It is a common refrain in the gaming world – there is nothing new in games these days. And this game I’m here to review is a classic example.
The original Rise of the Triad was released way back in 1995, as a kind of sequel to the daddy of them all, Wolfenstein 3D. While it deviated away from the Wolfenstein banner as it went through development, the DNA is clear to be seen.
The new edition – Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition – arrives from the remake masters at Nightdive Studio, Apogee Studios and New Blood Interactive. But should it have stayed in the ‘90s?
Well, if we look at the presentation of Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition then those 90’s vibes are strong; it looks brilliantly retro in motion. It reminds strongly of the original Doom when it released on the PlayStation 1. The graphics are nicely pixelated, and the way that the baddies go “Ah-ah-ah” as fast as you can fire is bang on period. The thing is, while it hasn’t moved on any, it didn’t really need to. What this is is a giant cup of nostalgia, and I really appreciated being taken back in time.
You can add in the gunfire, the shouts of “Intruder” and so on, all to help set the scene, and while you’d expect an uber console like my Series X to run this without breaking into a sweat, the action on screen stays rock solid, with no slowdown or stuttering.
Story? Well, there is an attempt at one, I think it is fair to say. We are members of H.U.N.T., the High-risk United Nations Taskforce (pretty sure that this isn’t a real organisation, and if it was it would have more than five members, but I digress). We are tasked with taking out a cult like organisation known as ROTT, and we do this by running and gunning through various levels, shooting any bad guys, finding secrets and making it to the end. To be honest, the story could just be “Make it to the end” and it would work just as well, but the cutscenes to introduce each level do add a certain something.
In terms of gameplay and if you have played a first person shooter from this era, then you’ll know exactly what to expect. However, what you may not expect is that the controls on an Xbox controller are hysterically sensitive, and before I could even begin to play the game I had to dive into the menus and turn the sensitivity down; it was not only impossible to aim (the cursor was swaying around like a drunken sailor in a hurricane) but the movement was far too fast to be used. After turning it down, it was a bit better, but the controls never feel like they are on your side, if you get what I mean?
When it comes to playing, the first thing you need to choose when you start a game is the character that you are going to play as. There are a total of five to choose from; three men and two women. As you might expect, the men are mainly slow and tanky, and the women are fast and have fragile health, so take your pick. I initially went with a character called Ian Paul Freely, which is a hilarious joke. Or at least it was back in 1995… (I. P. Freeley, get it?). Each character also has different accuracy, and while with a lot of the weaponry this won’t matter, it can make a difference to your survivability.
The weapons in Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition range from the mundane, like pistols (single or dual wield – apparently one of this game’s claims to fame is that it was the first to introduce dual wield pistols) and MP40 machine guns all the way up to bazookas, homing missiles and something called a Drunken Missile, which fires in random directions. Even weirder are the Hand of God, which disintegrates the enemies, and the Excalibat, which is exactly what it sounds like. Taking out foes in a regular fashion is pretty entertaining, but every so often you can make enemies explode and gain a “Ludicrous Gibs” bonus, which is as stupid as it sounds.
Each level plays like a complicated maze, with multiple things to pick up and secrets to find. There are ankhs everywhere to be picked up, and they are not only on the ground, but in the air and near staircases of platforms. Walking up these staircases is a lot easier said than done, given how sensitive the controls are, and the ankhs in the air can be picked up with the addition of bounce pads on the ground that fling you up. The levels have hidden doors that you need to find and many secrets. All in all they are very complicated and stand up to exploration.
For the good though, there are things that are a little disappointing. Looking at the list of features on the Steam version of Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition, and we seem to have been a little short changed on the Xbox. We have no multiplayer modes, for instance, and no level editor to create our own content, which seems a shame. Not sure why we wouldn’t get these things, but it is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
Other than that, if you want a period correct, hard to control FPS game, then Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition is exactly the game for you.