Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil - Overview
Gear up for another trip to Mars in the expansion to last year's blockbuster action game.
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We begin 2005 just as we began 2004: in anticipation of a Doom 3 title. Only this time, we're waiting on Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, the expansion pack to last year's blockbuster first-person shooter. The ending of Doom 3 certainly left an opening for an expansion. Though you defeated the demonic invasion from another dimension, Betruger, your main foe, was nowhere to be found. That's no accident, as id and developer Nerve Software began work on Resurrection of Evil while Doom 3 was being completed. We were able to find out what this continuation in the Doom 3 saga had to offer, as we got the lowdown from the folks from id Software themselves.
Resurrection of Evil picks up approximately two years after the events of Doom 3. You'll once again play as an unnamed character, though it won't be the same marine from Doom 3. In the expansion, you're a combat engineer dispatched to Mars to investigate a mysterious signal. According to the story (which will be explained in the expansion's introduction), the Union Aerospace Corporation abandoned its facilities on Mars after the demonic invasion was thwarted. However, the UAC kept those events secret, thanks to a cover story about a disastrous industrial accident. Since then, no human has approached Mars, but a network of satellites was left in orbit to monitor the situation on the planet. When the strange signal is detected, you and a heavily armed team of soldiers and scientists are dispatched to investigate. Along for the trip is Doctor Elizabeth McNeil, who was one of the notable characters from Doom 3, even though we never met her. McNeil is an expert on the alien civilization, but her warnings about tampering with the alien artifacts were ignored by the UAC brass. She managed to get off of Mars in time, and you still managed to learn of her by reading her notes as well as even rummaging through her office. In Resurrection of Evil, McNeil takes the role of Sarge from the original game. She's the character who will communicate with you over your radio, guiding you where to go and what to do next.
Despite the fact that the setup has you going to Mars with such a formidable group, in true Doom fashion you'll find yourself alone and in the dark once again. Only this time, the dark won't be quite so dark. In perhaps a concession to the countless gripes about not being able to wield a flashlight and a gun at the same time in Doom 3, your environmental suit in Resurrection of Evil will now have a flashlight built into the helmet, so you can see what you're shooting at now. Meanwhile, the Mars that you'll explore will be quite different from the one you saw in the original game. The strange signal detected from space emanates from Site 1, which was alluded to throughout Doom 3 but never seen. Site 1 was where the initial excavation to the alien civilization took place. This means you'll start the expansion by exploring more-cavernous environments than the claustrophobic base levels found previously. And while you'll be on your own, you'll once again encounter other characters, such as scientists, along your way. You'll also be able to piece together the story by picking up PDAs and listening to voice messages like you did in the first game.
The expansion will also introduce at least three new weapons, the first of which is the oft-requested double-barrel shotgun that played a prominent part in the first Doom games. The other is being termed the Ionized Levitation Weapon, otherwise known as the "grabber gun," which has more than a passing resemblance to Half-Life 2's gravity gun. The grabber gun will take advantage of Doom 3's physics engine by allowing you to pick up and manipulate objects. It will also have combat applications where you can capture incoming fireballs and rocket warheads and redirect them away from you. And while Doom 3 featured the soul cube, Resurrection of Evil will feature the relic, a weapon forged in hell with a special purpose. The relic can absorb the powers of various bosses in the game, allowing you to use them once the relic charges up. These powers include hell time (which works like bullet time from The Matrix), berserker, and invulnerability. According to id, the relic will allow you to determine the gameplay experience, depending on which power you choose to use in certain situations. You'll be able to use your new toys against a variety of new monsters, including the hunters, the vulgar, and the bruiser, which features twin cannons for its arms.
In terms of length, id estimates that the single-player campaign will run about half the length of Doom 3, which itself was a relatively lengthy game for a shooter. While the single-player campaign is the core of Resurrection of Evil, there's also a bit more attention being paid to the multiplayer component. In addition to new maps, there's a new capture-the-flag mode developed by ThreeWave Software, a group long known for its multiplayer mods for the Quake games. Meanwhile, existing modes such as deathmatch and team deathmatch return. The official player limit is now eight, though id acknowledges that there are downloadable mods that increase the number of players allowed in a multiplayer game. In terms of graphics, Resurrection of Evil will feature a few tweaks, but considering that Doom 3 was already on the cutting edge of graphical technology, id says that there aren't that many improvements to be had in the expansion.
The expansion is being developed by Nerve in close cooperation with id. In fact, the two companies are just down the street from one another. Nerve previously worked on Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War for the Xbox, and it also cooperated on the popular multiplayer component for the PC version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Work on the Doom expansion has progressed quite a bit, and the end is certainly in sight. However, as with all things id, the expansion will be finished when it's finished. That said, we should see it ship sometime in the first half of this year.