Video Game: Rise of the Triad aka: Rise Ofthe Triad
RSAC Advisory: Contains wanton and gratuitous violence.
Rise of the Triad is a First-Person Shooter released by Apogee Software in 1994. There's a story, involving a United Nations special operations team sent to investigate suspicious cult activity on a remote island, but you wouldn't know it unless you read the manual. Like most early FPS's, it's all about shooting anything that moves and picking up anything that doesn't. Rise of the Triad introduced a number of gameplay innovations, many of which have become common in the FPS genre: elevated platforms, jumping, sneaky enemies that play dead and steal your weapons, areas full of poison gas, a plethora of different missile weapons, adjustable violence levels with a password lockout, breakable windows, bullet damage to walls, selectable player characters with varying abilities, and extensive multiplayer support.In an era where "online gaming" meant two people playing head-to-head over a direct modem link, Rise of the Triad offered 11-way multiplayer games over a local area network (a dedicated server is required for more than eight players.) The game supports a number of multiplayer variants, including basic deathmatch, several variations of "tag", a race to collect the most treasure in the least amount of time, and "Capture the Triad" - the first implementation of Capture the Flag in a first person shooter. Each mode offered a number of adjustable options to further customize gameplay. The game didn't support this newfangled Internet thing, just Novell NetWare, so the only way most people could enjoy an 11-player fragfest was to take over an office or academic computer lab after hours.The adjustable violence setting allows the player to select from four levels of gore: the self-explanatory None, small spurts of blood on Some, big damage causing enemies to turn into a little pile of mush on A Lot, and the default setting of Excessive, which can occasionally result in Ludicrous Gibs. An "engine killing gibs" cheat existed that, when enabled, would caused exploded enemies to spew hundreds of pounds of gibs that would fly across the room.Interestingly, the shareware and "registered" (full retail) releases of the game have no single-player levels in common (the retail version did include the multiplayer levels from the shareware version). Apogee sold three different versions of the game: a basic floppy-disk version, a CD version that included additional levels and other bonus material, and a Site License CD version. The Site License version allowed for installation on up to 11 computers and included multiplayer levels designed for big games, a signed license certificate "suitable for framing", and 11 individual license cards. Apogee also sold a bonus pack that added some of the CD bonus content to the floppy-disk version of the game. The full version of ROTT supports user-made levels. Additionally, the bonus pack includes the RANDROTT random level generator which can generate a set of up to 100 levels for either single-player or multiplayer.Unfortunately for Apogee, Rise of the Triad hit the streets over a year after Id Software (who formerly used Apogee as a publisher) had rewritten the PC gaming rulebook with Doom. Originally pitched as a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, ROTT was built using its Game Engine and, like its progenitor, only supported walls laid out on a square grid at 90-degree angles to each other. Although staircases and bridges could be built using floating platforms (and players could go both under and over a bridge, which you could not do in Doom), the floor and ceiling heights throughout each level were fixed. Jumping was only possible through the use of fixed jump-pads. Next to Doom, which featured walls at any angle, variable floor and ceiling heights, and dynamic lighting effects, ROTT looked dated. However, despite being graphically behind the times, it was still a damn fun game.Apogee/3D Realms have since released the source code to the game and there is at least one enhanced Win32 port of the game available. You will need the original data files (which remain copyrighted) to play it, though. (The data files for the shareware version are still available for free.)A reboot, developed by Interceptor Entertainment (who also made Duke Nukem 3D Reloaded), was released July 31st, 2013. Trailer here.Multiplayer footage showcasing the weapons, levels and soundtrack here. Preorders for the new game were rewarded with the Apogee Throwback bundle, which included the original Rise of the Triad titles, as well as both of the Blake Stone titles.
Looks like the only way out is in.
Added Alliterative Appeal: "Monk Meal", "Priest Porridge". Picking up explosive weapons will give you messages like "You Have a Heat-Seeker!" or "You Bagged a Bazooka!"
Altum Videtur: El Oscuro in the original spat out angry, nonsensical Latin at you ("eat your veggies", among them).
Ass Shove: According to a loading screen in the remake, the Monk Crystal healing items are suppositories.
Attackable Pickup: The Priest Porridge, which can be turned into a more effective Priest Porridge Hot with a carefully aimed explosion. The remake lets you do this to Monk Meal as well.
