Doom III Sweeps E3 Game Awards

Doom III Sweeps E3 Game Awards Doom III Sweeps E3 Game Awards

As we have come to expect, the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, CA. set about to highlight what the trends of the industry will be for the coming year.
This year's expo, held in May 22 - 24, focused on the online features of the gaming industry and especially those of the next generation consoles.

The Game Critics Awards are the only independent E3 awards, voted on by editors from nearly 40 leading outlets that cover games, including the top magazines, online sites, newspapers, and television programs.

In this years' E3 Game Critic Awards, Doom III confirmed its dominant position in the gaming industry and was rewarded for raising gamers expectations.

The full list of awarded games is as follows:

Best of Show

(id Software/Activision for PC)

With a franchise as powerful as that bearing the name Doom, gamers demand that each iteration represents "the next big thing." Watching programming legend John Carmack manipulate the lone marine through the claustrophobic corridors, it was easy to get caught up in the revolutionary steps embodied by the technology on display. And all of that would do an injustice to the entrancing glimpses of terrifying gameplay, mixing hellish monsters with expert manipulation of the new technology. The buzz generated by this early show made Doom III the indisputable "must see" of E3 2002, and rightly deserves the recognition of Game of Show.

The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo for GameCube)

Best Original Game

(Double Fine Productions/Microsoft for Xbox)

Tim Schafer is a man so creative that we're almost inclined to kick him out of the gaming industry. Why? The bottom line is that he makes everyone else's games look so damn derivative. In Psychonauts, Schafer has concocted a circus-like hodgepodge of zany characters and game environments to tell the story of Raz, a gifted little lad who must have just missed the application deadline to Professor Xavier's school for the gifted. As a result, Raz is apparently shipped off to psychic summer camp to develop his psychic abilities, in the hopes that he one day might become a Psychonaut. At psychic summer camp, psychic-wannabe Raz can earn special psychic merit badges, one of we hope might be a badge that decrees a moratorium on the use of the word psychic in the game. But seriously, things get interesting when Raz gets to jump into the minds of 16 individuals at the nearby insane asylum, and in turn use his psychic abilities like firestarting and invisibility to defeat some real inner-demons. The third person action adventure gameplay is a departure from Schafer's previous work, but his trademark originality is still here in spades.

Blinx: The Time Sweeper (Artoon/Microsoft for Xbox)

Best PC Game

(id Software/Activision for PC)

Among the quality games on display from the maturing console systems the PC stood loud and proud. Highlighting the monumental improvement in graphical fidelity, and gameplay manipulation of that technology, Doom III stood loud and proud. With fewer PC titles, the quality of those on display was impressively high, but Doom III dominated the buzz among onlookers. From the eerie shadowed corridors to the terror of seeing hell's monstrosities in the mirror it was a display not to be forgotten.

Neverwinter Nights (Bioware/Atari for PC)

Best Console Game
The Legend of Zelda

(Nintendo for GameCube)

Miyamoto's latest Zelda outing takes common cel-shading techniques to an uncommon level of polish and detail. But Zelda isn't only about amazing detail or sophisticated environments, it's about expertly crafted experiences. The game bleeds character and a cohesive design that is more about cinematic subtleties than raw graphical horsepower. Zelda is a console adventure game in the truest sense: the player is drawn into Link's world, but the development team never loses sight of the fact that it is the player who is always driving the gameplay. Despite the obvious similarities to the play mechanics found in the Zelda games for N64, Link breathes with new life. Simply put, Miyamoto maintains his focus on what makes a console adventure game great, and subsequently, he brings a great sample of his next console adventure to E3.

The Getaway (Team SOHO/Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 2)

Best Console Hardware
WaveBird Wireless Controller

(Nintendo for GameCube)

Finally, someone gets the wireless console controller right and, in this case, that someone is Nintendo with its own Wavebird Wireless Controller. For anyone who has spent precious game time untangling cables or found themselves fighting with an unstable RF connection instead of fighting unstable virus-laden zombies, the Wavebird is a godsend. Yes, it works, and it works well, even with multiple controllers operational. The Wavebird is a testament to Nintendo and one small victory for those of us who prefer to recline during Rogue Leader without fear that the controller cord will evacuate in our moment of triumph.

