The Compleat Retro Shooter thread

Played a little of the Graven demo. So far I’m liking it, it feels very much like Hexen, and has that chunky melee feel about it too. It’s quite dark and hard to play during the day so I’ll try again later. The default walking speed is a bit too slow, the running speed is almost too fast, but I’ll get used to it. The only thing I don’t like is the obligatory intro where you drift on a boat slowly through a drab looking swamp while a guy who sounds just like Deckard Cain from Diablo 3 drawls reaaaallly sloooooowly at you in an annoyingly fake old man voice.

That sounds like the Half Life intro. It was neat the first time, but god, how I hate sitting through that thing.

Prodeus is very, very good, thanks again Krayzkrok! I can’t stand Doom’s glory kills, I generally hate press this button to kill mechanics so I only have 10 hrs in the 2016 game and I skipped the new one. Prodeus captures the 1993 magic and all the additions improved the gameplay massively for me.

I love Prodeus. Make sure you try the user level called “Truck Surfer”. It’s something! Just shows what crazy shit you can do with the editor.

Played more Graven. Had to start over as no saves in this demo, but breezed through the first section now I know what I’m doing. Yeah, it feels like Hexen but with a Quake engine vibe. (so Hexen II then, although I never played that one). It’s also very open once you get past the initial section, opening up so much I got completely lost! There’s a vendor in town that sells a sword that’s affordable after some exploration, but there’s no way I could find my way back there to buy it (there doesn’t appear to be an automap). The game starts handing out some projectile weapons after a while, but ammo is scarce AF. I’m hoping that’s a balancing issue. Also despite its appearance the framerate tanks at times (eg. I electrified a bunch of zombies and set them on fire, 17 fps!) but again probably just optimization.

There’s a stamina meter of some kind, so most of the time you’re walking around quite slowly, but sprint chews up your stamina really fast. I hope they adjust that, or at least speed up the walking. There are various weapons but also a spellbook. Although you can use the low level spells it gives you offensively, they seem more useful as environmental triggers so far. Setting the aforementioned zombies on fire and electrocuting them seemed to do bugger all other than slow them down.

It looks pretty good in places too, the aesthetic is right but also not just ugly-ass browns.

Anyway I was having a good time with it, so I’d pick it up on release. The demo works for another couple of days I think, check it out.

Just wanted to ping this thread too and say what a joy Wrath is to play. Maybe the best of all the retro shooters I’ve played.

I guess now that Graven is trying to be like Half-Life era shooters, I should add that as a category:

Duke Nukem 3D

I feel like the 97 through 99 era of shooters finally were the dividing line where we went from nearly pure shooters to something more.

I wonder if in the future, people will make retro style shooters in categories like “Crysis-like” or “Gears of War/Rainbow Six Vegas style” or “Halo-style” or “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare-style retro shooter”.

Well, Heretic is kinda a Doom clone, so it’s strange to give it a different category.

I feel like Doom was more a pure shooter category, whereas Hexen/Heretic were more themed. Similarly I felt like Quake was more of a pure shooter category whereas the Duke/Build games were more themed, trying to bring more context beyond just shooting.

Curious why you felt that, I got heavy Hexen vibes from it, more open maps, key searching, more melee focus, plus the general gothic vibe.

The appropriately brown-tinged shooter HROT is releasing its first episode next week. I quite enjoyed the time-limited demo they put out last year. It’s running on a custom engine and plays like a long-lost FPS developed by a talented Russian team, ala Chasm: The Rift.

I unironically loved that game.

It was super short but had lots of nifty features for the time like area-specific gibs. I still love the way it looks. I had no idea that the team went on to make Cryostasis!

The thing I remember most about Chasm: The Rift is that it all took place on a completely flat surface. No variation in ground level. No hills or ramps even, that I recall. Of course, I could be misremembering too.

But I did have fun with it.