Batter Up: The magical Excalibat weapon. The reboot gives it an ominous-looking demonic eye that keeps fidgeting around as you hold it.
The stuff El Oscuro says when you fight him is actual Latin; phrases include "Deus tuus sum" ("I am your god") and "Mundus tuus morietur" ("Your world will die").
A sound clip that was cut from the game (you can find it on the game CD or the downloadable ROTT Goodies Pack), intended to have been played when Snake Oscuro sees you, apparently translates to "Eat Your Veggies".
Camp Gay: Krist in the remake has a prissy lisp and threatens to sodomize you, man or woman.
Cool Chair: Sebastian Krist. His chair shoots rockets and mines. In the remake it also flies and has an energy shield.
Cross Over: With the Shadow Warrior reboot. ROTT gets Lo Wang as a playable character, while Shadow Warrior gets an Excalibat skin for the katana.
Death by Cameo: Tom Hall plays El Oscuro, the final boss of the game. Also, all of the digitized sprites are made from 360 degree photos of Apogee staff in costume, most of whom worked on the game. The remake does the same with Interceptor's staff.
Denser and Wackier: While the original was over-the-top, it was, at least, mildly serious. The remake features oodles of Borderlands 2-style humor, featuring smart-ass remarks upon death, various tasteless jokes from the prisoners, a buttload of pop culture references, Thi making suggestive noises each time she jumps, and much more.
God Mode's noises were inspired by John Romero making what he considered "God-Like Sounds" whenever he played Rise of the Triad in God Mode.
Apogee president Scott Miller's head appears in a secret area in episode 2, level 3. If you collect it, you get 2,764,331 points, a reference to Apogee's order number at the time.
The three DIP balls found throughout the game reference the dev team, nicknamed the "Developers of Incredible Power".
The character Doug Wendt is named after one of the developers' dogs.
The names of three protagonists come directly from the DoomBible
Die, Chair! Die!: ROTT is quite possibly the first First-Person Shooter to have environmental objects that could be destroyed, featuring breakable glass, barrels that randomly contained weapons and other goodies, and stuff like torches and coins getting shot out. One of the end-of-level bonuses is for destroying all the plants on a level.
The level "Krist Cross" in Extreme Rise of the Triad makes you fight two Krists at once, although you only need to defeat one to finish the level. This applies to any other custom level with multiple bosses.
Digitized Sprites: All of the actor sprites are scanned in images of Apogee staff in costume. The turrets and robots, including the NME, are scanned in images of steel models.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Bad Ending, obtained if you didn't destroy all of El Oscuro's larvae in the final stage before taking him down. More like "A Bunch Of Small Kabooms Over the Picture of Earth Used for the Apogee Logo", seeing as the planet never actually shatters on screen, but it's implied. Fortunately, the game immediately warps you back to the final level to rectify your oversight.
Easy-Mode Mockery: The game insults you for the two lowest difficulty settings. One of the possible names for the lowest one is "I am a chew toy" with a picture of a doll in a dog's mouth, while the second-lowest is "Will of iron, knees of jello," with a picture depicting a dollop of smelted iron on a cube of jello.
Elite Mooks/Heavily Armored Mook: The heavily armored Triad Enforcers; they have a heavily damaging, lead-spewing M60 and can toss grenades as well. They can take several dozen bullets before dying, but a few rockets to the face will deal with them quite nicely.
Eye Scream: The idle animation for the Excalibat in the reboot/remake is your character trying to poke it in the eye. They get shocked for their troubles.
Excuse Plot: An evil cult being funded by a movie company (!?) is going to blow up L.A. and you have to Kill 'em All to prevent it. And then the expansion's plot is that when you killed the Big Bad, he rewound time so that the events of the main game never happened and you get to do the whole thing again, only now they sure know you're coming.
God Mode: Lampshaded. Accessible through an in-game powerup as well as the usual cheat code, God Mode doesn't just make you invincible, it also makes you ten-feet tall (but not in the remake) and capable of firing blasts of energy from your bare hands that can disintegrate everything in the room with your character making godlike bellowing noises all the while. There's also a Dog Mode that transforms you into an invincible (except in the remake's multiplayer), two-feet tall dog capable of firing a deadly supersonic bark.
