Rise of the Triad is a remake of the classic 1993 shooter which has been bought back to life by Apogee Software and the indie developer Interceptor Entertainment.
The game was created over a very short period of time, just 18 months in fact and it only took a team of 30 to do so, Frederik Schreiber being the lead of the project. I never played the original game but as soon as you step in game it is clear that they haven't just bought it back and forgot a lot of things, they have bought it back and flung you back into a game that has you second guessing if you're just playing the 1993 original.
I'm flying through the air like an eagle piloting a blimp!
The single player campaign of this game is what I delved into first and my mind was blown as soon as I did. I felt like I'd been transported back in time but had the graphics improved or something, it was like, "Whoa, this isn't just a remake that makes the game stupidly easy."
The main story of the game is that you choose to play as one of five characters from the H.U.N.T (High Risk Nation Task Force), each of which have their own unique play style and strengths. The story has about 20 levels in total spanning across four different episodes, with a very tough boss at the end of each one.
This is where you start your descent into the story and single-player madness
The gameplay in this game picks you up and throws you back about 20 years to 1993, and honestly, having not played the original game I thought all they had done is update the graphics. Apparently there are some differences in the single-player campaign but other than that it is very true to the original.
All the stuff that you would expect to see from the '90s is there, such as secret areas and crazy over the top action where the game just gives no fucks and is completely fucking mental. It was refreshing to see that a company doing a remake hadn't dumbed the game down to cater for the latest audience. There are the classic colour-coded keys and doors, monster closets and faster than humanly possible move and jump speeds.
I actually spent a lot of my time trying to find the secret areas and collect all the pretty things like coins and what not before moving on from each level. Alas however, not once did I collect everything so I actually need to go back and make sure I do.
There is a wide range of enemies in your way that also have different abilities like throwing a net over you (which you have to break out of with a knife, I initially thought the game broke when this happened), some will dodge your attacks and cause you to scream profanities at the screen in your attempts to hit them and then some will just be plain rude and steal a random weapon and then fire at you with said weapon.
Like I mentioned earlier, this game isn't easy and I made a huge mistake of putting it into "Hard" for my very first attempt at the game, I am now regretting that decision as I get deeper into the game. There really is no pissing around in this game, you're going to die a lot and when you do die you will have to replay some massive chunks of each level, sometimes starting back at the very start.
Remember back when we didn't have auto-regenerating health? Yeah, healing in this game is a big NOPE unless you go and find some monk meal and priest porridge, each with various sizes which give back different amount of health. The biggest I found was a 50% health increase. Managing your health is so important in this game, especially when you get a lot of enemies flung at you from 3 different directions at once. More often than not I have died because I'm playing like I'm Rambo, and you're really not.
The levels also offer plenty to explore in terms of not actually knowing the right way and not wanting to go the right way in case you miss something. There are also plenty of entertaining things like jump-pads and hovering elevators to get around the map at the speed of light and pull off some AWESOME INSANE MOVES, aww yeah.
The over the top weapons are also in there and a lot of them have alt-fires which are vital in figuring out if you want to do well. You'll start off with a pistol, then you could get TWO pistols! then you'll end up with a sub-machine gun with two magazines taped together and then it spirals out of control from there. You will get big guns, and I mean big. They will kill you in one hit if you miss-fire and will cause some serious damage to those around you as well. One weapon which was pretty cool was a fire weapon that could fire well, fire, at people like a machine gun or you could fire a rocket type thing and it would spread fire out in all directions from the point of impact.
Interceptor Entertainment have also bought back the power-ups that were in the original game. These range from the devastating God-Mode, to Dog-Mode where you run around as a dog (yes, really), Elasto-Mode (where you bounce around off everything you can find), Shroom-Mode (where your character pretty much turns high and the entire place starts to wobble around) and finally there is Mercury-Mode (which I have no idea on what it does.. yet.)
Oh, I almost forgot that they added in cheat codes as well which activate various different things like infinite ammo, god mode and flying mode! Something that is heavily lacking from games nowadays. I do recommend that you play through the campaign first before activating them though because "cheating can and likely will make unexpected things happen," it also won't allow you to collect achievements or gain any sort of score.
Godmode is an awesome power-up, just hit the fire button and watch everyone die!
I haven't had chance to test the multiplayer yet but what I can tell you is that Rise of the Triad is doing something very different. They have five maps available, and will be adding more at a later date through free DLC. They also have three modes (Deathmatch, Team deathmatch and Capture the Flag), with more modes on the way through free DLC. Oh and to top this all off they have dedicated servers (yeah, those things) which you can host yourselves if you wish. You've also got the ability to host a LAN and Direct IP game. Oh, and they added spectator mode, because well, why the hell not?
When you first boot the game up you'll notice that you have the option of creating a multiplayer account, you don't even need to do this and can completely ignore it. The only reason it is there is so that Steam, GOG etc. work together and the pirates can't play online. If you do create a ROTT account however you will be given access to leaderboards, stats tracking, chat rooms and a server browser. All from inside the game, fabulous!
As you can see, there's a lot of blood, and gore, and gibs in this game
So the game has been moved over to the Unreal Engine 3, and they even implemented Physx. When you start the game up you'll be presented with a nice launcher that lets you chance about 50 things and even has presets for a "Low" setting and a "Ludicrous (Ultra)" setting. Be warned though, the Ludicrous setting will make even the high end PCs cry so you need a beast of a computer. It's safe to say that the game could do with a few optimizations in the future.
Although the game doesn't look as good as some of the AAA titles we see these days they certainly have done a good job. I think it is pretty respectable for such a small team and if they get some performance tweaks out then you can certainly have a very nice game. Oh and if you really wanted you could use the console (yes that thing that existed in the '90s as well) to set a custom resolution so that you can play across a three-screen setup.
Sound wise the game does a good job as well, the guns and environment, explosions etc. all seem fine to me but I'm not much of an audio enthusiast so yeah. When the game first started the voice acting seemed a bit "meh" but once you get in-game its alright. Each of your characters will say various different lines of dialogue when you do things such as killing people, picking up new characters or activating power-ups.
Oh I almost forgot, the guy behind the soundtrack in the original game has come back to give a helping hand and it works wonders. The new and revamped sound track is awesome and really makes you feel like you're in a massively fast paced game. If the new one isn't good enough for you then all you need to do is flip a switch in the audio settings and hey presto the original soundtrack is there as well, awesome or what?
A fire shooting rocket-based projectile weapon thing, yeah, the weapons are kinda crazy
Let's be simple here, if you enjoyed the original game, get it. If you never played the original game, get it. There sorted. No but seriously, Interceptor have done a brilliant job at bringing this game back to life in the modern gaming world and whilst doing so they kept the charm that the game had back in 1993 and if you didn't know any better you'd think you were still playing the original game with some updated graphics. As soon as I stepped into the game (baring in mind I didn't play the original), it just generally felt amazing. All I'm going to say is, go and buy it, like now, then get your mates involved and spend 5 hours playing multiplayer, or until the sun starts shining again.