Posts Tagged ‘FPS’

Outlaws Review

Outlaws Featured

Outlaws Boxart

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Platform: PC – GOG*

So, westerns have never really been my “thing.” With that said, I’m surprised at how few video games have ventured into that territory considering how perfect a setup the film genre provides for games. Outlaws plants you in the shoes of James, a retired marshal and family man. As is so painfully typical of these storylines, he returns from a routine trip to find his partner, Anna, dying. He also finds the farmhouse aflame and their daughter kidnapped. James must find where she has been taken and enact revenge along the way.

Once you get over how routinely ham-fisted the storyline is, the gameplay proves quite fun. It’s a FPS based off the same game engine used for Star Wars: Dark Forces. Gameplay is super fast and enemies are everywhere. There’s also a bunch of keys strewn about stages to unlock other parts of each. Outlaws definitely feels like an older style FPS, but the setting is what really captured my interest. And, despite the obvious storytelling, the animated cutscenes sell it effectively.

Outlaws Featured

My biggest issue with Outlaws has nothing to do with the game itself, but with my inability to play more than one stage in a single sitting. It causes my motion sickness to flare up immensely (even with head bobbing turned off). There’s just something about this engine. So, take heed if you suffer from motion sickness as well. It’s a shame, really, because I’ve immensely enjoyed the experience otherwise.

Sometimes it does get a bit tedious. You migh happen to forget where the specific locked door you need is. Other times, cruel cowboys will shoot you from areas you’d never even think to check. But in all, Outlaws is a pretty darn refreshing gameplay experience. That’s really weird to say for a title nearly 20 years old, but apparently it holds up just fine!


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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Blood: One Unit Whole Blood Review

Blood: One Unit Whole Blood Featured

Blood: One Unit Whole Blood Boxart

Developer: Monolith Productions, 3D Realms
Publisher: GT Interactive, Atari
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

Blood: One Unit Whole Blood might just be a game with the most redundant title around. It also happens to be a classic FPS from the 90s. Well, classic to some. I’d always heard murmurings of Blood alongside Doom and Quake but never got around to playing it myself – until now. I’ll tell you one thing, it certainly lives up to its name.

Of course a game called Blood is full of bloodstained nastiness but is there more to it than that? There’s a storyline, although it doesn’t seem to convey very much of interest. The scenes instead seem focused on showcasing awesome 3D models and lighting (awesome for the time, that is). Once you get beyond that it basically devolves into your standard older-style FPS.

Blood: One Unit Whole Blood Featured

Areas are all enclosed, although some are much larger than others. Movement is incredibly fast, almost as if the protagonist is wearing roller blades while decimating enemies. Said weapons are brutal although so are enemies. Even on the easiest difficulty the pace of Blood is fast and never lets up. If you can survive then there are a good deal of “episodes” to play. This is further enhanced by both the GOG and Steam versions including the Plasma Pak and Cryptic Passage expansion packs.

When compared to other games of the time period I feel that Blood was attempting to thematically outdo other games while maintaining a classic aesthetic. It has a neat Gothic feel at times, sure, but otherwise fails to stand out. Blood: One Unit Whole Blood is one of the many average shooters that have graced PCs over the years.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Realms of the Haunting Review

Realms of the Haunting Featured

Realms of the Haunting Boxart

Developer: Gremlin Interactive
Publisher: Interplay, KISS ltd
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

Realms of the Haunting was a game trying its best to straddle two worlds. First, it most certainly wanted to tell a good, creepy story like a classic point and click adventure. However, by 1996 that was a tricky proposition. As such, the title is a first-person shooter although it still maintains many hallmarks of the adventure genre. Everything begins when the protagonist’s father dies.

After this death, his son then seeks to discover what exactly might have been going on before his father’s untimely demise. This leads him to a mansion where the father’s spirit is apparently trapped. You must help to free this spirit by, basically, taking on the great many evil powers which have taken up residence there. Of course you do this with a liberal dose of puzzle solving – and shooting demons.

