By Jimbo_N 4 Comments
Bought Doom Resurrection for 75 SEK today and here´s my initial thoughts on this Carmack pet project / Doom offshoot.
What it is and what it isnt
Doom Resurrection is NOT a port of Doom 3. It uses the Doom 3 engine (which really shows how scalable that engine is) and the game takes place on the same space station. But you´re a lone survivor of a marine squad on the base rather than a lone marine that has come to investigate the situation. He looks just like the guy from Doom 3 tho. The levels are new and not patched in from different parts of Doom 3, at least not so far anyway.
The engine was reprogammed by John Carmack and the game itself is developed by Escalation studios under the watching eye of Carmack himself.
It is around 70mb or so and installed without problems without the absolute latest update on my iPod touch.
The game is not a standard shooter however. It is a guided shooter or "on rails" shooter if you wish, with alot of added functionality both to the genre and to the device you play it on (the iPod Touch in my case).
So let me break it down for ya: You automatically walk through the enviroment, you have a virtual shoot button, a reload button, a cover/dodge button and a menu button on the screen. You tilt your device to steer the crosshair on screen and you touch items (healthpacks / ammo) in the 3D space with your finger to pick them up.
You are sometimes promped by visual cues to take cover from enemy fire or dodge an income projectile. The button in the lower left change to adapt to cover or incoming fireballs from imps.
On the whole its a very complete handheld shooter package that feels very adapted to the iPod / iPhone. When i´m playing I really feel how frustrating this MIGHT have been had it been done differently. Its designed very wisely to crank out the most fun while being accessable and easy to pick up. As long as you sit up that is.. I tried playing both lying down and sitting up and it seems the game dosent like you holding it in a lying down position. You want to sit straight up with the device horizontally aligned with a flat surface to get the most out of the controlscheme.
Presentation & Story
As I said the game uses the Doom 3 engine. It dosent look as crisp as Doom 3 of course but it still looks very crisp and clean for a 3D shooter on your small screen. Its pretty much what I first experienced back in the day when I didnt really have the computer to play Doom 3 when it came out but wanted to do so anyway. Its the D3 engine in low resolution, without most of the extra texturefilters, with low AA and very reduced decal and particle detail.
Where you to play this on a PC it would of course feel dated but this engine feels just right for a more hardcore experience on the iPhone in 2009.
Sound is very barebones. There isnt much ambient noice to speak of. One of the things that made Doom 3 one of the 10 best first person shooters ever made was its spectacular sound design. You can still hear som creepy noices here and there but overall the sound feels flat and to the point.
I have yet to encounter any music in the actual game but the main menu still rocks the same song that was rocking your socks off in Doom 3. Its a fantastic piece of heavy bass work, crushing riffs and unsettling Doom noices and the perfect mood setter every time you start the game up. It seems the song havent lost much in translation when it comes to soundquality either.
The game also starts the campaign (which has 4 difficulties) off with the same female voiceover work as in the beginning of Doom 3, explaining some of the things that went on with the Union Aerospace Corporation on Mars. But the story itself is very barebones and if you want the complete narrative package you really should play through Doom 3 first.
This is totally Doom. Its stripped down, barebones presentationwise and dosent really deliver much of an atmospheric experience. Buts its a kick ass shooter in your pocket. You can tell that careful designwork went into designing it for the iPhone platform. As long as you sit up it works great (the game autocalibrated to how you are holding the iPod/iPhone at the start of each map but it dosent seem to work very well) and the feeling you usually get while playing a guided shooter experience dosent really creep up on me, not so far anyway.
Its important to approach the game with the right mindset tho. This is a small petproject and a bit of an experiment and expectations should be on a handheld level. Do not expert Doom 4 here. The interest for John Carmacks enginework and pet projects should also be in the back of your head for maximum enjoyment here.
Its a neat distraction and a reason to go back to the UAC Mars station once again and you´ll be surprised how well it holds up once you force yourself to get into the controlscheme.
Also, just to wrap this all together with the genius himself, here´s a new video I just enjoyed listening to with John: