Resurrection of Evil is a stand-alone expansion pack for Doom 3. It takes place two years after the events of the original game, which saw the UAC base on Mars get shut down. As the story goes, a few months ago UAC satellites detected a beacon originating from one of the early research facilities on the red planet. As a Marine combat engineer, you're sent in as part of a research and security team to investigate the source of the signal, which a hidden chamber reveals to be a mysterious alien artifact, beating like a heart no less. That can't be a good sign, right? When the lead character picks up the artifact, all hell breaks loose...literally. The portals between Hell and Mars are re-opened, unleashing hordes of minions all hell-bent on getting their hands on one thing: the artifact in your possession. Evil has been resurrected and it's up to you to kick hell's ass one more time.
Paper-thin sci-fi plot aside, Resurrection of Evil is a solid extension of Doom 3, which is to say it's a first-person shooter that doesn't deviate much from the tried and tested FPS formula. You'll make your way from room to room, corridor to corridor, blasting enemies with a powerful array of weapons while collecting cells that power various machines and doors, allowing you to advance to the next sector of the facility. Throw in a few challenging boss battles and you have the basic Doom blueprint.
What makes Resurrection of Evil a particularly thrilling experience is its spooky atmosphere, made possible by a combination of great graphics and superb sound design. Visually, the game makes exceptional use of lighting to create shadowy environments that'll have you reaching for your flashlight in no time. In that regard, the developer has made an important improvement in the expansion pack. In Doom 3, you couldn't use your flashlight and a weapon at the same time, which most players found to be very frustrating. In Ressurection of Evil, your pistol has a light mounted on it, though if you spot a creature in the distance you'll most certainly want to swap out to a real weapon since the pistol is considerably weak. The suspense of what might lurk in the darkness is kicked up a notch by some brilliant audio. A few shrieks here, a few shrills there, or worse yet, deadly silence, and you just never know what'll be waiting for you around the next corner. That's the essense of Resurrection of Evil in a nutshell.
The mysterious artifact is more than the catalyst for the story in Resurrection of Evil, it also doubles as one of the expansion's new weapons. In the early going, the artifact gives you the ability to use "hell time," which is just another way of saying "bullet time." While in this state, you can still move and shoot quickly, but all the enemies react in slow motion, allowing you to kill large groups of them with relative ease. It also affords you time to dodge traps. As the game progresses, you'll earn a couple of upgrades for the artifact, one that gives you berserk power during hell time, which means you can kill most enemies with one punch, and another thats gives you invulnerability for a period of time. Like any weapon, you'll have to keep the artifact fueled up. How does one do that? With souls. That's right, the artifact absorbs the souls from the corpses of dead humans. Hey, nobody said defeating the likes of hell would be a sinless act.
The other major addition in the weapon department is the Ionized Plasma Levitator, also known as The Grabber, a weapon clearly derived from the gravity gun in Half-Life 2. The Grabber can lift and project small to medium-sized objects, including flammable containers, which makes it a very valuable in combat, especially when you need to conserve ammunition. But that's not all. Encounter a nasty demonic skull, why not use The Grabber to smash it up against a wall? The Grabber can even snatch energy balls, fired from an imp for example, and hurl it right back at them. Last but not least, there's also a double barrel shotgun that's extremely useful at shredding baddies at close range, though it takes a potentially costly amount of time to reload.
What's surprisingly absent from Resurrection of Evil is the cooperative multiplayer mode that was present in Doom 3. Co-op play is supported, but limited to the classic Doom games that are included on the DVD, including Ultimate Doom, Doom II and the Master Levels for Doom II. In terms of competitive multiplayer, Resurrection of Evil does support a few Deathmatch variants, but they're limited to four total players via system link or over Xbox Live, which is a far cry from some of the other FPS titles on the market.
So is Mars worth another visit? If you enjoyed Doom 3, absolutely. Weak multiplayer aside, Resurrection of Evil delivers what Doom fans have come to expect from the series: a gory, action-packed shooter. The presentation is stellar and despite being a little on the short side, the single-player campaign is a hellacious romp, and I mean that in a good way.