple of the enemies that appeared in the mission pack; the updated looking teleportation units, which look considerably impressive mind you, and at one point using the ‘Grabber’ to send energy from one pylon to another (think Portal, but less challenging).

When you eventually do find yourself in the midst of the ominous ‘other realm’, this I have to say does look very different from previous experiences in the Doom3 games – if anything, it looks a lot like Hell did back in the original Dooms, which classic fans will no doubt be impressed by. The final boss is nothing special though, but the big bastard will have you on your toes on a few occasions, but as long as you run and gun you will eventually prevail with very little injury on your first attempt.

All three campaigns for Doom3 furthermore will take you less than ten hours to complete on Veteran, however, don’t do what I did and play them all one after the other in a row, else you might find that you suddenly become Doom3’d out!

Long story short – you simply must buy Doom3 BFG Edition as to partake in the HD Doom3 campaign. The multiplayer aspect in the original Doom games is an additional reason to add this game to your collection, whilst the rest of the Doom experience seems a lot more like random bits and pieces that will mildly entertain you if you have nothing better to do.

All in all, a quick little appetiser to entice you for Doom4, which is supposed to come out on the 31st of December this year, but who knows? What can be said about id is that their games are always long awaited and very fun, with no bugs to speak of. However, never have they been really good at keeping to their schedules, i.e. Doom3 – meant to come out August 2004, then September and then October, and then eventually came out mid 2004. And don’t even get me started on Rage!

In summary:
8/10

-Doom3 graphics are sublime

-Doom3 cinematics are beautifully articulated

-Doom and Doom2 multiplayer is fun

-Doom and Doom2 graphics remain unchanged

-Doom3 Resurrection of Evil graphics seem less than exceptional in comparison to Doom3

-Doom3 ‘the Lost Mission’ seems pointless and trivial, yet flawlessly presented graphically

-Doom3 multiplayer strictly online

-Switching weapons is a lot like putting a red hot iron down your trousers – it’s a risky business

-Many levels, but rather short in all

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Prometheus Review and 3D Effects

 

You know when you see a film and you just wanna talk about it? Well, that’s what I intend to do here. It was only yesterday that Prometheus came out in OZ, and it was today that I saw it at the cinema. I’m not too sure when it was released elsewhere in the world, but it often seems that Australia gets everything last, so for all I know it was released in the States ten years ago and we are only seeing it now. I mean, we only just received ‘Justified’ and in the States it’s up to season five? WTH!

Anyway, the review – Prometheus in Oz only came with an ‘M’ rating, probably due to the fact that there really isn’t very much blood. But that is not to say the film is not disturbing, cuz such would not be true. As a prequel to the ‘Alien’ franchise, Prometheus goes out of its way to change things up for its audience by presenting themes on the dawn of life, the creation of the alien species and that of humanity, and one has to admit that it is pretty interesting what the writers have done in this respect.

What the Alien franchise did however, apart from emphasising how if you want a good alien feature the creatures need to be dark, disturbing and really pissed off, is prove that women make pretty awesome protagonists. I remember in 2003, an entertainment magazine of sorts had a survey of which action hero would most people like to have come to their aid; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel or Bruce Willis, and the end result came back Sigourney Weaver, which I think proves my point.

Prometheus does this again with Noomi Rapace who plays Elizabeth Shaw, the lead scientist on the expedition who basically got the whole thing underway with her words after convincing Mr. Weyland to go through with the mission and fork in all the money required for it. However, who would have known that Ms. Rapce was actually very beautiful when she doesn’t have all that shit in her face required for her role as Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series? I sure didn’t.

Like may female protagonists, Shaw uses her intellect to successfully navigate through the problems that occur, not being the stereotypical action man dragon slayer, which just goes to show how men are the action heroes cuz they go blasting into everything without thinking, whilst the women hang back and think it through before taking out their opponent with brains rather than balls. As a character, Shaw is a scientist as mentioned, but is grounded by her religious beliefs, and her faith has kept her going and motivated her to excel, which is a continued theme throughout.

The one character however that will probably intrigue you the most is the robot. Introduced at the start, he is quite the complex character, explaining how he has no emotions and does not care, but seems to contradict this by ensuring mission success of all that he is programmed to accomplish and using a rather darkened tone when emphasising certain ideas, often insulting those who he communicates with, before subtlety apologising, but doing so in a way that clearly states how he couldn’t care less. The most intriguing thing about his character however are his loyalties, and where they lie exactly; over the course of the feature he keeps switching positions from a character of whom is neutral, to a protagonist and then to an antagonist, before switching back to  a neutral one once more.