Puzzles aren’t particularly tough on their own. What makes them a challenge is that players require keen observation skills while exploring. Oh hey, see that slightly discolored tile in the corner of a room? Click it! Players must also pay attention to the fact they can tilt the camera up and down as well. Often, items are hidden below the “forward” line of sight. As long as you’ve got a keen eye it’s possible to make it through most chapters.

Realms of the Haunting Featured

Of course, Realms of the Haunting also has a variety of FPS segments shoved in for good measure. These aren’t usually difficult, especially with large caches of ammo hidden around. It’s worth noting enemies are weak against certain weapons over others. So if one takes a zillion blasts with one weapon try switching to another. Despite all this shooting business, I still feel that the game is primarily steeped in adventure game concepts. This is furthered by the copious FMV cutscenes and dialogue present throughout.

FMV games are often laughed off but in this case the sequences are actually fairly compelling. The story is simplistic but the acting isn’t bad at all. I found myself even looking forward to seeing what would occur next. With that said, it does drag on as it’ll take somewhere around 8 to 10 hours to complete. Realms of the Haunting feels very antiquated with its tank-style control scheme but there’s a pretty intriguing game lurking underneath the surface.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


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Redline Review

Redline Featured

Redline Boxart

Developer: Beyond Games
Publisher: Accolade, Tommo
Platform: PC – GOG*

Were you looking for a hyper violent, ridiculously bloody shooter in the 90s? The market was simply saturated with this stuff! As such, it took GOG’s recent release of Redline for me to even realize this game existed. It appears Redline slipped between the cracks for many players out there. It’s a bit of a shame because the game is actually pretty fun as far as FPSes are concerned.

You start off in the dystopian future of 2066. At this point the world is completely destroyed leaving various factions to fight for supremacy. Without much rhyme or reason, you seek to join one specific gang to help them achieve victory. Doing so involves a ton of firefights over the course of 12 levels.

Redline Featured

Stages are pretty large and often this is to grant access for car use. Aside from running around on your feet as per FPS conventions you can also hop into empty vehicles and drive around. Crushing enemies with your car or utilizing its various weapons add some much-needed uniqueness to Redline. Weapons themselves are not the most creative on the block but do burst enemies into bloody bits.

There’s a bit of story between stages but nothing very enthralling. Visuals are also par for the course of late 90s video games. Controls also fit in with that time period which means they are imperfect. You can rebind them, but that didn’t fix my issue with mouse control. It seemed to not offer complete freedom of aiming which I had to get used to. Perhaps that was just a personal setup issue, though.

Redline will last you at least 3 hours with FPS and vehicular combat fun. It is not the best of its class, but certainly better than some of its bargain bin peers.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


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Rogue Shooter: The FPS Roguelike

Rogue Shooter: The FPS Roguelike Featured

Rogue Shooter: The FPS Roguelike

Developer: Hippomancer
Publisher: Hippomancer
Platform: PC – Steam

Rogue Shooter: The FPS Roguelike is a brand new video game with the heart of something released in the early 90s. All you have to do is look at one crude screenshot and nearly believe this is lost FPS shovelware. If you can get past the ridiculous visuals, there is one heck of a compelling game to dig into.

As the name implies, Rogue Shooter combines retro 3D FPS stylings with roguelike elements. These include randomly generated levels, a perk system, restart upon death, destructable weapons and armor, and tough bunches of enemies. As you progress through the 100 floors (50 on easy), you’ll check out a wide variety of weapons. Some are pretty average while others, such as a gun that shoots out goofy dogs, verge on the hilarious.

Rogue Shooter: The FPS Roguelike Featured

Although all perks are deleted after a death, there is an overarching upgrade system that carries over between playthroughs. You can use it to increase health, attack power, and inventory slots. Getting enough points for these upgrades takes a while but the fun gameplay makes accumulating enough intel manageable.