Oh jumping Jesus K. Christ – Proteus is just the game you want when you need to absolutely Cover the Earth [tm] with gore, and feel like a total badass doing it.

Fixed that for you.

Ohhh, you’re talking about Prodeus! ;-)

I say potado you say potato

Anyway, I guess that there’s more than a little Brutal Doom DNA in Prodeus, and 1 to 1 enemy types with classic Doom, but it tickles the crap out me more than either

Hrot’s available now with a 15% discount.


Here we go with my unprompted “Boomer Shooter” roundup. My interest in Boomer Shooters runs to the old-school, straightforward stuff - none of the goofier “roguelikes” or smeary pixel art experiments that are out there.

  • Dusk: the best of the bunch. The presentation isn’t attempting to mimic anything but lo-fi, and while simple, has a a coherent art style. Everything about this shooter is good – the fluid movement, the weapons, the enemies – but what sets it apart is a level design that is never afraid to fuck with you in imaginative ways without being ever being lazy, gimmicky, or unfair. This shooter is a work of passion created by a designer with their own vision who handpicked the best part of old shooters and then added their own secret sauce. The only one of these shooters I powered through start-to-finish without any other long breaks. Nothing ever annoyed me about this game – even the boss fights, which generally annoy the hell out of me in other shooters – raised my ire.

  • Ion Fury: you wanted Duke 3D v3.999999? You got it. Level design is uniformly fantastic, pushing the creaky Build engine to limits we could have never imagined back in 1996. Gameplay-wise… well, like I said, it’s DN3D v3.99999. The weapon loadout is blasé (although the Loverpistol’s secondary is a lovely crutch), with nothing like Duke’s Expander, Freeze-Ray, or even trip mines. And where’s the f’ing ROCKET LAUNCHER??? Enemies are also similarly unimaginative, with an overuse of annoying little bastards (the headspiders and ESPECIALLY the little green floaty things). Essentially an extension of what made DN3D great, I figure this is the best Build engine game ever made (although efforts like Alien Armageddon & AMC come close).

  • Prodeus: (prerelease). It’s Brutal Doom 3D. This is not a bad thing. The torturous sprite tricks (I can’t imagine the pain of having to pre-render all those monster sprite viewing angles!) are amazing. I honestly don’t have much to add; the weapons are basically Doom’s, and the monsters are almost direct representations of Doom’s bestiary. Again, not a bad thing. These are all known, time-proved commodities that still work perfect fine in 20xx. True to its roots, it has absolutely the best, most completely insane gore system I’ve seen. Definitely produces the highest rate of “FUCK YEAH” utterances of any of these games.

  • Amid Evil: I can’t be fair to this game, and I honestly don’t know why I picked it up (thanks, Civvie11!) Why? I didn’t like Heretic, or Hexen, or any other “fantasy shooter”. I just don’t like the esthetic or shooting things from wands. So I didn’t much like Amid Evil, either, even though there is absolutely zero wrong with it and even has a kind of Painkiller demon mode mechanic. And one of your weapons shoots entire planets (stars in demon mode). Other than that, it’s competent as hell and you should probably play it.

  • WRATH (prerelease): First impressions: holy cats, did the designers work really hard to make the old Quake 1 engine spit out graphics that look just like Unreal 1 graphics. And, holy cats, yeah, this is a big-boy shooter for l33t sh00t3r nerds. I mean, after a short intro to knife-jumping and some lumbering zombie-whacking, you’re immediately thrown into a big area with only a crap pistol against some heavy-hitters. You can tell that the designers want to punish players whose shooter skills aren’t up to snuff. Smooth, fast, punishing gameplay. I haven’t gotten too far into this one yet thanks to the immediate difficulty spike, but if want badass bragging rights, I guess this is the one to champion.

TL;DR: all five of these are good, for different reasons, all with gameplay mechanics firmly rooted in the Golden Age of 90s shooters, before Quake III’s engine ruined shooters for over a decade.

Oh nice. Thanks for the write-ups.