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Strafe is exactly how you remember the year 1996

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I want to paint it red

I recently swung (swang?) by the Devolver Digital booth at PAX West 2016 to take a good hard look at STRAFE, a hardcore-old-school-ultra-stylized-FPS-roguelike-simulated-gorefest. I've been side-eying STRAFE since its ridiculous Kickstarter campaign in 2015, and now that I've had a bit of hands-on time with it, you know your boy's got some thoughts about it.

STRAFE is hard. Hard as shit. Tough as nails. Rough as sandpaper. As someone who just recently started playing the new DOOM (on easy difficulty, please don't say mean things to me about my choices), it's the exact amount of hard that this game both needs and deserves. Enemies started to respawn if I stayed in an empty area for too long.

Projectile-based attacks flew at me from all directions. I died a lot. There was never a safe moment in STRAFE. I was always low on something, be it ammo, scrap, or health, and it encouraged constant movement and quick decisions whilst romping around painting the environment red with enemy blood. There are no grenades, instead barrels scattered amongst the levels that must be thrown -- which offers a choice between a huge explosion that clears a section of enemies or being able to fire your weapon to defend yourself at a closer range.

Since STRAFE is also a roguelike, the zones (of which I saw two) are procedurally-generated and offer enough variety and surprises that successive runs shouldn't feel stale. The first zone, ICARUS, is as much of an homage to the original DOOM as you can get: a high tech facility with lots of winding paths, corridors, and arena fights. One of the runs I played actually started in the iconic first room from E1M1.

The second zone, BLACK CANYON was a bit surprising as it eschewed the tight corridors of ICARUS and instead opted for a much more open area with caves, rock formations, as well as crashed and broken sections of the previous zone scattered in for good measure and environmental storytelling. Of course, the enemies were much more varied and difficult, with more and more enemies bleeding yellow acid that inflicts damage if touched. It subverted my expectations quite a bit, and I am very much looking forward to see what the next two zones have to offer in the final game.

Power-ups and secrets are a huge facet of STRAFE as well -- in fact just the act of shooting a crate and jumping full-speed into the power-up that shoots out of it is both addicting and momentum-conserving. Since it's such a fluid and natural thing, I never felt like I was going out of my way to get power-ups in STRAFE, so much that I don't think I ever stopped to smell the roses -- I mean carnage.

It's an intensely addictive fast-paced experience, and no matter what weapon you go with -- be it the shotgun, the machine gun, or the railgun -- it's a guaranteed blast running through areas at 50 miles per hour and blasting heads off dudes whose necks spout fountains of blood like water out of the broken hose that you claimed you'd replace like two weeks ago, but now your garden is both dead and drenched in blood. I really didn't want to stop playing.

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Myles Cox
Myles CoxVideo Boy   gamer profile

Myles, Destructoid's dedicated video boy. He likes Suda51 games, explaining the plot to Metal Gear, and nice shirts. He's currently trapped inside a copy of Adobe Premiere. Please help him.  more + disclosures


 


 


Also on Destructoid: Strafe   (13)   From our database:

  • How Strafe's 'Millennium Edition' overhauls the entire game - Ray Porreca
  • STRAFE is getting a massive update with extra content - Peter Glagowski
  • Review: STRAFE - Peter Glagowski
  • Deal: Save on Strafe before tomorrow's release - Dealzon
  • Devolver Digital is holding a digital convention for Strafe with prizes - Peter Glagowski
  • Strafe is getting three collector's editions because why not? - Peter Glagowski
  • Strafe sidesteps its release date, jumps back to May - Brett Makedonski
  • Strafe is gunning for a March release date - Peter Glagowski
  • Strafe is exactly how you remember the year 1996 - Myles Cox
  • More related stories
    Filed under... #Devolver Digital #Indie #PAX #Previews

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