GAME REVIEW | Getting Ludicrous With Revived "Rise of the Triad"
I’m happy to see Apogee Entertainment make such a big comeback. This was a developer/publisher whose games made up the majority of my IBM PS/1 era, ranging from adventure titles like Secret Agent to the iconic first-person shooter Wolfenstein 3D. After making their comeback via newcomers like Turbo Overkill and Bread & Fred, the time was right for them to return to an old friend: Rise of the Triad! With the aid of New Blood Interactive and Nightdive Studios, the High-Risk United Nations Task-Force takes on occult terrorists the only way we know how: wanton violence!
Showcasing all of the story and the expansion packs, players take control of one of the five members of H.U.N.T., with each one having their strengths and weaknesses. Those who are fast on their feet may not be as savvy with a weapon, whereas one can take on more enemy fire but have their speed reduced. It doesn’t matter who you choose; what matters most is what you do with these characters. So long as you’ve got a pistol in-hand, I’m sure you’ll be fine…?
That doubt comes in the form of the game’s difficulty. Even on the easiest mode, Rise of the Triad never allows you to rest on your laurels. From (possibly) Nazi soldiers and hooded cult members to skeleton armies, anything that wants to kill you will certainly do their damndest. And sadly, they’ll succeed in that task a lot! Make no mistake about it: Rise of the Triad is ridiculously hard!
Thankfully, that ridiculousness can be passed down to you. At times, you’ll find yourselves with a foray of weapons at your disposal. You’ll have your pistols and MP40 machine guns, whereas other times a bazooka or heat-seeking missile will be in your grasp. However, those who do a little digging may find some special cheat codes that help unleash some wild weapons, including the Excalibat! But perhaps more fun are the other modes you could unlock with the right knowhow.
Did you know you can play Rise of the Triad as a dog?! And not just any dog: a powerful might dog that kills everything they see. Fret not, as they’re still a good little doggy since they’s killing evil people, so no worries about corrupting Man’s Best Friend. You can also play as a literal god who smites with their hands, but, well, it’s no cute canine, that’s for certain!
Other modes one can find (or unlock) range from flying mode to bounce mode. However, perhaps the wildest is Shrooms Mode, which turns your surroundings into a psychedelic nightmare rife with enemies. And like Hunter S. Thompson when the acid kicks in, nothing can stop the madness you unleash! This may be called the “Ludicrous Edition”, but perhaps “bonkers” is a far better way to describe the insanity that this game unleashes.
Perhaps it was a good thing that this wasn’t Wolfenstein 3D 2 like it was initially planned. Sure, that series is iconic, but its tongue-in-cheek approach was a little more subtle. Rise of the Triad, on the other hand, is to Saints Row as Wolfenstein is to Grand Theft Auto. The latter satirizes its target; the former smacks it with a napalm-filled cream pie!
And it’s that level of humor that helps make the game’s toughness a lot more bearable. It’ll take you a long time to clear out just the first couple of levels (saving is key, by the way!), but your eyes and ears will be filled with the shrieks and howls of hilariously whiny soldiers as you run through the areas. Said toughness will also give you the opportunity to reinvestigate certain areas, which can be filled with secret doors leading to goodies and a plethora of priest porridge. Yes, it’s brutally difficult, but it still wants you to enjoy yourself while the chaos ensues.
But these publishers and developers just didn’t want longtime fans to revisit this classic; they wanted to given them sometime more. A new campaign ups the madness that we’ve come to love in Rise of the Triad, in the form of “The Hunt Continues”. Not only does it play well, but it easily could’ve fit into the game back when it came out in 1995. Level editors give you the chance to experiment with your own concoctions, as well as experience levels created by other fans.
Even once the fun of the main game ends, multiplayer will add countless hours to the tally. Whether it’s competitive, team, or capture the flag, these COMM-BAT modes are as fun now as they were many decades back. It may not have the visual polish of today’s multiplayer shooters, but its charm makes up for it. Needless to say, I had more fun with this online than any recent Call of Duty!
- Entire game experience
- New levels, solid multiplayer
- Original cheat codes still work!
- Tough-as-nails right at the get-go!
It’s been 28 years since Rise of the Triad was first unleashed. Its Ludicrous Mode is proof that it’s aged like a good whiskey. As wild as Looney Tunes and as tough as an armadillo’s shell, Rise of the Triad is hardcore fun encased in a Rambo lunch box.
Promotional consideration provided by Caroline Gill of Stride PR. Reviewed on the PC via Steam.