Coming into QuakeCon, I knew I had an appointment with a “secret game.” I didn’t have a clue what it was going to be about and, outside of the fact that the game was going to have its own panel, I didn’t have any reason to think it was going to be anything spectacular.
When the unveiling was going on, I was in another appointment and was closed off from the world. Coming out, I checked my email to find out that I had an appointment to see Rise of the Triad and, for the life of me I couldn’t understand why. I couldn’t understand why all of the secrecy would lead me to a game I loved almost 20 years ago. Then it finally clicked. I literally stopped mid-stride as the wave of excitement hit me. They’re finally making another Rise of the Triad.
Rise of the Triad was one of the original twitch shooters when it exploded onto the scene back in ‘94. There wasn’t an emphasis on developing characters or having stories you could lose yourself in. Instead, over the top violence was the rule of the land. The goal was simply to amass the highest body count in the most ridiculous way possible.
Interceptor Entertainment is doing everything they can to stay faithful to the original source material while bringing the game into the modern market. Rise of the Triad is being powered by Unreal Engine to add a great level of detail to just about everything. Flags ruffle in the wind, the stones in the wall are cracked and dismembered body parts look like they were ripped out of foes’ bodies.
The contextual dismemberment system in play means that enemies won’t simply explode after being shot a few times with your SMG, but a well-placed shot will rip a head or arm clean off. It’s completely silly, but it fits in with this style of over-the-top gameplay.
All of the weapons you expect from the series have returned. The Flame Wall is incredibly fun, and the Excalibat feels just as tight as you would expect. As is par for the course with this type of game, these weapons are outrageous and completely over-the-top. The Flame Wall has been an early favorite with players at QuakeCon. The satisfying thump the gun provides, as well as the panicked run by your opposition knowing that they have three seconds before they explode, amounts to a really fulfilling experience.
Rise of the Triad’s single player features will set it apart as one of the most unique titles on the market. The score-based system will create a competitive atmosphere even when you’re playing on your own. Points are awarded through kills, finding secrets and coins, as well as speeding through a level. There will be five different playable characters with unique skillsets so you can tailor your play style a bit. If you’re the type to barge in guns blazing, you’ll find a slower character with a bit more firepower waiting for you. If you’re more like me and want to run in, grab some coins and head for the door, you’ll find the more nimble character is worth the loss of firepower. Of course, you’ll be able to compete with your friends by challenging them on the live score.
The multiplayer demonstration on the floor sums up everything that was fantastic about PC gaming in the 90s, but also highlights a few of the issues. Six of us (although 32 players will be able to play come release) were thrust into battle against each other. Right from the get-go, we were frantically running around the level searching for the more powerful weapons. The unbalanced weapon system here made it crucial for us to find something with a bit more oomph than our lowly pistols. Staying true to the game’s old-school roots, most of its more powerful guns are out in plain sight and are ripe with ambush opportunities.
Some new players had a bit of trouble adapting to the blazingly fast game speed that was presented since we really haven’t seen anything like this on the market for quite a while. However, it didn’t take long before they were launching themselves around the map with jump pads while raining rockets down upon others.
The common complaint among gamers was that it was simply too hard to see their targets. The maps were fairly dark and the character models didn’t do much to stand out against the background. The guys from Interceptor were quick to admit the faults of the current build, but did explain that we were testing a pre-alpha build that was coded less than five weeks ago.
Bringing back a game considered by many to be a classic from almost twenty years ago is a daunting task, but Apogee Software CCO Terry Nagy is well aware of the pressures his team will be facing.
“We strive to continue the legacy of Rise of the Triad,” stated Nagy. He continued with, “We can’t let our fans down, the memories are too important.”
At this early stage, everything is exactly on point for what we would want out of the revival. The PC game will be available on Steam, will have full modding capability and will feature no DRM. No definitive release date has been announced, although Interceptor stated that they’re aiming for a January 2013 release and a $14.99 price point.
Now, the question remains: is the opportunity to play through Dog Mode in HD enough to bring you back to old-school shooters?