Enough of this scattershot crap. The time has come for one Retro Shooter Thread To Rule Them All.
There is a renaissance happening. The Gen X’ers remember a time when “first person shooter” meant “run fast, and shoot things in the face”. No chest-high walls. No regenerating health. No quest arrows. No glacial movement speeds. No endless expository elements. Just you, your WSAD and mouse, and your twitch skills.
Doom (2016) is not part of this renaissance. Nor is Doom Eternity. Some claim they are throwbacks to shooters of yore, but they are not. They are shooters as viewed through the vaseline-smeared lenses of millennials who expect shooters to have mechanics beyond shooting monsters and not being shot in return.
Dusk (2018) is exceptional. It is fan-service-y as hell to Gen X’ers for one, starting right off the bat with the various graphic options. The presentation is deliberately and unironically retro. And it moves like a cat with a cattle prod applied to its ass. You move, and you shoot. Also, notably, you do not simply run backwards; unlike Serious Sam and its braindead open arenas, Dusk puts you in locations that have actually been designed to impact your play and make you respond accordingly.
And all of the weapons are projectiles. No hitscan bullshit. Which means the player must dodge projectiles. The monsters are a little meh, reminding me more of Blood rejects, but act like they should (meaning you can hitlock them with fast-firing weapons).
Blocky, chunky, and gibby. Dusk is what all of us thought Quake would be in 2020 when a 4MB 3dFX ruled our world.
Rating: 4.5/5. (.5 taken off simply because Dusk is not System Shock. No games are.)
I want to try Amid Evil next after I finish Dusk.
Ion Maiden/Storm/ChinChin/whatever is not as exceptional. First of all, its a Build engine throwback. Now, I know that eDuke32 et.al. have done amazing things with the old girl… but the old girl was a kludge to begin with. There’s retro (aesthetic) like Dusk, and then there’s old and busted.
Anyway, Ion Maiden is what happens when an engine’s been out for the better part of 25 years. Add some talented designers to that, and you get a pretty nice throwback shooter. Lots of color, lots of gimmicks, and fairly solid shootery. The expected jokes and one-liners are lame, and not ironically lame, just lame. The monsters are, well, dull. I guess they’re cyborgs or something. And they hitscan. Hitscan is such a fucking crutch.
Rating: 3/5. You wanted more super-competent Duke 3D levels in 2020, and you got them. Except you don’t get Duke, or the shrink ray, or stuff like that. And it’s the straight-up Build engine, not a modern engine posing as an old one.
Let’s see, what else.
Ziggurat is cursed with being to ahead of its time. If were released, say, within the last couple of years, I think it would be relevant. It almost falls off the cliff by including upgrades, but, hey, the old Hexen/Heretic sequels did that shit too, so it’s fine, and it doesn’t interrupt things too much. It definitely falls down with the whole “ARA ARA I’M A ROGUELIKE” bullshit that took the world by storm in the naughties. This means samey arena fights in a limited set of arenas. But at least they’re blocky and small enough not to succumb to Serious Sam S-key syndrome. And, if I remember correctly, there’s no hitscan crap.
Rating: 2.5/5. Servicable, decent shooting in bite-size packages, brought down by the usual “ha ha RNG says fuck you” ROUGELIEK RNG masquerading as design.
Alright, I’m said my piece for the moment, and I should be working instead of typing this crap up which brings me no money. That being said, what modern throwback shooters are you enjoying ATM?