Doom 3 revisited: Alpha Labs

Alpha Labs. To a lot of Doom 3 players, one boring corridor maze with blue wall panels stretching across 4 full levels, housing such esoteric gadgets as the Elemental Phase Deconstructor, Hydrocon, Molecular Fuel Storage Compactor, and Enpro Fuel Reprocessor, along with dozens of low-level, low-life monsters . You know what, you’re wrong. There is a lot of good stuff in there.

#1 is a rather long affair, and it’s true there’s a lot of corridors in there, but you gotta hand it to the guys that very few of them are uninteresting. There are details and nice colour combinations everywhere. Almost all of those little corridors are busy looking. In fact there is not one bad looking place in here. I found this quite enjoyable.

I love me a nice corridor. Most of those come with zombies. Hm, tasty.

#2 is the level where you escort the scientist who, inevitably, gets killed. However, it’s more rewarding to go off track and look in the places you’re not supposed to go, as you can find lots of goodies there. This actually happens regularly in the game, items are found in the most unlikely places and you’re usually rewarded for not doing what you’re told. I wish more games did that.

And this is why they gave you a flashlight.

#3 is the level with the poisonous barrel “puzzle” – you get to use a crane and dump them into the incinerator. Also, every code on this level is 123 which is very welcome.

#4 is where it gets interesting again. Right after “they took my baby”, and before you meet the Vagary, there is a pretty good and long platforming section.

You didn’t ever do any platforming there? Then you probably chose to extend the service bridge instead of activating the EFR. The former simply unfolds a few catwalks and spams them with more spiders. The latter turns on a bunch of moving platforms and gadgets. And much like Super Mario, you get to ride platforms, jump or duck past rotating and extending stuff, and leap across and between moving machinery. There is also a shitload of items to collect here again if you look carefully.

Don’t like platforming? Too bad. The route across the service bridges is both easier and more boring. I tend to find this level good fun. The game gives you a choice in quite a few places, and while that usually doesn’t change much, it does here. It helps if your Doom 3 is modded for faster running speed. 😉

Overall I found Alpha labs quite all right this time around. It gets a lot better though.

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