If you did not enjoy games like the original DOOM, Quake, or even knock-offs like Chex Quest then Rogue Shooter isn’t likely to please you either. However, it doesn’t exist to simply cash in on nostalgia. Playing is tremendously fun once you get accustomed to retro elements such as no ability to aim your gun up or down. I wholeheartedly recommend this oddball game to anyone who harbors a crush on 3D FPS games of yesteryear or unique roguelikes.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


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SiN Gold Review

SiN Gold Featured

SiN Boxart

Developer: Ritual Entertainment
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PC – GOG*

SiN is a very unusual game with an interesting history. Back in the 90s, people were quickly being spoiled with first person shooters. Little did players of the time realize that a landmark title was about to launch in 1998 – Half-Life. Poor SiN also wanted to be that next great game but knew they would have to compete against Valve’s creation. So, they rushed to complete the project and ship it just a few days before Half-Life’s launch. Despite that, it was SiN that ended up as a footnote in FPS history.

It’s a bit of a shame considering SiN did a lot of neat things. The storyline is mostly adequate, dealing with a main character named John Blade, corporations, and evil people with power. Yeah, it’s not the most incredible tale ever but it handles itself well as a hokey b-movie style creation. Most of what makes it impressive is purely gameplay-based.

The shooting is solid and even shows the specific damage inflicted on enemies (mostly). For example, shooting a guy in the chest will tear off a bit of the shirt and cause a mess. Shooting in the legs will make them crumple as if their legs were really injured. Overall, firefights are intense but fun. It also helps that there’s a wide variety of weapons to mess around with. Another very neat feature is the level of control given to players for accessing computers to mess with security systems and otherwise hack stuff. It doesn’t feel like a minigame so much as actually interfacing with a simplified computer which is weird but very neat.

SiN Gold Featured

As with many FPSes of the time, SiN utilizes its own random control scheme. Okay, it’s not random, but would not be considered standard today. Buttons are mapped often to correlate to what letter the word starts with. For example, the action of talking to other players being mapped to T. However, this applies to most of the functions meaning you’ll have to learn the goofy specific controls. Or, you can rebind any and all keys but it seemed like more trouble than it was worth to just get accustomed to them.

Although it was once available on Steam alongside SiN Episodes, it can now only be purchased digitally via GOG. On that storefront it includes the Wages of Sin mission pack. There’s a lot that feels really weird about SiN Gold but it’s also a pretty competent shooter. Those who love the genre today owe it to themselves to check out more obscure titles such as this one.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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Postal 2 Complete Review

Postal 2 Featured

Postal 2 Boxart

Developer: Running With Scissors
Publisher: Running With Scissors
Platform: PC – Desura, DirectGOG*, Green Man Gaming, Steam

For better or for worse, Postal 2 is one of the games that people know about even if they’ve never played it. The original postal aroused suspicion and excitement in the gaming community, but not nearly as much as its sequel would. With an ad campaign proclaiming it was only “as violent as you want to be” it was pretty hard to ignore.

Postal 2 tells the story of Postal Dude’s life from Monday to Friday (and Saturday/Sunday if you play Apocalypse Weekend). He’s got the same problems that we all do. He has to run go to work (and get fired), cash a check (with a long line at the bank), and simply make it through the week without, well, going postal. Apparently you can actually make it through the week as a complete pacifist, but every step of the way the game is trying to make you act violently.

The best method of completing it is also through violence. Otherwise, it just seems an increasingly difficult experience. After completing any task, gun wielding NPCs always come charging in for no apparent reason. Firefights like these are tough to survive without taking down enemies yourself. In any case, the experience is all rather simplistic. Each day you will walk to locations, complete a task, get attacked, and then proceed forward. What Running With Scissors hoped to accomplish was keeping players entertained thanks to the wacky world and characters.

Postal 2 Featured

Paradise, Arizona is anything but its namesake. Instead, it takes on all the worst facets of American culture. Outward racism, extreme violence, homophobia, and more hang around every corner. Quite frankly, it’s incredibly off-putting to me and probably would be to many other modern players. Seeing a shop plainly labelled “Queers”, men in turbans who wreak havoc on a church, and everything else is incredibly disconcerting. In a way, Postal 2 perfectly lampoons how screwed up America can be with hate, but seems to have too much fun glorifying the issues. Jokes pertaining to O.J. Simpson, hanging chads, and Heaven’s Gate are also (expectedly) dated.

