For the sake of full disclosure, it bears mentioning up front that the gaming computer most of my reviews take place upon has been suffering from some severe latency issues at the moment. I’m unsure why at the moment, but am mostly certain it has something to do with a need for an upgrade. But, in the meantime, I still wanted to talk a little bit about what opportunity I’ve had to get an impression of some kind about Interceptor Entertainments homage to the classic FPS Rise of the Triad. So, consider this part review, part first encounter. Please and thank you.
First things first, this is a faithful reintroduction of Rise of the Triad (hereafter referred to as ROTT) handled by people who have a grasp of what the core concepts contained therein are all about. Primarily choking as much kitschy, 90s-nonsense into a title as possible without it exploding creating an amalgamated monster comprised of Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and ROTT. There’s a lot of nostalgic qualities here that will take players back to the first time they sat down and enjoyed any of those titles, for better or worse.
Let’s get the good news out of the way first. ROTT is about as fun as a night alone in front of a 486 pumping round after round into whatever happened to get in your way between the start and end of a level. And if memory serves properly, those nights were pretty damn fun as a kid.
Practically begging the player to bring as much heavy ordinance to the table, there is – as the title repeatedly promises – ludicrous amounts of gibs, gore and everything in between. Enemies aren’t so much there to defend whatever area their occupying so much as waiting to be shot, stabbed or exploded into thousands of tiny, chunky bits of meat.
The weapons feel particularly well-crafted in regards to their predecessors, namely that more often than not, it will feel like ROTT simply took a decade and a half or so hiatus before coming back graphically bigger, badder and in this aspect better.
Forgoing any eking attempt at realism, it’s discarded at the business end of bazookas, flame wall launchers and D.R.U.N.K missiles that will stain walls and weapons red while leaving a sickly grin on the face of the person doing it. Unafraid to grab the player vigorously by the balls and cast them as a harbinger of gratuitous meaty destruction, ROTT asks only to press on a bit onwards, slaughtering whatever may happen to get in the way.
The collectibles are still there, each a notorious little slice of nostalgia that will hearken players back to that deliciously virginal moment they heard that beautiful sound of avoiding traps to nab just a few more coins or getting their grubby hands on God Mode for the first time.
Returning in earnest, which definitely bears mentioning, God Mode is still as cool as ever. The new and improved graphics made it as gorgeous as ever to dispense heavenly wrath on whatever foes dare stand in the way of player-wrought retribution. It is still as fun as it was when I was a kid.
That being said though, there are a handful of noticeable problems that glare amid the eclipse of enjoyment I got out of ROTT. Mostly graphical or technical, they were bad enough to warrant inclusion here.
Predominantly being that blowing apart enemies, while hilariously fun at moments, often left bodies spinning, armless and shooting blood in all directions in a way I’d expect from Garry’s Mod. Additionally, dispensing with the dark surroundings of the previous incarnation of the game and using modern looking dark surroundings seems to have caused a handful of issues with enemies getting stuck in walls, on objects or having been shot into walls, becoming part of the overall landscape.
Technically speaking, the AI in the game is downright bad. I understand this is a throwback to a game from the 1990’s, the heyday of the FPS evolving into a genre all its own, but what I encountered was unacceptably poor and felt like that’d been lifted right out of the original.
I’d stand in view of enemies, firing at them, often not warranting a response until one of their friends had been cut down or shredded into human Swiss cheese. At times, this wouldn’t even be enough. I could walk into the center of an area and enemies would remain status still until again, one of them was engaged. It was like fighting a roomful of people that had a severe case of motion blindness.
Realistically though, ROTT doesn’t appear to be looking to reinvent the genre or even make us reconsider how those titles are interpreted as they fit into popular gaming culture.
This feels more like the video game equivalent of the transition between Tron and Tron: Legacy, neither was spectacular, but both stand out in their respective medium as genre and are peachy ripe for allowing players to remember and feast on nostalgic goodness. Similarly, ROTT is sickeningly enjoyable and can offer fans of the original some rich moments of fun, but it may not necessarily translate into a resurgence of groundbreaking, award winning FPS titles from the early years of the FPS. But that’s okay, because it’s an outrageous hyperbole of what games could be when realism wasn’t the first concern and will do something pretty awesome, making players feel like kids again.
Rise of the Triad is currently available for the low, low price of $14.99 on Steam, GOG.com, Green Man Gaming, Gamersgate, and the Apogee store. My copy was provided via PR and unfortunately, given the issues my machine was suffering from, multiplayer was unable to be experienced and therefore wasn’t factored into this First Notice.