Doom III for Linux

This article appeared in print in Micro Mart issue 833, January 2005.

Do you think he wants to shake hands? Price: £22.99
Manufacturer: Activision
Tel No: 0845 002000
Required Spec: Pentium III 1.0 Ghz processor, 256 MB RAM, 1.5 GB hard disk space, ATI Radeon 8500/NVidia GeForce 3 or above, 64 MB video RAM.

I'm sure that Doom 3 needs no introduction, but for those who have been living on Mars it's the latest and greatest shoot-em-up game from Activision and ID Software. You've no doubt seen plenty of reviews of Doom 3 already, but these all cover the Windows version of Doom 3. There is of course a version available for Linux, so let's see how it fares.

Who's afraid of spiders? The first thing you've got to do to get Doom 3 up and running is buy the Windows version of the game, then download the Linux executable files from ID Software's website. This is quite annoying and I can't see any real reason why this 7.6MB download couldn't have been included on the retail CDs alongside the Windows version. The first thing worth noting is that the minimum system requirements for the Linux version are significantly less than for the Windows version, so in theory that means that people with slower machines will get better performance on Linux than on Windows. The Windows version for example, requires a 1.5GHz Pentium 4, whereas the Linux version only needs a 1.0GHz Pentium 3 (or equivalent AMD processor).

You can't even escape from spam on Mars... So how does it run? Well with all the video options set to high quality, I get mostly smooth video but it does go slightly jerky when there is a lot of activity on the screen. My machine has a 3.06GHz mobile Pentium 4, 1GB of RAM and a mobile NVidia GeForce FX 5200 graphics chipset using the latest NVidia drivers under Debian Linux. This slow-down could be down to the fact that I only have 64MB of video RAM or possibly because my machine has a mobile processor and graphics chipset. But its still a pretty fast machine which doesn't cause problems for any other games and to be honest I'm a little disappointed.

Once you get into the game, its exactly the same as the Windows version. I'm not going to talk too much about the game-play as this has already been covered in a previous Micro Mart review of the Windows version. The graphics are of course fantastic, even at the lowest settings. I did throw all the options up to maximum just to see what it looked like and although it was too slow to be playable, the graphics were really impressive and certainly the best available in any game on Linux.

Quality: 7 out of 10
Value: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7 out of 10