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Rise of the Triad

The story is a familiar tale, told much the same way almost two decades ago in the original Rise of the Triad. A mysterious cult has appeared on Saint Nicolas Island, and it’s up the the H.U.N.T. team to investigate. Moments after arrival their boat is destroyed, and unlike the locale of Far Cry 3, this island possesses no boats of its own. The only way out is forward.

When the fight begins it’s easy to see that the inspiration wasn’t just applied to the creation of a malnourished plot. The focus here is crafting an experience similar to what ye games of olden times felt like to play. Generic soldiers occupy all sorts of nooks and crannies throughout. Characters fly at ridiculous speeds. And health? Don’t expect to stand in relative safety, huffing and puffing, until it magically regenerates. This is an old school shooter, taking form and function directly from its predecessor and tossing on a fresh coat of paint.

Like the original, the standard armament is simple and limited to only two guns: the pistol and the machine gun. Both have infinite ammo along with infinite clips, of which can be reloaded for seemingly no reason. Neither seems more powerful than the other, giving them a strange anti-balance. There’s no expectation to use one over the other outside of accomplishing gun related achievements.

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Instead, the weapon variety comes in through the various explosive and magical weapons laying throughout the island. It’s these special weapons that give you an edge on your enemies beyond exploiting corners and level geometry to pelt them with enough bullets from safety. From the standard bazooka to rocket launchers than drop clusters of explosions, there’s plenty of opportunities to rain fiery death upon your foes.

Don’t expect this to be easy. Enemies slowly whittle away your health, along with the various booby traps. It’s easy to not be careful with your own explosions, and the splash damage hurts plenty. Searching every corner, finding every secret isn’t a matter of acquiring achievements, but of basic survival. A hidden nook containing a secret supply of health rejuvenating monk meal can mean the difference between life and death.

And you don’t want to die. It’s not like you have a limited amount of lives, but rather because the last checkpoint is likely to be farther back than you’d like. Maybe even the beginning of the level. If every level was dependent on your ability at running and gunning it might have been alright. Instead, jumping puzzles happen, and like an old FPS, they’re terrible.

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Ledges are too small, characters move too fast. That summarizes the major flaw that turns jumping puzzles and platforming sections into migraine-inducing sections of pain. These may make up only a small part, but it’s worthy noting that they go on for much longer than they should have.

Switching from single player to multiplayer emphasizes how fast and frenetic the action is. The fighting is entertaining and explosive, embracing chaos over control, heavy weaponry over tactics. It feels more like an archaic novelty that was already outclassed by Unreal Tournament back in ’99. It provides for a simple, good ol’ time for at least a few minutes, but lacks any real depth.

Although, to be fair, that’s the kind of experience that Rise of the Triad is trying to embrace. Where the modern FPS has become bloated with features and alternate gameplay styles, this is focused on delivering a simple experience that’s true to its origins.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

Gentle persuasion

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