Gameplay certainly functions but it’s tougher than you might expect. Honestly, I’d suggest going the cheat code route if you really want to enjoy the game. Otherwise it is quite the chore. Postal 2 Complete offers the Share the Pain multiplayer expansion but good luck finding a multitude of players to use it with. Apocalypse Weekend is a worthwhile expansion if you need more days with Postal Dude. Postal 2 serves mostly as an example of a very strange point in gaming history.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Terror in Christmas Town Review

Terror in Christmas Town Featured

Terror in Christmas Town Logo

Developer: Michael Zerbo
Publisher: Michael Zerbo
Platform: PC – Direct

Back when DOOM was huge everyone wanted to jump in on the shooter craze. Pie in the Sky was a program which let users create their own 3D FPS titles. One game that utilized this software went by the name of Terror in Christmas Town. As the name implies, it is a shooter but with a Christmas theme.

Although there are elves, seals, and Eskimos dotting the landscape, there are also bunches of mean bears out to get you. How do you stop them? Simply pick up a shotgun or a rocket launcher! Because this is a game based around a holiday, however, using these weapons doesn’t render a big, bloody mess. Instead, the bears turn into smiling snowmen. Your own health is represented by a melting snowman. It’s kind of cute/creepy.

Terror in Christmas Town Featured

The game plays like what you would expect from a DOOM clone, except it has a more robust inventory system. But beyond that, it’s a pretty dull experience. There was no audio in game when I played, although there was an initial sound clip upon loading the game, so I’m not sure what that means. But without any sound at all, the experience is far lonelier. It’s also annoying to not hear bears roar or something to know that one has suddenly snuck up behind you.

Terror in Christmas Town is an interesting effort but there’s not much to it. The Christmas theme at least makes it stand out against other Pie in the Sky-made games, but why play it when you can just grab the genuine artifact?


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Deadfall Adventures Review

Deadfall Adventures Featured

Deadfall Adventures

Developer: The Farm 51
Publisher: Nordic Games
Platform: PC – GamersGate, Steam Xbox 360

In film’s long history, there has never been as humorous and attractive an archaeologist as Indiana Jones. But what about when it comes to games? Well, we could consider Lara Croft and Nathan Drake as riffs on the formula, but neither is exactly the same. Deadfall Adventures attempts to create a new iconic figure with James Lee Quatermain as he embarks on a journey to find a relic known as The Heart of Atlantis.

The story is pretty predictable, with hammy lines and characters. It seems the developers created it with this in mind as an attempt to create a plainly fun experience. As it turns out, the action-adventure FPS isn’t bad, but it’s not the next must have title either. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the features injected to make it “more” than a standard FPS add a little bit.

Deadfall Adventures Featured

Mainly, there are puzzles and treasures to find when not in the midst of firefights. Puzzles range from completely easy to ones that might make players think a bit. But only a little (at least on easy or normal puzzle difficulty). Deadfall Adventures has an included hint system via James’ notebook so you’re never completely stranded. As for treasures, they seem inconsequential until you realize they’re used as currency for player upgrades. Stopping the task at hand to doggedly search a location for treasure is not particularly fun, considering how hard they hide the pieces at times.

FPS segments themselves work but not in a way we’ve never seen before. They’re mostly average, but a few drag on longer than they need to thanks to undead enemy types. Mummies end up appearing a lot to hinder progress and they’re actually immortal – unless you shine light on them. The player is always equipped with a flashlight but seeing an enemy burn up into bits is only cool the first few times. After that, it’s a little annoying to not be able to simply take them down the same as other enemies.

Deadfall Adventures Screenshot

Where the game shines most is in the visual department. It looks good and makes sure to showcase a variety of interesting locales. Considering how the game brings you to locations such as Egyptian and Mayan temples, it would be a total shame if the graphics weren’t up to par. Non-human enemies were also given interesting designs, which is much appreciated. The same can’t be said for James and his gruff, stubble-faced self, unfortunately.

Still, it is interesting to see a game come out that isn’t simply iterating on what has already existed in spades. There aren’t many games that feature treasure hunting  and definitely few FPS titles that include a sizable amount of puzzles. What it comes down to is Deadfall Adventures being a strangely unexciting experience. Overall, Deadfall Adventures wasn’t my cup of tea but it deserves credit for being different.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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