Additionally the film has a number of characters, this being introduced at the start with the mission computer expressing how there are eighteen passengers on board the vessel, which from the very start you can just tell means the writers have plenty of cast they can kill off, which they certainly go to town on as the film progresses. Safe to say, not everyone is going to live to see the conclusion. This is quite funny though, for most of the crew have a PhD in something or another, and yet one has to wonder why in films, even the smartest of characters still feel the need to bait an alien rather playfully as though they are an innocent child – even though they look like they are gonna truly screw the scientist over in the next few seconds which they always do. I will say this about the death scenes – when the creators of Prometheus kill someone, they REALLY kill them. People are gonna get burnt, blown up, melted, turned into alien monsters and have pieces of their bodies sliced and diced. Yes, good times.

On top of this, the film can be quite predictable, but not annoyingly so, for even if you know what is going to happen, it is either accomplished in such a disturbing, heart racing or exciting manner that it still captures your attention no matter what.

This is one thing the film does best – keep your attention, for even though the film goes crazy somewhere between half way to two thirds through the feature, it still mangers to keep you vested in watching it. The film has a lot of talking scenes and numerous explorations of science and religion, which do not clash as you might imagine, but seem to work harmoniously throughout the feature. Although these scenes are pertinent to the story, one sometimes has to wonder what Prometheus is – is it a science fiction feature, or a horror? Either way, the film seems to do a pretty good job at both.

Moreover, the special effects are absolutely out of this world awesome which will add to the attention grabbing properties of the film, however the amount of times you see aliens are quite infrequent, with the primary ones being humanoids. I am however not giving anything away by saying this because the opening of the feature introduces one of them to the character right before it commits suicide. They are quite human looking, with the difference that they are entirely bald and look as though there isn’t very much going on behind their jet black eyes, with huge muscular bodies, looking like they are part of a militarian race who believe that clothing either consists primarily of their birthday suits and metallic instruments. There are a couple additional scenes with face huggers, not the ones from the original franchise but ones that are incredibly different which just goes to show the audience the long line of evolution between 2094, when the film is set, and when the next one is almost, what, a century later?

The previous films seemed to be set quite a lot around breeding, I mean, the face huggers have that elongated sexual organ that they plunge into a human’s orifice to inject them with the next part of the evolutionary cycle? That is continued in this feature, in more ways than one, but rather loosely, with alien DNA being the primary bad guy rather than alien organisms.

The one thing about the film that was quite appalling were the 3D effects. Now, I don’t know if it was just the film, or the cinema I saw it in (Hoyts Xtremescreen, which according to the ad has better screen, sound and seating than all other venues and has the tendency to blow people right out of the cinema due to the quality). Okay, so a couple times a few particles came out, and closer towards the end when Shaw was running she came out of the screen, and I admit I was a little disappointed when she didn’t just fall straight into my lap, and the ‘depth’ wasn’t much to speak of either.

Yes, depth? What is depth? It seems that nowadays, depth is the new iconic 3D, and I would like to know what genius came up with that idea. I remember back in 1999, I saw a film at IMAX, where a group of archeologists dug up a Tyrannosaur skeleton, and throughout the film there were continuous 3D effects – rocks falling off a cliff and directly into your face. The egg they found cracking open, and the Tyrannosaur suddenly growing flesh in one’s mind and coming down to bite them, its face basically coming out an inch away from my nose. My point? Those days are gone, and 3D has been replaced with this pathetic excuse for imagery that is as 3D as an image a 2 year old could draw on a piece of paper.

I can only hope that 3D effects in the future become better than they are now and actually decide to come out at you. In fact, the most 3D thing about the film, was not the film at all, but the trailer for the upcoming Katy Perry behind the scenes feature, where glitter and beach balls came flying out of the screen, even Ms. Perry herself at one time jumping out and saying ‘hi!’

One thing that Prometheus will do is have you second guessing every jet black drink you will ever digest from this moment on. All in all, I give the film a 3.5 out of 5, or a 7 out of 10. I would see it again when it comes out on BluRay, but I probably would not make it a habit of watching it every night, or once a week for that matter.