Okay gotta be honest: Doom 3 isn't scary. Aside from some predictable jumpscares the game is more tedious than scary...
I think probably LGR
' YouTube videos on Doom 3 capture my feelings about this game the best. I like it. I like it a lot actually. It knows exactly
what it is, exactly
what it's trying to do, and it executes on it almost
flawlessly. In much the same way as you could argue that Paul Verhoeven's original 1987 RoboCop was a perfect movie, you could argue that Doom 3 is a perfect game.
The problem is that the game ruins its fright factor by being excessively tedious, predictable, and downright annoying. I got to the point where I could predict monster ambushes just by seeing a Security Armour lying there right in the open. Oh, I have to backtrack now? Of course they'll spawn in some Imps...
The worst of it though are the cheap enemies and even cheaper enemy placement. I've lost track of how many times the game's thrown a rear admiral (e.g. spawning enemies right behind you) at me. I feel the shotgun is the best weapon to use against Imps and Maggots since I want to conserve assault rifle/chain gun ammo and plasma rounds, but since the RNG on its spread is so wild I have no idea if it's actually going to hit anything, much less kill it. Plus the whole lights-going-out-before-introducing-a-scary-enemy thing feels so overused. Even Unreal in 1999 learned not to overuse that effect. And while I love the design of the new Lost Souls, they're among the most annoying enemies I've ever fought in an FPS.
And when enemies do hit me, the screen shake effect and my loss of aim is so severe that it makes what should be a tense enemy encounter just irritating.
And yet, I can't stop playing it. I've had a lot of fun with Doom 3, much more than another big budget AAA FPS in recent memory. I just love this game.
I remember Rubicon, but don't think I played it? 🤫 You've kind of got me interested. How would you say these hold up to competition like Dead Space?
So here's my quick and dirty guide to the world of Marathon Total Conversion
scenarios - these aren't just mods, they're essentially standalone games that hold up on their own, some almost to the point of being commercial-quality...
- A quasi-horror-ish game that was one of the first TCs for Marathon Infinity. The Devlins are a legendary enemy that lead to some tense moments and Doom 3-esque jump scares. Most notable for a plot involving the Pfhor Mystics, which I think had some Lovecraftian elements to it.
Marathon: Tempus Irae
- A game more in the tone of Marathon Infinity with lots of exploration of architectually dense spaces. Its plot also has some Lovecraftian elements to it, with the terminal texts chronicling a certain historical figure's brush with madness.
- A game that goes balls-to-the-wall with its Lovecraftian action horror, with two all-new distinct enemy factions, and chief antagonists that extend the Marathon lore in very unexpected ways. This game goes hard
. It's so hard in fact that famed Marathon player Dr. John Sumner found it impossible to vid. (i.e. complete under the rules of the Vidmaster's Challenge). This is probably the closest to Dead Space that I've seen in a Marathon TC. It's also notable for having a surprising mid-game twist that turns the entire game on its head.
- This game also goes balls-to-the-wall, but this time with its combat. A radical overhaul of an earlier scenario called "The Grey Incident". Intended by its author to onboard Doom players to Marathon, it's has a tone styled after Marathon Infinity but with unrelenting
moment-to-moment gameplay styled after Doom.
- The closest we will likely ever get to a direct sequel to Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity, with an all-new arsenal, some new interesting enemies, and a non-linear storyline with two branches. Scott Lund and D. Scott Phoenix went to great lengths to craft a scenario that matched Bungie/Double Aught's original verve with M1 to Infinity, and whether or not they succeeded is a matter of some debate. The "Rubicon X" update added an entirely new third plot branch that has to be seen to be believed.
- A sprawling time-travelling epic that attempts to unify the disparate plot threads of Marathon 1 and 2, Marathon Infinity and Pathways into Darkness, even with some oblique Halo references thrown into the mix. It's an utterly massive
scenario with some truly interesting set pieces.
Marathon Apotheosis X
- A radical rebuild of a stalled scenario called "Gates of Fenris", this 2022 scenario takes full advantage of the features of Aleph One, the open-sourced version of the Marathon 2/Infinity Engine, with monster sprites utilizing additional frames of animation, for very fluid in-game motion. Features an awesome all-new roster of weapons and enemies. Notable for stressing more skill-based gameplay, with a player arsenal that de-emphasizes hitscan weaponry.
- If Phoenix attempted to put Doom in Marathon, Squadron attempts to put CoD/MoH in Marathon, with a human antagonist government fighting the UESC for control of the homeworld of the defeated Pfhor. Features a roster of brutal weapons that are almost all
hitscan, with the exception of the pistol, shotgun and rocket launcher. (Oh don't worry, your almost all-human enemies have hitscan weapons too
- A port of a popular total conversion released for the original Marathon. A game with a somewhat darker tone that I think was inspired by Aliens.
- An all new short 10-level total conversion released in 2023 which massively changes
Marathon's gameplay, introducing player classes, passive/active abilities, dialogue (even with dead people, á la Pathways into Darkness) and other RPG elements.