Reviews: Rise Of The Triad

(2013 remake) Sticks closely to the original, for better and worse, while sometimes missing the point

The new Rise of the Triad hews closely to the original game's design, for better and for worse, while also adding modern elements, some of which clash with the original game's design.

Guns have infinite ammo, never have to reload, and have no recoil - all part of the original design. Amusingly, they have iron sights, which serves no purpose. Missile weapons have an ammo limit and you can only carry one at a time. Very arcade-like, as is the old-school gameplay - you simply kill enemies as you make your way through vaguely maze-like levels (now with map function removed!), collect tokens and coins, and reach the end. A nice break from the scriptfests that infest the industry.

The ability to quicksave and quickload, however, is gone, instead replaced with a checkpoint system that's sometimes brutal, especially when combined with another aspect of the game - environmental hazards and jumping puzzles. There are rotating spiked blades, jets of fire, and other hazards in the levels, and navigating them can be tricky but not too hard. But what really does not work at all... is the jumping puzzles. First-person is an awful camera perspective for anything involving precision jumping, especially when the penalty for failure is death and being sent back to a checkpoint minutes prior. These moments aren't too common and make up a small portion of the game, but they bring it to a grinding halt. The old game's cheat codes still work, but I hate resorting to them.

There are some moments where the remake misses the point though. One of my favorite songs, "Spray", was turned into something totally unrecognizable. Some of the cartoony humor, such as the way enemies burned with the firebomb would turn into skeletons for a couple seconds before crumpling to the ground, got tossed out as well.

Nothing new was added other than brand new level designs. Some co-op would be nice at least.

It says something about the First Person Shooter genre that I can play a simple retro remake, and call it refreshing. No unskippable first-person cutscenes here, only very occasional scripting, otherwise just straight-up gameplay. And sadly, design elements that haven't aged well (e.g. jumping puzzles), combined with modern elements that clash with them (e.g. checkpoint system). Not a bad game, but just know what you're getting.