Nearly 20 years ago a game was released as shareware (remember that?) called Rise of the Triad. Intended as a sequel to the original Wolfenstein 3D, it was a fast, totally over the top shooter with plenty of people to kill and plenty of cool weapons to do the job with. Now, in 2013, a PC game has been released called Rise of the Triad. It’s a fast, totally over the top shooter with plenty of people to kill and plenty of cool weapons to do the job with. Shameless reboot? No. The insane most fun you’ll have this year? Probably.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first – if you enjoy tactical shooters where you can weigh up your options and gently take out enemies one by one, you might as well go and read something else. In fact click here and you’ll get a random post on TGR. It’ll be more relevant than this. That’s because Rise of the Triad doesn’t give you time to stop and think. It’s lightning fast, it’s unforgiving, it’s properly difficult and it’s full of ways to make you feel like you’re failing. But most of all it’s fun, and in a time when developers are aiming for pixel perfect rendering of real life player models, or spending years tweaking physics engines to give ultra-realistic gaming, ROTT sticks two fingers up squarely in the direction of all that.
Rocket jumping is back in town, eyeballs flying across the screen are commonplace, and bounce pads fling you up to high ledges or straight into a huge gunfight. There are hidden rooms, coins to collect, posters to read and proper 90s bastard-hard bosses to shoot at. I’ll probably never finish the single player campaign in ROTT for that reason alone, but that’s not a problem. I still love lobbing all manner of explosives at the huge guys, even though I know I’ll probably die at the end of it. There’s a story, but not much of one: you take control of one member of a task force which needs to attack a facility and kill everything that moves. I didn’t really pick up much else, I don’t think it’s all that important though. Anyone who played this kind of 90s FPS back then will feel totally at home though, with a great musical score backing up the crazy on-screen action.
But you’ll want to try this online, because if you thought the single player campaign was fast , furious and a bit nuts then the multiplayer is in a whole new league. With a lobby full of other gamers you won’t know where to look, where to run or what to say when you get disintegrated by a rocket. There’s a definite example to memorising the spawn points of your favourite weapons, whether that’s a rocket launcher, the nuclear Firebomb or, everso slightly more bizarrely, dog mode. Yup, you can turn into a dog and bark at people to kill them with a barky shockwave. Obviously. If you don’t find a decent weapon you’re stuffed – most other players will be picking them up at very regular intervals and sending their payload in your direction, so grabbing some power ASAP is vital. There are only 5 maps at the moment (with more on the way via DLC and a strong community of modders) so there isn’t much to learn; certainly a positive spin on the disappointing number of maps initially. There are only three game modes too: deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag, although with the way the games pan out they’ll still keep you going for a decent stretch of time.
The whole package is a little buggy, be it weird visual glitches or getting stuck in scenery, and the AI on the enemies is, on rare occasions, a bit wonky. There seems to be a new patch every time I fire up Steam though so these issues will, I’m certain, get ironed out over time. The other thing to consider is that this doesn’t cost you a fortune, and although that doesn’t mean you should expect a few bugs, it certainly makes it easier to forgive them. After all if you head down the Steam route you can pick this up for £11.99, or better yet chip in with a few friends and buy a pack of 4 licenses for less than £30 – for that price you’d be a bit nuts to pass up this amount of fun.
It doesn’t really matter if you’d never heard of Rise of the Triad from the first time round – the fact remains that anyone who enjoys fast and totally mental shooting action will have an absolute blast with this. A proper labour of love by the developers, and it really shows. Great stuff.
Reviewed on PC