Going a step further, it also was one of the most advanced multiplayer games ever as it boasted 11 player deathmatches, and it was the first mainstream FPS to feature a Capture the Flag mode.
Rise of the Triad (PC)
Developer: Interceptor Entertainment
Publisher: Apogee Software
Released: July 31, 2013
Rise of the Triad is a ridiculous game. It has mutating cult members, nazi-like soldiers, robots, and pretty much every other trope you can think of. As such, the story doesn't really make sense, and unfolds as a parody of sorts on the FPS and action genres, pitting the special task force known as the H.U.N.T. against the aforementioned baddies.
Thankfully, the tone maintains an enjoyable level of ridiculousness -- in short, it's nothing like Duke Nukem Forever, which had a similar aim, but failed in every way possible. The continued tradition of modeling most of the game's characters after developers and creators of the game is also preserved here, showing that the game is very much a labor of love.
Triad's story will unfold over 20 single-player maps, all of which are non-linear, and offer a degree of exploration and secret areas. By non-linear, I mean more open, in the sense that the map design calls upon the old school designs of id Software, 3D Realms, and other greats, rather than the corridor-heavy design of today's FPS games.
Each stage allows for a ton of freedom, but not so much freedom that you become completely lost. Having said that, the game could stand to use a few more visual cues as to where to go next, as I encountered quite a few doors that looked like they blended in with the environment, leaving me confused at times.
Gameplay is fast -- faster than nearly every FPS on the market right now, and hearkens back to a time when arena shooters were king. It will definitely take some getting used to at first once you see people online moving at light speed, but after a few hours, I was ready for action.
Weapon diversity is solid, and feels distinctly different from the vast majority of FPS games on the market. If you're bored with the typical SMG and dual pistol options, I'm sure you'll enjoy the ability to shoot giant Firewalls across a map, fling mystic baseballs, or zap people with a wizard staff -- among other options. Almost every gun has an alternate fire option, and pretty much every weapon outside of small arms is effective.
There are tons of secrets, cheats, and other extras involved in Triad to compliment the non-linear maps -- which are filled with their own hidden areas. As in, you can pull up the input console at any time and queue up Dog Mode (yes, this actually turns you into a dog), Drunk Missiles, or unlimited flight, and of course, God Mode. On the fly cheats disable achievements and leaderboard scores for that level, but as any old school PC fan knows, it's all about having fun.
Although the legendary Lee Jackson didn't directly score the game's new tunes, he did oversee the production of it, and you can easily see his influence. There are also old and new music options in the options menu, which is a nice touch for anyone who wants a bit of nostalgia.
But with all of this content comes a few caveats. While the game looks great on high-end PCs, at points, you may notice some fairly unpolished, pixelated visuals and the occasional bug. Although there are a decent amount of checkpoints in the campaign, I did get stuck on something more than a few times, forcing me to restart.
I also ventured into a few areas that I wasn't supposed to be in that looked unfinished. There is controller support, but it's rudimentary at the moment, without the ability to fine tune it or map any buttons (although an update is planned to expand these options, according to Interceptor).
As an arena shooter, Rise of the Triad relies on your ability to memorize weapon spawns, and master every single gun to truly come out on top. At launch, there are only five multiplayer maps, with support for three modes: deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag. They rely on your ability to quickly make decisions on the fly, and with up to sixteen players, it can get really intense. After I rediscovered my penchant for arena shooters I started really getting the hang of it, and the experience just clicked -- it's constant action in multiplayer, and that's a good thing.
While five maps may seem a bit underwhelming, the good news is that there's more official free DLC coming, full mod/community map support, dedicated servers, and LAN/Direct IP multiplayer support with no Internet connection required. The game is also completely DRM free outside of Steam, and an Interceptor account ties in all digital outlets so everyone can play -- even GoG and Steam players.
Rise of the Triad is a proper modern day reboot. It stays true to the original with its design philosophy and retention of some of the original assets, but it also brings modern conveniences to the forefront without all the pay to win or over-saturated downloadable content nonsense. On top of that, Interceptor Entertainment is constantly listening to its fans for ways to improve the experience, so expect an even better game as time goes on.
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