“Classic Doom 3” review

by on Feb.25, 2010, under PC Mod Reviews

Game: Classic Doom 3 Mod
Developer: Classic Doom 3 Team
Files: Mod installer can be obtained from FileFront.

We take a look at Classic Doom 3, the Doom 3 mod that recreates Episode 1 of the original game from the early 90’s that propelled iD Software into mainstream PC gaming.

In today’s FPS marketplace, the ability to create your own content or “mod” a game is just as important to developers as the game itself. Fans spend an exorbitant amount of time, adding new content, levels and assets to their favourite title and some of the work available is of an incredibly high standard, matching commercial software in quality. Stepping into the ring today is Classic Doom 3, a faithfully accurate recreation of the original shareware Episode from iD Software’s 1993 release of Doom. Unsurprisingly, the development team chose iD Software’s 2004 Doom 3 shooter (which is itself a reimagining of the original game) as the platform upon which to render their vision.
Let’s be quite clear about this: Classic Doom 3 is as close to an exact port of the original Doom as you’ll probably ever see. The map layout’s and monster placement are almost exactly where they were fourteen years ago; the only noticeable differences are the improved texture, model and audio assets, as well as a pair of game engine introduction and conclusion cut scenes. Of course, the critters have acquired a bit of muscle tone over the years and they now move a lot quicker than they used to. The improved lighting effects of the Doom 3 engine have also been leveraged with the now gloomier environments increasing player adrenaline levels considerably (assuming you’ve forgotten where the monster placements are in each level, of course.)

Most of the bugs normally found within third-party mods appear to have been thoroughly stomped upon, however there are a couple of noticeable technical glitches that may affect your game. A number of “crash to desktop” events plagued my play through, even with every other program and applet disabled on my PC. Unfortunately, these invariably related to corrupted save games, which forced me to spend a lot of time replaying some of the levels. There was also the persistent issue of the game freezing when using the chain-gun, especially during the E1M5 level when a lot of monsters were on-screen. The end result was a full allotment of bullets in my inventory at the end of the game and a rather unused and untarnished chain-gun in my backpack.

Using the Doom 3 engine for anything is an exercise in finger-crossing at the best of times, as this behemoth is incredibly resource hungry. Classic Doom 3 has the same long load times and resource usage as the original which kind of necessitates that you own a thumping new machine to play either game satisfactorily. One could argue that if you’re willing to pay $2000 plus for a new PC, you’re probably going to want to play something a bit more current than a new version of Doom. Of course, as you need Doom 3 to play the mod, you’ve already made that decision ipso facto. The endless monster closets, booby-trapped power-ups and set-piece battles weighted against you are all present in their glory. Indeed, if you didn’t know any better you would probably think you were playing any of the Doom games or expansions ever released.

As an exercise in faithful reproduction of a landmark FPS, Classic Doom 3 is a remarkable accomplishment and a prime example of how a bunch of individuals scattered across the globe can complete projects of this scale. It’s a pity that the obviously talented team didn’t consider directing their efforts towards some other original or unique endeavour, rather than a Doom rehash that probably took longer to develop than the original game! The mod will hold some level of fascination for younger gamers who never experienced Doom as well as those of us wishing to reminisce over “the good ol’ days.” Everyone else will probably be happy to pass this one over for other gaming fodder.

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