Quake 4 is the latest in 3D first-person shooters from id Software and Raven, and while the actual storyline is pretty standard fare and the game itself is based on the DOOM 3 engine, the graphics are exceptional and it is an improvement over previous games. The lighting and shadow effects are excellent, and the overall level design and architecture are a real treat. The overall load on the CPU and graphics card can be extreme, which is both a blessing and a curse, depending on the actual hardware you are testing.
Quake 4 is based on the same engine as DOOM 3, and we really expected more of the same, with AMD laying a beat down on Intel. Surprisingly, the Celeron D 351 managed to stay very competitive, and came within a hair of catching the Sempron 3300+. Higher processor power definitely pays off in Quake 4, so it's not video card limitations at work, and it just seems that the Celeron D is more adept at pushing Quake 4 framerates than it is at previous id Software engine games.
Painkiller is another hotrod first-person shooter that features high-end game graphics, but the difference here is the use of a non-standard, proprietary game engine. So instead of the next revision of the latest DOOM, Quake or Unreal Tournament product, we get something slightly different that helps spice our benchmarks up a bit. Due to the video card reliance of some portions of the game, we have used the in-game Docks demo, which does show a performance impact based on the processor used.
Painkiller certainly does not break the status quo, and once again it's a Sempron party and the Celeron D ain't invited. The framerate gap may not be as large as in DOOM 3 or Half-Life 2, but the Celeron D 351 is certainly well back of the Sempron 3400+, this time to the tune of almost 10 fps.
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is based on the movie franchise character of the same name, and provides a wild mix of kick-ass action and intriguing game environment. This hybrid game is similar to what Half-Life 2 brought to the table, as you take the role of escaped con Riddick, and fight your through some exceptionally rendered levels. This is another game we continue to experiment with, as increasing the Shader Model to over 2.0 can bring the game to a crawl, and even at our standard setting of Shader 2.0, it can still push a system to its limit.
Chronicles of Riddick holds the final surprise of our game benchmarking section, and gives the Celeron D 351 its lone victory. This is certainly not a monster win by any stretch, but at this point, Intel will just take what it can get.