Steel Battalion Controller (Capcom for Xbox)

Best Action Game

(id Software/Activision for PC)

While DOOM III stays true to the first-person-shooter series' action horror roots, editors and industry attendees at E3 soon realized that the popular franchise had a completely new look and feel for its third incarnation. This time around, the team at id has given the series a graphical facelift, which left the demo etched in everyone's mind. Many gamers might have to rebuild their PC's to play the game due to its high-end hardware demands, but the investment should prove to be money well spent.

Metroid Prime (Retro Studios/Nintendo for GameCube)

Best Action/Adventure Game
Splinter Cell

(UbiSoft for Multiple Platforms)

Take the Tom Clancy world of military espionage, and give it the sneak-and-strike treatment of a third-person action adventure, and you've got a winner. Splinter Cell not only looked incredible, with its realistic environments, but the impressive AI, sneaky gameplay, and high-tech gadgetry available to your lone operative combined to present a gripping experience. In a hard-fought category, its original style and focus helped it make a real splash.

Super Mario Sunshine (Nintendo for GameCube)

Best Fighting Game
Tekken 4

(Namco for PlayStation 2)

Elegant in its simplicity, yet jaw-droppingly brutal, the Tekken series once again wows with a combination of finesse and balls-to-the-wall flair. Characters exude true charisma while dispensing straight up or juggled beatdowns that'll leave you shaking long after the force feedback tremors have subsided. Intricate? As the combat engine goes, we're talking circuit board complexity. For a fighting purist, the series' fourth iteration looks to be a small slice of heaven; well, assuming your vision of nirvana encompasses being spanked harder than an S&M rookie.

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (Infogrames for GameCube)

Best Role Playing Game
Neverwinter Nights

(BioWare/Atari for PC)

Just like the Lakers, Bioware pulls off a three-peat of their own. For the third year in a row, Neverwinter Nights snags the "Best Role Playing Game" category...and with good reason. With Neverwinter Nights, Bioware is not only providing players with a deep, rich single and multi-player RPG, but also giving users a comprehensive RPG engine that promises to put the power of creating and running a computer role playing session as if it were a classic tabletop experience. Luckily for players and nominees for next year's RPG category, Neverwinter Nights is now complete and is making its way to store shelves.

Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (Sony Online/LucasArts for PC)

Best Racing Game
Auto Modellista

(Capcom for PlayStation 2)

It's certainly surprising to see such an impressive and inventive driving game from a company best known for its fighting games and zombie-ridden adventure games, but there's no denying Auto Modellista's appeal. Auto Modellista uses cel-shaded graphics to give it a very unique look, and to successfully distinguish itself from a genre crowded with faceless clones as well. Its visual design really has to be seen in motion to be appreciated, as animated special effects like collisions, dust trails, and clouds of burning rubber give this game a cartoonlike quality. But Auto Modellista isn't all flash. You'll get to jump behind the wheel of a number of recognizable and powerful cars, and its fluid control is reminiscent of classics like Ridge Racer and Daytona USA. It will even support Sony's PlayStation 2 online network, so trading cars and racing against others will be a snap. Capcom had many notable titles on display at its booth this year, but this stylish racer was arguably the largest draw among the bunch.

Colin McRae Racing 3 (Codemasters for Multiple Platforms)

Best Simulation Game
The Sims Online

(Maxis/Electronic Arts for PC)

Is Will Wright a genius? Or is he just the one-man advance team for an alien race, sapping our energies with games that gleefully absorb more and more of our time, until we're helpless to resist their ruthless march toward galactic rule? There's evidence for both in The Sims Online, which takes the sitcom ingenuity of The Sims and turns it into a reality TV soap opera. The fact that it deviates from the sword-and-sorcery games that currently dominate the MMORPG space - not to mention the plethora of sci-fi-inspired persistent state world games coming down the pipe-makes it remarkable. But the fact that it gives you multiple ways to play the game, and cleverly encourages you to play well with others, and explicitly rewards you for it -well, that makes it unprecedented. When The Sims Online launches this fall, it won't be competing with Everquest or Asheron's Call; its competition will be Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond - that's how effectively and uniquely it demands your time and attention. And there are so many brilliant concepts wrapped up in this game that the industry will be studying it - and copying it - for years to come. Resistance is futile.

