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Hidden Gem of the Week: Rise of the Triad

It's Monday, so we're moving on with another game that just might glide by unseen into our catalogue while you were playing Duke Nukem 3D.

In a recent interview, Scott Miller of 3D Realms mentioned a "reboot" of Rise of the Triad. We thought this would be a great time to highlight the original and give you a 10% discount on it, so you can refresh your memories of this classic filled with an absolutely ludicrous amount of gibs flying around. Pete Davison has been sent to investigate the suspicious cult activity in an old monastery. Here's what he experienced.

by Pete Davison

Rise of the Triad hails from a simpler time, one when plot synopses could be scrawled on the back of a napkin and no-one minded. Gameplay and originality were the flavors of the day, and Rise of the Triad certainly delivers on both in spades, with a peculiar and original style all of its own.

Originally intended to be a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, the grandaddy of the whole first-person shooter genre, ROTT eventually flourished as its own unique title, bringing a great deal of personality and a wicked, black sense of humor into the mix. It was overlooked by many at the time of its release in favor of Doom, which possessed a technically superior 3D engine compared to ROTT’s 90-degree walls (a hang-over from the Wolfenstein years), but don’t let that put you off playing one of the most fun shooters of the mid-90s.

Placing players in the role of one of the members of the High-risk United Nations Taskforce - or HUNT for short - ROTT demands you battle your way through hordes of digitized enemies on a journey towards a final confrontation with the evil mad monk “El Oscuro”. Along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of enemies and traps including guards, robots, magic monks, spiky things, pokey things, fire traps, crushing walls, gas leaks and all manner of other nasties. The world of ROTT is a dangerous one, and it constantly keeps you moving with a sense of lingering panic in the back of your mind - a feeling not helped by the pulse-poundingly intense soundtrack by Bobby Prince.

ROTT innovated in a number of areas. It was the first FPS to feature “platforms above platforms” in the form of the floating metal discs known as “GADs” that populate many of the levels. It was the first FPS to feature rocket jumping thanks to the deliciously pyrotechnic Firebomb weapon, and unbeknownst to many without access to a local network, it was also one of the first multiplayer FPS titles to feature a Capture the Flag gameplay mode. It also had a selection of original and bizarre powerups, including the magnificent God mode (grow to ten feet tall and kill people by pointing at them), the equally wonderful Dog mode (shrink to three feet tall and kill people by biting them somewhere that you wouldn’t want to be bitten), the headache-inducing Shrooms mode (wobbles your view up and down while flashing pretty colors at you) and the ability to fly for limited periods of time.

As you may have surmised from the descriptions above, ROTT does not take itself seriously in the slightest and possesses a healthy sense of fun that cries out to be played and enjoyed. It’s also a big game that will take you some time to beat, with a total of close to a hundred levels to keep you busy in both single- and multiplayer.

ROTT is an important part of FPS history providing, as it does, a number of innovations which we take for granted in the genre today. Its mix of fun, humor, excessive gore and a plethora of levels to battle through means that it still provides hours of entertainment today, both solo and together with friends.

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