Goomba Stomp: You can kill any non-boss character this way, including other players.
Guide Dang It: The "Bonus Bonus" End-of-stage bonus, which can only be obtained on very few specific stages, including exactly ONE stage in The HUNT Begins. Getting it requires getting every other end-of-level bonus in the game (not just the ones "possible" in the level, EVERY one), which means the level must have a powerup, health item, pushwall, plant, firewall (one from an earlier level can be brought), life item, healing basin.... The game was released in 1994. The only Bonus Bonus obtained on video to date went up in 2009. Even with the guide, it's still difficult to obtain, and thus it was never noticed that the game would crash if you got that bonus.
Guilt-Based Gaming: Try and quit, and it will throw up a picture of a syringe, cyanide tablet, electric chair, etc, and say "Press Y to inject, swallow, throw the switch..."
Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There are three lists of four names used by the game (only one of which is present in the shareware version) and which list is used is randomly selected every time the difficulty selection screen shows up.
I Surrender, Suckers: If you damage some mooks (namely, Low Guards and the MP-40 wielding goons), they'll drop to their knees and start begging for you not to shoot him (despite the gore, this is what really got the game a higher RSAC rating for violence than Doom). It's a trick, though; if you choose not to kill him, he'll play possum for a little while, and then get back up and keep attacking you.
Taradino Cassatt is Interceptor Entertainment CEO Frederik Schreiber.
Thi Barrett is former adult film star Misti Dawn.
IP Freely is Interceptor executive producer/lead level designer Daniel Hedjazi.
Lorelei Ni is Vivian Nagy, wife of Apogee Software CCO Terry Nagy.
High Guards are based on Interceptor lead character artist Chris Pollitt.
Lightning Guards are based on Interceptor lead 3D artist Nick Quackenbush.
Triad Enforcers are Interceptor employee Stefan Madsen.
Monks are Interceptor employee Asle Høeg-Mikkelsen.
General Darian is Terry Nagy.
Sebastian Krist is Joe Siegler, reprising his role from the original.
The rest of the characters are a mix of different faces.
Doug Wendt is the only character not modeled after a real person.
Interface Spoiler: In the remake, any of the human enemies can play dead (not just the Lightning Guard like in the original, and they'll do it without begging for mercy first too). But since the HUD displays how many enemies you've killed in the last few seconds (for score multiplier purposes), you can tell when they're faking it because that number won't go up.
Ironic Echo: During the fight with General Darian in the reboot, one of his taunts is that he'll "bury you in a lunchbox". Guess what the name of the achievement you get for killing him is.
Joke Level: Several, which can generally only be reached with the level warp cheat:
"The Vomitorium", consisting of a couple of huge rooms chock-full of Shroom and Elasto items and a bunch of glowing walls with "YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE" written on them. If you manage to find the flying GAD that takes out out of the main room, you'll find a boss fight against the NME in extremely close quarters, which is impossible to win without cheating.
"This Causes An Error!", a tiny room with a moving wall that moves off the edge of the map, crashing the game (after showing a drawing of the wall leaping out of the level and shouting "I'M FREE!").
"The Grand Vomitorium" from Extreme Rise of the Triad, which starts out like the original Vomitorium, but instead of an NME fight it has a series of outdoor areas where you have to avoid various obstacles trying to push you off the map. It's theoretically winnable without cheating, but one area has a series of GADs which spell out the not-too-subtle message "CHEAT NOW".
The remake has "Escape from the Vomitorium", which again starts out like the original Vomitorium, but ends with a series of Platform Hell jumping puzzles...and Checkpoint Starvation is in full effect - you die, you start the whole level over. If you manage to reach the end, you get eaten by the Dopefish.
Limited Loadout: the player can hold at one time any number of the infinite-ammo bullet weapons (of which there are three: single pistol, dual pistols, and machine gun) and only one of the limited-ammo missile/magic weapons. The remake lets you have both a missile and a magic weapon at the same time, and also gives you a knife for melee attacks and cutting through the Overpatrol's net (whereas in the original you had to find the knife and could only use it once before having to find another one).