Simcity 4 (Maxis/Electronic Arts for PC)

Best Sports Game

(Visual Concepts/SEGA for Multiple Platforms)

Sometimes, you need to jettison what helped make you successful-even if you're good at it-in order to move forward and thrive. For Sega, it must have been a tough decision to drop the Dreamcast and shutter its game console-hardware business in favor of concentrating on being an across-the-board third-party software publisher. However, that choice was likely the difference between hemorrhaging money in a battle against bigger console makers or prospering as their partner-the epitome of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." That Sega is focused on just software also benefits its game titles. A good example is NFL 2K3, which is competing against larger, more established sports-game brands, and more than holding its own. More realistic player animations, such as one-arm catches, and a Franchise Mode are obvious boosts from previous releases. However, the partnership with ESPN is a solid move, and will result in a familiar look to the presentation and other stylistic enhancements. It's sad we lost the Dreamcast…but seeing what Sega's accomplished during the transition makes the sacrifice worth it.

Madden NFL 2003 (Electronic Arts for Multiple Platforms)

Best Strategy Game
Command and Conquer Generals

(EA Pacific/Electronic Arts for PC)

Electronic Arts found an imaginative way to extend a classic Westwood franchise by adding a dose of current events. C&C Generals has the same intense focus on tactical combat, a stellar graphics engine that shows off detailed 3-D images in urban terrain, and a storyline that brings the franchise into modern-day warfare between a high-tech U.S. superpower, the Chinese war machine and a network of terrorists. The different fighting advantages of these combatants, ranging from B-52 and paratrooper attacks for the Americans to devastating shoulder-launched ground-to-air missiles for the terrorists, will make for plenty of familiar yet original Command & Conquer style sweaty-palm combat.

Age of Mythology (Ensemble Studios/Microsoft for PC)

Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game
Super Monkey Ball 2

(Amusement Vision/Sega for GameCube)

Move over Donkey Kong. Here comes AiAi and his primate pals in Super Monkey Ball 2 for Nintendo's GameCube. While it's more of the same antics found in the original, we're not complaining. Maneuvering the monkeys in their transparent bubbles through loopy tracks turns out to be a lot more fun than it sounds. Developed by Toshihiro Nagoshi of Sega Corp.'s Amusement Vision studio, the original Super Monkey Ball sold 200,000 copies in the U.S. since its release in November, enough to warrant a sequel, due out this fall.

Chu Chu Rocket (Sonic Team/Sega for GameBoy Advance)

Best Online Multiplayer
Star Wars Galaxies

(Sony Online Entertainment/LucasArts for PC)

For the second year in a row, LucasArts and Sony Online wowed those who made an off-floor pilgrimage to see the progress on Star Wars Galaxies. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game takes place in the Star Wars universe between the happenings in the Episodes 4 and 5 of the film saga (Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.) As with Sony Online's Everquest, Galaxies will be a persistent world where, in this case, your character can interact with other budding bounty hunters or Jedi hopefuls. With all of the depth and trappings of the Lucas legend at their disposal, the developers could easily have thrust a rush job online and the faithful would have come. But based on the demonstration witnessed, it appears that the project is getting plenty of TLC -- evident from the fine tuning allowed in the character customization options to the realism of settings such as Jabba's Palace. Whether gamers are searching for combat or they want to explore the eight or more planets expected initially, this is a Star Wars episode that has plenty of Force behind it.

The Sims Online (Maxis/Electronic Arts for PC)

Special Commendation for Sound

(Trent Reznor/id Software/Activision for PC)

No game programmer envies the idea of competing against John Carmack's latest 3D graphics engine. So imagine the challenge of trying to create a soundscape that not only matches but also compliments Carmack's 3D magic. Leave it to Trent Reznor, frontman for Nine Inch Nails, to meet and exceed that challenge. Reznor's richly textured 5.1 channel soundtrack literally rocked the theater, forming an important part of the ever-so-impressive multimedia assault that was DOOM III. Presented in a special theater at the Activision booth, Reznor's pristinely mixed sound effects and cranked-to-the-max sound system made everything else at E3 sound like an old transistor radio.

Special Commendation for Graphics

(id Software/Activision for PC)

id Software's animators took John Carmack's latest graphics technology and ran with it in their Doom III demo, which flattened just about everybody who saw it. Going for the utmost in realistic multiple-source lighting and shadows, id is sacrificing some speed in Doom III. But the total impact of the graphics, taken together with breathtaking sound effects, is at once spectacular and terrifying.