Doom III E3 2003 Preshow Report

The follow-up to id's classic first-person shooter is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated games of the year.


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After the splash it made at last year's E3, Doom III might not need much introduction. The PC first-person action game from id Software reprises the hellish, zombie-filled setting of Doom, the game that single-handedly defined a genre after its shareware release in late 1993. While Doom III admittedly won't offer much in the way of a deep story, it will be a very atmospheric game, all the more so because of its advanced graphics engine designed from the ground up to produce dramatic dynamic shadows. The word heard most often when id developers discuss their own experience playing the game is "scared."

Be ready for moments of pure fear in Doom III. Your character's movement is slower than in previous run-and-gun games from id, and while the zombies are even slower, don't expect to just run away. You may find yourself counting the rounds in even the more basic weapons, and while there are incredibly powerful weapons to find, just the shotgun may take care of most jobs and stop some big targets. While the high-fidelity visuals may get the most attention, there are other technical features that will enhance the creepy, cinematic atmosphere, like the rag-doll animation. A zombie can take a shotgun spread in the chest and fly backward through a window, clear into the next room. And not only will the enemies look mean, but they'll sound pretty menacing too, particularly in the game's 5.1 surround sound.

Expectations for Doom III are running high--particularly now that it's been confirmed for the Xbox--and the pressure is on id's 18-person development team to finish the game this year. As a result of that tough schedule, a playable or real-time demo of the game is not expected at this year's E3, and instead we'll have to glean what we can from a new trailer for the game. But then again, we wouldn't want to spoil all the surprises in store for us when we finally get our hands on the game, which is due out late this year for the PC and sometime after that for the Xbox.

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