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Review: Rise of the Triad (2013)

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rott_logoRelease Date: 07/31/2013
Developer: Interceptor Entertainment
Publisher: Apogee Software
Platforms: PC (Windows-based only)
Availability: Digital Download Only
Services for Distribution: Steam (online DRM), Good Old Games (DRM-free)
Price: $14.99

Please Note: This is for the 2013 release.  The review for the original 1994 title Rise of the Triad: Dark War can be found here.


It seems like more and more games are being rebooted from the past, specifically the mid 1990s, and given new life for today’s audience.  Of all the games that probably didn’t need to be brought back, Apogee’s Rise of the Triad is high on the list.  Let’s face it, the game wasn’t that good, most people didn’t play it, and save for coining “ludicrous gibs” it’s a title best lost in nostalgia.  From the initial announcement I’m thinking “why are they doing this?”  Well as it turns out this updated Rise of the Triad does the one thing I never expected: re-creates a classic “Doom clone” with all the dated gameplay style and features intact.  It’s like the last 20 years of first-person shooters (FPS) never happened and now we’re back with a fast paced, tough as nails, rocket launcher frenzy with awkward controls and heavy metal music.  It’s jarring at first and my initial hour made me want to put this title away and never think about it again – I had spent more than an hour trying to complete the first level, how was I ever going to overcome the entire game?  Once I overcame the initial hurdle of figuring how to adjust for 1995 shooter gaming I was rewarded with a crazy, addictive title that just shouldn’t exist today.  I’m quite happy it does.

rott_3When I receive titles for review that are harkening back to the past, it’s a rather binary hit or miss.  Never have I been able to jump into a game and provided I still retained skills from 20 years ago I would be set.  This game will aggravate Call of Duty players and be responsible for massive rage quits from today’s gamers that don’t like repeating sections or losing 20-30 minutes of progress due to carelessness (although I doubt it will catch on with the Dark Souls crowd either).  All of the skills modern shooters ask for: timed accuracy, twitch reflexes, ammo conservation, headshots, and linear progression are almost absent.  You need to move fast, kill at will with the biggest weapon on you at the time, and find that beloved steel door marked “Exit”.  If you die, and you will often, there is no saving like old school games, merely a random checkpoint somewhere in the middle of the level that no matter what you’ve done, will crush your will when you respawn.  This doesn’t even get into the signature traps and first-person platforming, which isn’t fun or very accurate but almost always has nearby checkpoints so I was able to tolerate it.  Each of the four chapters ends in a boss battle, like the original, that will test your ability to juggle circling a room, on-the-run accuracy, and finding safe zones in order to break down multiple life bars.  I didn’t much care for them while I was trying to best the bosses, but you sure feel accomplished upon killing them.  Also returning are the ridiculous number of rocket launchers, amusing God (and now Dog) mode, and of course “ludicrous gibs” that sends the enemy’s eyeballs smacking into your peripheral vision.  These little touches don’t seem like much here but trust me they are the personality touch that keeps you going.

rott_2Just like the rest of the game, multiplayer is a chaotic frag fest where everyone dashes for the multiple explosive weapons on the map and proceeds to eradicate one another when paths cross.  There may be more to multiplayer, but I was so hooked with this classic style that I spent all my time just killing and running.  Graphically the game is a bit muddy, but this was expected as an Unreal 3 title, however I was surprised at some of the random framerate drops I was seeing with a graphics card that can easily handle the requirements.  It didn’t really matter, for the most part I was running through my current task so rapidly I hardly had time to notice or care.  Rise of the Triad is a niche title for those that want to re-live the glory days of the mid 90s, but if you stick with it and get acquainted the rewards are huge, especially for a $15 game.  My first run through the campaign was just over 15 hours, but your mileage may vary depending on your ability to zip through the levels (there is an achievement for completing the whole game in under 4 hours, which I will never get).  It really is a great package at a great price, unfortunately I’m just not sure how many gamers are looking for this type of experience.

Final Score: 3 out of 5

Please refer to our Review Policy for interpretation and rules of review scores.

Written by Fred Rojas

August 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

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