Review - Rise of the Triad
People like to say that games these days are easy. That things like regenerating health bars and gratuitous checkpoints have taken the challenge out of things. Well, in bringing Rise of the Triad out of the 486 processor days and into the modern era, Interceptor Entertainment has given old school FPS fans the kind of game they desire, for better or for worse.
It was obvious something different was on its way from Steam to my computer when I saw the install size of Rise of the Triad was a maybe a quarter of modern FPSs. After installing Triad, it became obvious that the goal for this game's graphics was not so much to be realistic as it was to paint the walls with your enemies' blood. With all the various rocket launching weapons lying around RotT's maps, there are ample opportunities for “ludicrous gibs.” That is to say, you'll see plenty of Nazis-turned-California-cult-members blown into tiny chunks that double as blood fountains. You'll also truly be the last thing that Triad member sees as his disconnected eyes splat against the screen. Evidently the weapons you'll get in RotT are so strong it was common to see pieces of the violently departed get stuck in the walls or ground. Which is a nice way of saying there are some graphics glitches that could use some smoothing out. It isn't hard to miss the old school keys required to unlock doors and progress through a level, but it could be difficult to spot a necessary switch or lever. Even more of a pain are the enemies that are far away and blending in perfectly with their environment.
Rise of the Triad does have some good music to play along to while you paint levels red. Music was much more important in games back during Triad's first go around, and it's nice to hear that hasn't been forgotten. The dialogue, on the other hand, you won't forget because it eventually becomes the same lines endlessly repeated. They're delivered in a way that fits the campy story of RotT, but surely there's more than a couple things that could be said when a certain weapon or power-up is grabbed. Triad members weren't saved from this either, and I only didn't mind it when fighting the guys that sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This game also knows its age and its audience. If you're doing too bad? If you can't handle a mouse and keyboard? It'll tell you to use a controller.
The gameplay of Rise of the Triad is very much for people who want that old school experience or love twitch shooters. If you thought Call of Duty was too quick and difficult, then RotT will kick your ass. There's no shame in turning to cheat codes to get through a level here. Yes, I said cheat codes. Rise of the Triad brings them back, but using them comes at the expense of your score never hitting the leaderboard. That score you ran so quick and collected all those coins to achieve? You have to earn your way to the top of the charts, and that will take some doing. Stepping back into the boots of one of five members of HUNT (High risk United Nations Task force), each with varying speed and endurance levels, there are twenty levels full of Triad members coming out of the woodworks to stop you. You'll have to stay on your toes to make sure none of the crazy cultists gets the drop on you, or even more frustrating, gets their net on you. This is one thing that doesn't get explained or have any sort of on-screen command for how to escape and could really use one. It turns out, if you don't want to just sit there like a bullet sponge, all you have to do is use your melee attack/knife to cut your way out. Unfortunately, you might mash all the keys on the keyboard before this becomes apparent.
This could also come at the price of returning to one of the scarce checkpoints Interceptor Entertainment put in their version of Rise of the Triad. It seems a bit strange for a game that is recreating an old school PC FPS would feature checkpoints and not have a quicksave system. Without it, the nets, the Triad members blending into the environment, or that last bastard who pops out of nowhere once you think you've killed everyone and only have five percent health can become that much more of a nuisance. You could be having a ton of fun with the various rocket launching weapons and Excallibat that have returned alongside the crazy modes, but having to re-do long portions of a level because that one soldier got the drop on you kind of really sucks. You might not be so inclined to go hunting for the many secret rooms if it comes at the genuine expense of progressing in the game. First person platforming is not something I've missed as time has gone on and FPSs have changed. Rise of the Triad brings it back in a prominent way and as much as I like the idea of the jump pads and the challenge they can present, I just don't like doing them in first person. I truly don't. You find yourself in mushroom mode or pinball mode and it gets even worse! Away from the platforming, the different modes bring back that fun charm that games had in the 90s, but not when platforms are around...
Multiplayer in RotT will really take people back in good ways and bad. The hand full of maps that Triad comes with are arena style maps, which can make for big, frenetic, 16-person deathmatches. Or, you can be kind of hipster and play a little Capture the Flag because, after all, Rise of the Triad was doing CTF before it was cool. The speed of Triad's multiplayer really is so quick that weapons like the pistols and MP40 machine gun will lose favor to the rocket launching weapons very quickly, and dying right as you respawn can be a regular occurrence. It's something gamers will have to re-acclimate to, but for the people looking to bounce around an arena full of mayhem and destruction, they'll have a good time. Interceptor Entertainment has also made things interesting and left the door open on what could happen to Triad's multiplayer future. They've already said there is planned free DLC for new maps, but the DRM free title is 100% moddable. So the PC gamers wanting to do things their way will be able to on dedicated servers or simply over a LAN.
This is a nostalgia trip that long time PC gaming FPS players will return to. It's far more planted in its roots and knows what it is in a way Duke Nukem Forever can only dream of. Being moddable and with the ongoing support from Intercept Entertainment, in addition to the leaderboards, it's hard to not see Rise of the Triad bringing players back for more. Unfortunately, after hopping on the online servers in their first weekend of activity and seeing something of a lack thereof, it's hard to say Triad's longevity will exist outside of a niche audience. This really isn't a title that will appeal to a wide audience, but it will to anyone looking for some twitch gaming.
For $15, Rise of the Triad is a good trip down memory lane for the people that remember playing FPSs before the days of WASD. For the whippersnappers who never gamed in VGA, Rise of the Triad is a good way to learn your roots. Better than Duke Nukem Forever, at least. Triad does have its shortcomings, some of it feels dated, and there are some things that Interceptor Entertainment could patch up, but for the right gamer? It's time to get gibbing.
The game is fun and all but I think its really laking in thw weapons department, rawkit launchers are fun and all but I would have wanted more bullet based weapons and lasers.
I wish I hadn't reserved this game.
at least this is a better review than ign had.
Sounds like something I'd like to try out
Yeah this game is awesome!
I fricken love this game :)