Not without some internal company conflict, id Software settled on developing a remake of Doom using the latest generation of technology available at the time and thus Doom 3 took on an entirely different look than its predecessors. Losing the cartoon like graphics, it resembles more what modern action games morphed into with realistic looking characters and environments. In fact, if you've played Dead Space, you will see that it was probably based on a Doom 3 premise and that the basic story is quite similar. With the recent release of Doom 3 BFG, I had an urge to revisit this old-school FPS and fired up the original.
UAC (Union Aerospace Corporation) is a civilian company with a large facility based on Mars. They conduct various hi-tech research into teleportation, biological and advanced weapons design. Mars City is home to a fair-sized population and secured by a military presence. The game begins with our nameless marine arriving on Mars as part of a group of reinforcements requested by UAC. Once there and checked in with Mission HQ, you are assigned to find a scientist who has not returned from a research expedition. During your investigation, evidence begins to emerge that something is not quite right and that personnel have regularly been disappearing or suddenly experiencing inexplicable psychotic episodes. Shortly thereafter all hell breaks loose within the entire complex and strange monsters are teleporting in and killing everyone in sight. Through your communications link, your commander orders all marines to retreat to Mission HQ. However, when that proves impossible due to area blockages, you are directed to link up with a pocket of troops who need help in a different area. On your way to said goal, you are constantly ambushed by these alien creatures making various assigned tasks all the more dangerous.
As the game progresses, the story deepens and you discover that UAC has been working on an advanced teleportation device. In a secret section of the complex, scientists have discovered a portal to an extra dimension dubbed Hell and traveling there has netted several mysterious artifacts. One in particular, called the soul cube, is believed to be some kind of powerful weapon and the head of the research facility, Bertruger, has decided to seize this power for himself. Fully convinced that he can control these alien forces, his aim is to open this dimension and allow the alien creatures to infect the Earth.
A heavily used device in this game is darkness. Although you are equipped with a flashlight, you can't equip your gun at the same time. The result is that you are often blind to sudden danger and can't see where you're shooting. This was changed in the recently released BFG edition. There's lots of the surprise element as well, with creatures spawning from behind and jumping out of hidden closets with never a dull moment. However, if you survive the onslaught, you can usually find health and armor readily, so be sure to check those dark corners and under stairwells and catwalks.
Although the game is fairly linear, the Mars facility is huge and between level changes you can go back for health you may not have needed at the time. The environmental graphics hold up well and are extremely detailed and never sparse. Picking up personnel PDAs that are lying around will give you more of the background story as well as codes for storage lockers with supplies. Data Disks will fill you in on the experimental equipment the UAC has been working on pertaining to the section you're currently in.
Weapons are typical of FPS and there is no weight restriction, so you can carry all of them. Controls are lean and the graphics acceptable for the age of this game. One thing I don't like is that during attacks vision can be totally obscured through special effects like blurring and a red miasma. You also tend to get caught on environmental objects so that you can't move freely and dodge incoming attacks and fire. Your character with his armor takes up more space than you think and you have to stay well clear of structural objects. Some enemies also have uncanny aim and when you are hit, your character is physically impacted and thrown around even when behind cover, thus making it hard to aim and return fire.
There are several types of enemies, roughly divided into two types; possessed humans that act like zombies and actual demons. There are also a few boss fights with the last being fairly easy to dispatch in combination with the soul cube. There are harder segments to play before getting to that point. As you progress, new enemy characteristics are added to the mix even though they pretty much tend to behave in a repetitive manner.
One thing you can't complain about is getting your money's worth. This game is very long and just when you think you are almost done, you aren't. Welcome to Hell !
Although I don't own Doom BFG, the general consensus seems to be that the original is better due to an already existing large community of users and mod support. However, the new edition comes with some goodies including the expansion pack, Resurrection of Evil, a new single player expansion, the Lost Mission, and copies of the original Ultimate Doom with Thy Flesh Consumed, and Doom 2 with a new episode called No Rest For The Living. Doom 3 BFG also requires a Steam account to play.
On a side note, in the original version of the game, you will run across two lockers from the oft referenced Martianbuddy.com. These require a different kind of code to open and at the time there actually was a web site you could visit to get this code. However, that site does not exist anymore, so the code is 0508.UPDATE Oct 2015: Doom 4 is scheduled to be launched sometime in 2016.