Rise of the Triad Review: Prepare To Swear At Your PC
Half of you are going to play Rise of the Triad and feel shocked and ashamed by how spoiled you’ve become by the changes in shooters since the year 2000. The other half are going to play Rise of the Triad and wonder “what the hell is this game’s f*cking problem?”
The only middle ground will be occupied by people who compete in Quake tournaments and consider everything since, say, Call of Duty, to be an abomination, and all modern FPS fans to be hilarious wimps.
The category you fall into will determine, without exception, how much pleasure you get out of Rise of the Triad, Interceptor Entertainment’s enormously difficult, lovingly reconstructed remake of the original 1990s classic of the same name.
I haven’t yelled at my computer this much in a long time. I died constantly in an easy mode that feels like most games’ hardest difficulty. I got frustrated by the imprecision of interactive elements. And in multiplayer, I was subjected to abject humiliation the likes of which I haven’t experienced since high school. But I loved every minute of it. Of course, I also hated it. It’s that kind of game.
Rise Of The Triad:
Developer: Interceptor Entertainment
Publisher: Apogee Software
Released: July 31, 2013
Before you buy your copy of Rise of the Triad — and you should — you need to first ask yourself how easily you can live without gradual healing. Or cover mechanics. Or auto-aim. Or a HUD. If these things are to your FPS enjoyment what water is to not dying from thirst, then Rise of the Triad is going to destroy you. A lot. It’s ’90s hard. Like, as difficult as trying to explain the popularity of Stone Temple Pilots hard. Rise of the Triad requires a lot of patience to complete, and that’s by design. In fact, Interceptor CEO Fred Schreiber said during a multiplayer session that the gaming system he keeps coming back to (besides PC, he was quick to make clear) is the NES, precisely because NES games can be so difficult to complete.
From start to finish, Rise of the Triad is obstinately dedicated to being as difficult as possible. Enemies are pattern-based. In-game interactive elements are difficult to precisely interact with. You have to find health when you get damaged, and you take damage excessively. Checkpoints are absolutely brutal — make it to one and you’ll still find yourself grinding through waves of enemies again and again, often making it nearly to the end of a segment, and having to do it all over again when you’re blown up by your own missile.
If that sounds daunting, it should, but you’ll quickly realize that every time you complete a stage without using a cheat, you’ll feel kind of awesome, if hoarse from yelling.
The single player campaign is much like the original game’s (and many shooters from that era) in that it functions largely as a chance to practice for the multiplayer. The plot is simple: A UN special ops team called H.U.N.T. is sent to San Nicholas Island (part of California’s Channel Islands) to investigate a strange cult based there. The team is attacked, their landing craft destroyed, and they must now fight their way through the cult’s labyrinthine fortresses and stop them before they execute their plan to blow up Los Angeles.