Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is the expansion pack for Doom 3, which was released on the Xbox six months ago. That, in turn, was a port of the PC original, which was a classy first-person shooter from id Software that features some pretty amazing visuals to go along with its cut-to-the-chase shooting action. The expansion doesn't stray too far from the action of the original, but the new levels, new weapons, and increased focus on action make "more of the same" a fun little adventure.
ROE picks up the Doom 3 storyline two years after the conclusion of the previous game, and once again the story opens on the planet Mars. During a search for some sort of beacon signal deep within one of the planet's archaeological dig sites, a team of marines discovers a hidden chamber that contains a mysterious artifact. One marine touches it, setting off a chain reaction that wipes out the rest of his team and, as luck would have it, repaves the way for demons to transport from hell to Mars. You, as this new, nameless marine, then have to seek out some items that will help make sense of this new artifact and hopefully send it back to where it came from and seal the portals linking hell and the red planet.
You'll accomplish your goals by having a steady aim with a shotgun and by collecting and replacing a whole lot of power cells--basically keys--which you'll use to juice up various machines, doors, and more. The general flow of Doom 3 is intact here. You'll enter a new room, watch in horror as a few enemies appear, blast them with a variety of weaponry, and move on. That variety of weaponry is mostly pulled directly from Doom 3. You'll see the shotgun, machine gun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma gun, and BFG9000, for example. Doom 3 sticks to the same additional-weapon blueprint used to create Doom II, so you can now acquire a double-barreled shotgun that's good at ripping apart anything that gets close to you, but it's also very slow to reload.
Doom 3 gave you a flashlight, but you couldn't use the flashlight and a weapon at the same time, which got to be a little frustrating. ROE replaces the flashlight with a pistol that has a light on it. While this is a handy addition at first, the pistol is so weak that you'll still use it the same way as the old flashlight and quickly switch to a real weapon as soon as you spot trouble. You'll also get a gravity gun, called the grabber, which is pretty much a shameless boost of a similar device found in Half-Life 2. The difference is that in addition to moving objects around, the grabber can snatch up balls of energy, like the ones fired at you by imps and other creatures. You can then fling the fireballs right back where they came from, making for a quick and ammo-conservation-minded victory. The grabber is fun for a little while, but it's only effective in open areas, of which the game has relatively few.
You'll also have that hellacious artifact in your possession, which has abilities all its own and upgrades itself to include three powers over the course of the game. Early on, you'll gain the ability to use "hell time," which is just a spooky way of saying "slow motion." When in this slower state, you still move and reload quickly, so you can dodge incoming attacks and shoot up your foes without breaking a sweat. Your weapons tend to be more damaging in hell time, giving you a distinct advantage. A little later on you'll earn an upgrade that gives you berserk power during hell time, which lets you kill most enemies with one punch. Near the end, hell time is upgraded again to make you invulnerable as well. The catch is that the artifact is fueled by the corpses of dead humans, which are plentiful and usually easy to find throughout the base. No proper burial for those poor bastards! Instead they're just fuel for your hell-powered killing machine. That's kind of messed up, when you think about it. We recommend you just don't think about it. Aside from that, the artifact definitely comes in handy during the game's tougher moments and makes for an interesting addition to the game.
ROE feels a little on the short side, which is par for the course when it comes to PC expansion packs. Here on the Xbox, though, it sort of sticks out. Dedicated players will be able to cruise through the game in six to eight hours without too much trouble. Trouble comes in the form of the game's boss fights, though only the last couple of those are a challenge. To add more value to the package, the developers have once again included the classic Doom games, which were previously available only in the collector's edition of Doom 3. With Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Doom II Master Levels available right from the get-go, there's a lot of classic first-person shooting to be done. These ports are all done pretty well, though moving your marine with the analog stick, yet not having much analog control over his movement and speed, sometimes feels a little strange. You can play these classic Doom games in split-screen mode with up to four players, either cooperatively or competitively.
Unfortunately, cooperative play is limited to the classic Doom games. The Xbox version of Doom 3 contained an exclusive cooperative mode that was a nice addition to the game. It's a shame that it isn't intact in ROE. As far as multiplayer goes, you can play with up to three other players via system link or over Xbox Live. The modes are all deathmatch variants, including a one-on-one tournament-style mode. The increased eight-player gameplay found on the PC is gone here, as is the capture-the-flag mode that was also introduced on the PC. While the game has scoreboards to make your deathmatches matter, ROE isn't a very good multiplayer game. But considering its $29.99 price tag, it's still a good value, overall.
The graphics are what make Doom 3 such an interesting game, and this expansion holds the line here quite well. The game still makes great use of lighting to create the dark, shadowy environments you'll be stomping through. Your trip to hell is also pretty fantastic. It's still among the best-looking games around, and the PC experience has been transferred to the Xbox mostly intact. Perhaps as a result of this, the game has frequent and significant load screens and load times. In fact, the first time you fire up the game, you're made to sit through all of the introductory video sequences, presumably because it's installing a pile of stuff to your Xbox hard drive. But even though it's storing stuff on the hard drive, little things like pausing or bringing up your PDA take a couple of seconds and get a bit stuttery. Overall, the game still looks quite amazing, especially if you're equipped to take advantage of its 480p support.
On the sound side, the use of ambient monster noise is really key in setting the overall mood. But it's when everything goes silent that you'll truly get worried, because as you'd rightfully suspect, that usually means there's trouble right on the other side of the next door. Good music, great sound effects, and handy use of the surround sound support make this a great-sounding game.
The adventure might not be quite as meaty as Doom 3's, but ROE does provide a very good ride for players looking to take another brief trip through Mars and hell. If Doom 3 left you wanting more, or if you want to play the classic Doom games on your Xbox, Resurrection of Evil is a good choice.