Macross Missile Massacre: The Drunk Missile weapon fires five missiles at once that initially are unguided, but can home in on one poor sucker. The results in a room full of bad guys can be quite messy. Somewhat less in number is the Split Missile, which, if charged, homes in on enemies.
Malevolent Architecture: Count how many kinds of booby traps there are in Rise of the Triad. Pushwalls, flaming pushwalls, shrooms in a jar, boulders, lava pits, shredders, up-'n-down shredders, ceiling shredders, flamethrowers, floor flamethrowers...
The Many Deaths of You: Get crushed by a flaming wall, get set on fire (as the camera spins around you before you explode), jump off the map or impale yourself on an iron-wrought fence, get shot to death, gassed, accidentally blow yourself up...
Meaningless Lives: Spending a life just sends you back to the beginning of the level - when you can just load up your last save. The remake does away with lives entirely; the ankh coins that counted towards extra lives in the original are still in the game, but give you points instead.
If you fail to destroy all the larvae in the final level before killing the boss, you destroy El Oscuro... but decades later, one of his spawn comes to power and explodes the Earth. But nice job, anyway. You are also treated to a charming snippet:
"Taradino Cassat", for Spanish speakers, if you consider that tarado is a slang word for idiot and even retard.
Ian Paul Freeleyhangs his own Lampshade in the ending wherein he complains about how he saved the damn world, but people only care about making fun of his name. Making Freeley's situation even worse, according to the manual he wrote a novel called The Yellow River.
Putting on the Reich: Outfits worn by the enemies allude to Nazi Germany (a holdover from the initial plan to make the game a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D). Bizarrely enough, the manual says they're surplus Korean uniforms, presumably North Korean. They also have MP-40s. It's taken further in the remake, where the Triad has long red banners with white crosses, stahlhelms, missile launchers whose handles are based on those of the Panzerschreck, etc., while the surplus Korean uniform bit is implied with some televisions depicting actual real-life footage of Kim Jong-Un.
Race Lift: The remake changes the nationalities of two HUNT members: Thi Barrett is changed from Scottish to Canadian, and Ian Paul Freely is changed from Greco-Spanish to British.
Reckless Gun Usage: In the remake, General Darian falls victim to this after you get his health to zero: he pins you down and points his gun at you, it fails to fire, he looks down the barrel, and it blows his head off.
Rocket Jump: The Trope Maker. The first game that allowed you both to look up and down and fire a rocket that won't instantly destroy you utterly, as long as you're wearing Asbestos Armor.
Self-Imposed Challenge: There's one made by the ROTT community, which makes the entire game NintendoBloody Impossible (think of I Wanna Be the Guy) instead of just Nintendo Hard. All you need to do is: 1: Go get WinROTT, 2: Look for config.rot file and set the Super Hard option to 1, 3: Open Win ROTT itself and set 'TIMELIMIT 36000; MAXTIMELIMIT 36000; WARP (fully optional) [number of level you wish to play]' in the command line, without quotes. Time limit gives you a possibility to have infinite lives during those 10 hours of play. 4: Select the hardest difficulty. Never use savegames. The basic purpose of this challenge is to polish your missile-dodging skills SO thoroughly you couldn't even imagine. The catch is: every Lightning Guard wields one of the many lootable rocket launchers (or, considering there's no sprites of them carrying a RL, rocket pistols). Should you only be unstrafeful for a split second, you'll be thrown back to square one. Considering Low Guards and Lightning Guards tend to change between each other randomly, the challenge will become purely luck-based. Have fun dying!
Shout-Out: Krist's full name is Sebastian Doyle Krist, and one of the music tracks is titled "Run Like Smeg". Similarly, entering the console command "Nodnol" would cause the level to go foggy. A couple Dopefish also show up.
In the remake:
The Triad Enforcer in the reboot enjoys listening to Anti Flag.
Similarly, getting kills with the dual pistols is called Tequila.
The Flamewall's alternate fire is explicitly likened to by the devs as a needler, firing glowing-hot homing needles that rip the victim to shreds.
Trying to return to the main menu ingame gives you a yes/no prompt which asks you "Are you serious?"
The achievement for getting 5 kills at once with an explosive or magic weapon is called Raining Blood.
Collecting 10 coins within 5 seconds gets you the "I'm a plumber by trade" achievement, complete with an 8-bit picture that very closely resembles Mario.
