So, Doom is 25-years old. Yes, it’s been that long. Less old (?) is Doom 3, a creepy corridor shooter with arcade roots and superior atmosphere. Re-released as the BFG Edition last week on 360 and PS3, the game is retooled slightly with new textures and tweaked lighting. It’s nothing fancy, although a strong case for id’s technical superiority. In many ways, Doom 3 hasn’t visually aged at all.
In multiplayer? Things change. Doom 3 is predominantly a PC titles; that’s where it began after all. Stuck in a world of analog sticks, Doom 3 is in trouble. The game collapses under the weight of its speed. In many ways, so do the Quake releases and Unreal titles. They simply cannot connect in the realm of consoles without tweaks, and in the case of BFG, they were never made.
Sometimes these games click. I remember Unreal Tournament on the Dreamcast fondly, even without a second analog stick. Memories and nostalgia may shroud certain experiences in the current, but UT showed some affection for Sega’s little white box that could. The best part? Not much was lost, and shockingly, the game supported the proprietary keyboard/mouse combo. It can be done. The same went for the Dreamcast’s Quake III Arena port, although a lack of personal affection for the universe put a damper on that one personally.
On the 360, only one of those options exist, so it begs the question of how it was done prior with the option for both controller/keyboard configurations, and how those design ideals having been lost. BFG Edition is a budget effort at $40 – still shocking to imagine a $40 game being a budget entry – so maybe that plays a role. Why tweak something that merely qualifies as a budget release? But, in an era of bloated multiplayer experiences with leveling, loadouts, and whatever else marketing deems necessary, Doom 3 is a nice throwback. Four modes, casual rocket launchers, speed, and tightly contested maps. At their core, that’s still what modern shooters are about. It’s a shame they didn’t land that experience on home consoles.