Interceptor Entertainment’s Rise of the Triad succeeds at its initial goal of being an updated version of the 1994 game of the same name, but falls short in virtually every other regard. While fans of the original will feel right at home with Rise of the Triad, those with a more modern gaming palette will most likely be left feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.
Rise of the Triad eschews modern day shooter standards from the game’s outset. Story takes a complete backseat in Rise of the Triad and is irrelevant outside of the game’s opening comic-book inspired scene. Players step into the shoes of one of five members of the elite HUNT team who are trying to stop the evil Triad from blowing up Los Angeles. That’s it as far as the story department goes – short, sweet, and barely worth mentioning. While story certainly isn’t everything in a game, especially the fast-paced shooters of old, a little bit more to go off of is always welcome and Rise of the Triad simply does not deliver.
Story gripes aside, Rise of the Triad is still far from a perfect shooter experience. The game’s fast paced movement takes some adjustment to get used to and also lends itself to players getting stuck within much of the game’s geometry. Getting stuck (which more than likely will happen) is remarkably frustrating, as Rise of the Triad features a checkpoint based system that leaves a lot to be desired. Upon death, or getting stuck, players have no choice to restart at the last checkpoint – which essentially boils down to running the entire level all over again. The lack of manual saving is a brutal flaw – for a game that prides itself on being as difficult as its predecessor, Rise of the Triad alienates gamers with each and every death.
Rise of the Triad does earn points for being a difficult game. Each level is loaded with enemies and traps, offering countless ways to for players to die over and over again. Having a game provide a challenge is always welcome, especially in an era where many titles feel like they hold players’ hands just a little too much, but all too often Rise of the Triad’s deaths feel cheap. All too often, players will be blasted to death by copious – and unforeseen – enemies. Having lots of targets to obliterate is not the issue, but rather their lack of visibility. Many of the enemies in Rise of the Triad blend into the game’s blase grey walls and stand stock still while shooting away at you, leaving players frantically scanning the level for some sign of life as their health chips away.
Blasting Rise of the Triad’s vast amount of enemies is where the game really shines, thanks to an arsenal of weapons that is nothing short of absurd. Staples from the 1994 game are all present in Rise of the Triad, and each weapon handles well. Heat seeking missiles, rocket launchers, and pistols stand on the more traditional side of the arsenal, while miniature nukes and magical staffs round out the more ‘interesting’ side of things. Each weapon provides ample opportunity for the sheer amounts of carnage that Rise of the Triad offers. Shooting your foes with even something as simple as a pistol often has their corpse exploding, often to hilarious effect, and chaining multiple kills provides a bonus that has felled foes’ eyeballs land on your screen. Is this gory? Yes, but the violence feels right at home in Rise of the Triad.
For as much giddy, gore-filled fun the weapons provide, it really is a shame that Rise of the Triad looks so dated. Even though it runs on the Unreal Engine 3, graphically, Rise of the Triad is nothing to write home about. Both the game’s enemy and level design feels a little on the skimp side, offering few choices in the way of variation. Playing on even the highest graphical settings does little to change the visuals and is in no way worth it, as higher settings reveal Rise of the Triad’s poor optimization. Finding a balance between graphical settings and playable performance can be a nightmare.
Even if the levels aren’t much to look at, they are worth exploring. Filled with tons of coins to pick up and more secrets that any game in recent memory, Rise of the Triad knocks it out of the park in regards to the secrets category. Each level has tons of secret areas those with an astute eye can seek out, many of which are filled with nods to other great shooters of the past.
Multiplayer in Rise of the Triad is a similar affair to the game’s campaign in terms of falling short on potential. Featuring only 5 maps (with more promised later) and three game modes, the frantic fragging of an online match has the potential to get stale quickly. Matches are undeniably exciting in the heat of battle, however, with tons of pick-ups and weapons colliding with players in chaotic battles.
Rise of the Triad is a game that feels decidedly out of place in 2013. As a recreation of a game nearly 20 years old it succeeds, especially with those who feel a nostalgic alliance with the original, but is plagued by numerous issues that simply hold the game back from reaching it’s full potential.
The author was given a copy of Rise of the Triad on the PC for reviewing purposes.
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