Does it feel like 1994? Interceptor Entertainment thinks it does. They have reached back nearly 20 years and plucked out the semi-classic first person shooter game Rise of the Triad and updated it with the Unreal 3 engine. So beyond the retro value what does it have going for it? Get ready for the gore as we take a look.
The story is virtually unchanged from the original Rise of the Triad. You are a member of H.U.N.T. (High-risk United Nations Task-force). Your mission is to investigate strange cult activity on San Nicholas Island. On your way to the island your boat is destroyed by patrols – and soon you find that the cult plans to destroy Los Angeles. With no other choice, you have to stop the cult from carrying out their deadly plan.
Thin, yes, but then again in 1994, most first person shooters had the thinnest of plots. Just enough to get you into the game was all that was necessary.
Controls and Gameplay
Rise of the Triad has the traditional mouse and keyboard controls, but for this update they have added gamepad support. The gamepad plays fine, but felt sluggish. I found the mouse and keyboard worked the best.
The first person shooter gameplay style was all retro 1994. Bullet-based weapons have unlimited ammo, while ammunition for missile and magic-based weapons is limited. The missile and magic weapon comes in some wild and crazy versions. For example there was my personal favorite, the Flamewall missile launcher. When you fired it, a literal wall of flame bursts forth and incinerate anything in its path.
The enemy A. I. is straight out of 1994 too. They move out into the open and stand still or move in a straight line towards you. Take cover? They never heard of such a thing.
One thing that didn't come along with the update was the ability to save anywhere. Rise of the Triad uses a checkpoint only system that can be very frustrating if you get through a long, dangerous area only to slip up and die, sending you all the way back to the start.
The multiplayer is a lot of fun and gives you a more serious challenge playing against people who will dodge and use cover. Currently the modes are limited to Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag on relatively small maps. Interceptor Entertainment promises more modes and maps soon and they also promise these will be free downloads.
Graphics and Sound
Here is where the update to Rise of the Triad is most noticeable. The graphics go for realism, but are not close to what most games have these days. I'd equate them to something from around 2004. They look good, but have some problems. I've seen some stretches, solid then invisible objects, and bad collision detection. Interceptor Entertainment is aware of most of these; it’s still odd to see a soldier's leg stretching off to an infinite distance. The bad collision detection did come in handy though. I was able to kill an enemy because his hands were sticking through a door. Target hands, shoot until dead.
The soundtrack got an upgrade too. It is now a guitar driven, heavy metal affair that actually fits really well with all the action. If you do miss the old soundtrack, you can switch it back.
Ah nostalgia. There is nothing like slipping back into something that reminds you of a happier time and place. Rise of the Triad has that in spades. It might be remastered for the HD age, but everything about it screams 1994. And this is both to its benefit and detriment.
The benefit is yes, it's just like the game you played back then. The ludicrous over-the-top gore, crazy weapons, and odd power ups and power downs. So you can turn into a dog or eat a mushroom making the world very “trippy.” When I mention over-the-top gore I mean shoot an enemy and limbs will come off shooting blood out the ends like a fire hose.
To its detriment, it does not compare to any of the current first person shooters available at all. My skill set for playing games has grown since 1994. For much of the single player game I was able to just use the bullet based guns. The only time I changed to missiles or magic was when I got bored or saw a large crowd of enemies. The game seemed easy.
With my rose-colored retro glasses on I would give Rise of the Triad a 4.5 out of 5, but compared to other games on the market, it drops to a 3 out of 5. It's really for those old school gamers looking for a bit of nostalgia or the noobs that want to see what the fuss was all about back then.
Rise of the Triad is rated M for Mature for Animated Blood and Gore, and Animated Violence by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
For mor information see the Rise of the Triad web site.