Hundreds of gaming fanatics are expected to gather at Northgate last week, for the long-awaited launch of Doom 3 at midnight. Megarom and Budget Technologies are hosting the South African Doom 3 launch party, which will feature a Doom 3 multiplayer competition in the hours before midnight, to whet players' appetites.

  Event organiser, Arena 77, says the 96-player competition will offer prizes including a Gainward 6800 VGA card, a Logitech MX510 mouse, Kingston Hyperx 512MB 500MHz DDR RAM and a Doom Collector's Edition box set. "Initially, the competition was restricted to 64 players, but the sheer amount of responses necessitated the need for a larger event. We did not want to turn anyone away from the competition," says Lauren Das Neves, event organiser at Arena 77. The competition is scheduled to start at 8pm and will be shown on a big screen for spectators to watch.

  Gamers who have pre-ordered their Doom 3 copies from Budget Technologies and people attending the launch will be able to buy the game at midnight. All pre-orders have been entered into a draw to win a limited edition Doom 3 Legendware case.

  Apart from the 96 players competing at the event, Das Neves says 350 RSVPs have been received for the launch. "However, the advertisements placed in the recent issues of PC Format and New Age Gaming for the launch party did not require people to RSVP, so we expect approximately 500 people on the night," Das Neves says.

  Gamers who pre-ordered Doom 3 stand in line to win this Doom 3 Legendware case at Budget Technologies tonight. While the event will focus on the multiplayer event, Das Neves says there will be an additional eight PCs in the Budget Technologies store set up to showcase the single player element of the game.Many reviews in the US have questioned the decision by developer id Software to restrict the multiplayer to a maximum of four players. "Consensus is still out whether Doom 3 will be adopted as a multiplayer title," says Das Neves.

  "Originally, id Software targeted the game as a single player offering and is relying on the modding community to adapt it for multiplayer. So far, there is no indication among the overseas competitive gaming fraternity on whether they will run it at official multiplayer competitions." According to Jason Borea, marketing manager of game distributor Megarom, Doom 3 will also be on sale at the following CNA stores at midnight: