Approaching the monastary under the cover of night, Andrew Bryant prepares to unleash hell.
Summer 1995 – A 16-year-old boy was in a computer store with his dad getting his first PC (a 386SX 40Mhz). The summer intern was playing the ROTT shareware episode (The H.U.N.T. begins) and it’s safe to say the rest was history.
Rise of the Triad is the pseudo-sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, the game that essentially started the FPS genre. Chronicling the hyper-violent escapades of a 5 member team of the H.U.N.T. (High-risk United Nations Taskforce) sent to investigate paramilitary activity at an island-based cult off the coast of the US. Mere minutes into the mission, the groups escape route is destroyed and when only one course of action presents itself, that course of action must be taken.
What follows is a veritable tour-de-force of violence, innovation and floating anti-grav platforms – Whilst initially gifted with basic projectile weaponry and standard launchers such as bazookas and heat-seeking missiles, the game quickly steps up a gear and starts throwing more innovative tools of destruction, culminating in the mighty Firewall & Firebomb weapons, both of which literally obliterate rooms of hostile guards, frequently resulting in showers of meaty chunks that continue to fall as you step over smouldering corpses and continue your mission.
The innovation does not stop there, as the game contains such features as limited weapon load-outs (not properly seen again until the more realistic Medal of Honour games), subterfuge (wounded guards will feign death, only to shoot you in the back as you pass moments later), unique character statistics (not seen at that point outside of RPGs) and obscure and self-deprecating power ups such as God Mode, which casts your character as a Aryan superhuman who throws homing balls of energy at the massed enemies whilst yawning loudly in his/her boredom.
It’s pretty hard to see how ROTT passed under as many radars as it did, seeing as its game play was more sophisticated than Doom (despite using an older engine), the innovation more pronounced and the whole game just having a great sense of… well, fun!
Rise of the Triad: Dark War is available from Good Old Games.com for $5.99