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Rise Of The Triad: Ludicrous Edition (Xbox) Review by DJ MetalWolf

Originally conceived as a follow-up to Wolfenstein 3D entitled ‘Wolfenstein 3D Part 2: Rise Of The Triad’, Rise Of The Triad was originally released in 1995 by legendary developers Apogee Entertainment and became a cult classic amongst gamers and FPS fans. Now, Nightdive Studios and New Blood Interactive, the later being the minds behind the FPS hits ‘Dusk’ and ‘Amid Evil’, have teamed up with Apogee to remaster the game and bring us Rise Of The Triad: Ludicrous Edition, along with bringing it to consoles for the first time. Does this game live up to its boast of ‘Really Cool Explosions’ or should it have stayed a cult hit? Let’s get psyched and find out!

As part of the High-Risk United Nations Task-Force (codenamed H.U.N.T.), you are sent to an island to investigate cult activities, only for their only means of escape to be destroyed. Now, it’s up to the team to fight their way through the cult and put a stop to their nefarious deeds. The plot is pretty simple and feels right at home within the catalog of Cannon Films (Side Note: If you haven’t, please check out the documentary ‘Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films’) but, hey, it’s an early 90's shooter. You shouldn't expect storytelling on the same level of modern shooters like Prey. What is here gets the job done and that job is to give you a reason and excuse to be blowing cultists to Tartarus. Something that did surprise me was, unlike other shooters from the era, you actually have multiple characters to play as, with each one offering noticeable stat differences, like one character can take more hits while one may be faster, and some incredible names, like Taradino Cassatt and Ian Paul Freeley.

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Graphically, the game is a good looking title and the sprite work is nice, though a lot of the levels do end up feeling samey and I found myself getting lost most of the time, even with using the in-game map. One level in particular took me forever to complete, due to not realizing there was a hidden switch I had to hit, no thanks to said switch disappearing and reappearing repeatedly.

The weapon selection is where this game really shines. Outside of your base Walther PPK pistol, which you can dual-wield, and a MP40, there are various rocket launchers you can acquire to really bring the hurt on. From your basics like a bazooka and heat-seeking rocket launcher to the ludicrous like a split-missile and very handy flame wall to the down-right silly with the drunk missile launcher, all the explosive weapons are fun to use and do show off the, like the back of the box said, ‘really cool explosions’. The only drawback is that you can’t restock your ammo for the weapons, so if you, say, run over to pick up a FlameWall to restock, you’ll drop the current one and pick up the new one and vice versa.

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However, that’s not all the weapons you can get as there are special power-ups you can get your hands on as well, though some are more useful than others. For example, there’s the Excalibat, a magically infused baseball bat, ‘God Mode’ which turns you into a literal deity that can disintegrate any and all enemies in one hit, all the while yawning to show that this is nothing new to them and, probably the best power-up in the entire game: DOG MODE. Once collected, you literally become a dog, manimal style, and can go all Cujo on the oppressors. I even love that the mode includes some cute touches, like how the dog will occasionally lick its snout or raise its paw to attack. There are two, though, I will admit, I didn’t see the purpose of being in the game, those being Shrooms mode, which actually got me a bit queasy as it causes the screen to go all funky and psychedelic, and Elasto, which makes your character bounce off the walls and such.

RotT_Wizard

I do have some minor issues with Rise Of The Triad, the biggest being the maze-like structure of some of the levels. They all involve hunting for keys to unlock doors which I usually don’t mind, but here it was frustrating at times. Some levels, I found myself repeating an area multiple times, only to find where I needed to go was because of a hidden floor switch that kept phasing in and out or because I didn’t realize I could ‘push’ a pillar away (by ‘push’, I mean hitting the interact button on the pillar in a specific area in order to move it). I also found it was pretty easy to get stuck in level geometry, leading to plenty of restarts as I couldn’t wiggle my character out.

The enemies, I feel, are manageable but some are really tanky and, if you don’t have any rockets, will take a long time to kill, especially the LMG carriers. Actually, that does lead to one thing I really want to praise the game for and that is that the AI is surprisingly really good! While some will simply move around and shoot, there were some that actually rolled away to avoid fire (something I don’t think I saw in an early 90’s shooter at all) and there is one enemy who plays dead and waits for you to get close in order to get the jump on you. Again, for an early 90’s shooter to have this level of good A.I is surprising, well to me at least.

Something else I’ll praise? The music. My god, the music. I love this game’s soundtrack. Each track has this distinct 80’s metal feel to them and fits the overall cheesy tone of this game. Heck, some of them even sounded like they’d fit in well with the N64 game Goldeneye 007! I even surprisingly love the slower paced and ambient songs. Also, I found out that Judas Priest’s latest album ‘Invincible Shield’ (Which is a kick-ass album, by the way) actually fits well with the game, much to my surprise. Any game that can play well with your own soundtrack as well as the in-game soundtrack instantly gets +10 in my book!

I’m just gonna flat out say it: Rise Of The Triad: Ludicrous Edition is fun, pure and simple. I enjoyed every minute of my playtime with the game and I can easily see myself coming back and replaying the game in the future. It’s not a perfect game, mind you, and I do see some of the issues I had with the game being bigger problems for others. But, trust me, if you can look past those issues, Rise Of The Triad: Ludicrous Edition is a ludicrously fun game.


GF Final Review Scores:

RotT GF ReviewScores

Huge thanks to the publishers for providing us with the review copy!

DJ MetalWolf
Author: DJ MetalWolf
About Author:
Wolf who loves Heavy metal and video games! My Throne - https://throne.com/djmetalwolf
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