In addition, the achievement icon for getting your first Shroom looks like one of the mushrooms from Super Mario Bros., the overworld is reminscient of the Super Mario Brothers one, and the achievement for finding all secret levels is called WARP ZONED (whose icon is a totally notMeat Boy in reference to his game's secret levels; in other words, a shout-out to a shout-out.).
The icon for the Rocket Scientist achievement looks suspiciously like Gordon Freeman.
There's an achievement named "Holy Shit" for running the game on maximum graphic settings, whose icon is the Unreal Engine logo. This is a reference to an Easter Egg in Unreal Tournament 2004 where jacking up all of its graphic settings to the max will make the announcer say "Holy shit!"
Some of the areas in the remake's levels are named after other levels from the original game, such as the "Corpseyard" section of episode 1 level 2 (named after a multiplayer level from the original game). There are even references to the extra levels from the obscure Lasersoft version of the shareware episode.
The triple-barreled shotgun added in a patch is called the Doomstick.
Sound-Only Death: When you tell the game to exit out, it will put up a message suggesting you getting killed. Confirm the quit out, and it plays an appropriate sound-bite before exiting. The complete list is as follows:
Press Y to pull your plug (sound of a heart monitor flatlining)
Press Y to open trap door (someone falls, then a twisting/creaking of a rope)
Press Y to release cyanide gas (a splash of liquid, then the hiss of gas rising)
Press Y to activate the electric chair (the sound of electricity crackling)
Press Y to drive your car off the cliff (a car skids and crashes)
Press Y to activate guillotine (the blade falls, then the thump of a head landing in a pan)
Press Y to signal firing squad ("Ready, aim, fire!" BOOM)
The Grunt: Low Guards, armed with pistols and are pretty much everywhere.
The Rocketeer: Lightning Guards, armed with much more damaging MP-40s.
The Heavy: Triad Enforcers, armed with M60s and "potato masher" grenades that eat health like candy, and Robot Guards, robots that deal a LOT of damage, and are immune to bullets and the Flamewall. The remake adds robots that are invulnerable to everything, and must be snuck past.
Standard FPS Guns: Played with. You've got your pistol and machine gun, both of which have unlimited ammo, but from there the game offers several rocket launchers with different functions, a magical baseball bat, a literal God Mode, and an alternate Dog Mode.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: In the first level of the remake, behind the player's starting point is a boarded up area labeled "Not a secret".
Take That: The Democrat and Republican Bonuses are obtained by doing things like not using handguns and ingesting all the Shrooms in a level (D), or collecting all the weapons and destroying all the plants on a map (R).
A light-hearted one at the memetically popular "Call of Duty Dog" from Call of Duty: Ghosts, in the form of a teaser trailer showcasing dog mode, claiming it's modern.
The remake features the Mission Briefing for E4E1 stating that the last thing they need are El Oscuro's parasites to get to Scientologists.
Tennis Boss... No. Tennis Player. Let's face it: you had a lot of trouble while dodging your own projectiles that Snake Oscuro mirrors.
In addition, the alternate fire on the Dark Staff in the reboot will catch enemy projectiles, and releasing the button fires them in the way you're facing.
Throw It In: The game-crashing Easter Egg level "This Causes An Error". To elaborate: moving walls crash the game when they reach the boundaries of a map. A playtester made a joke drawing out of that glitch, and so Apogee did the level in question, which merely serves to demonstrate the glitch and show said joke drawing upon the crashing. The enhanced Win32 port fixes the glitch, thereby making the level utterly pointless.
Early in development of the reboot, bullet weapons had limited ammo per magazine, and had to be reloaded regularly. Bullet weapons have Bottomless Magazines in the final game, but the reload animations can still be triggered like in any other game.
Less drastic is that originally, certain enemies were supposed to have alternate versions who would be randomly cycled in with the regular ones, many of which were Distaff Counterparts. The severe increase in RAM it would've required (by 1994 standards) meant that none of them were used, but a single frame from each one can be seen in the staff roll.
According to loading screens, three dev teams from other companies showed their own take on ROTT before Interceptor Entertainment was chosen.
Weapons had limited ammo per clip early in development of the remake, as seen in the multiplayer trailer - the optional reload animations are what's left of this feature.