3D Realms/Apogee were really king of the FPS in the early to mid 1990’s, with entries such Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem, and Blake Stone. While not as popular as the Wolfenstein’s or DOOM’s of the world, a little game called Rise of the Triad captured the hearts and minds of gamers back in 1995. Read on to see what the fuss was all about.
Originally beginning as an expansion pack for Wolfenstein 3D, the game was planned to take place after the Hitler’s death in the original game. The story was to involve the revelation that Hitler was simply a corporate puppet, and that these three corporations now plan to take control of the world via their organization, the Triad.
This of course was never to see the light of day, as project lead Scott Miller was contacted by ID’s John Carmack informing him that the project was cancelled (possibly due to the fact that they didn’t want a public distraction from their soon to be released DOOM game). The game then changed course, and would eventually see a team of spec-ops known as H.U.N.T. (High-risk United Nations Task-Force) being sent to San Nicolas Island to investigate a cult. Fighting your way through a monastery, you seek to stop the destruction of Los Angeles and ultimately put an end to the cult.
Despite being developed on an aging, though enhanced, version of the Wolf 3D engine, the game introduced such elements as fog, bullet holes, dynamic lighting, and panoramic skies. While the development team never released another game as a whole, their unfinished game Prey was later recycled by Human Head studios, and members of the team went off to develop Duke Nukem 3D, Deus Ex, Half Life 2, and more. I should also mention that the developers took to calling themselves the Developer of Incredible Power.
Rise of the Triad itself was unique in its design. While linear, much like Wolfenstein 3D, the game incorporated a myriad of over-the-top weaponry, and unique level features that made it stand out amongst the crowded FPS market at the time. For one, the game limits the number of weapons you can carry at once. You are only able to carry the three bullet weapons in the game (a pisol, dual-wielded pistols, and the MP40), and either a missile or magic weapon at one time. Compared to other games of the time, this realistically tried to incorporate the fact that a human being could really only carry a certain number of weapons at a time, and not the ten or so that other games let you.
The weapons in the game itself are, well, unique. Yes the MP40 and bazooka are pretty standard, but then there are weapons such as a Excalibat and the Flamewall. The Excalibat of course is a magical baseball bat, that allows you to hit your enemies up in the air. Not exciting enough for you? Why not hold-down the fire button to swing the bat, letting loose a 180 degree wall of exploding baseballs. Perhaps that’s not your style though, and you’d like to use a Flamewall to literally shoot a massive flaming wall at your enemies, instantly turning them into skeletons. That, or the Hand of God powerup which causes you to become temporarily invincible, all whilst shooting enemy-seeking blue energy balls out of your hand which erases your enemies from existence. Did I mention there’s a Dog Mode power up which lets you bite enemies and shoot out barkblasts?
The environments themselves were also unique, as they featured perils such as spinning blades which damaged both your and careless enemies, pushable walls, elevators, etc. Jump pads in the game also allow you to bounce around levels, grabbing keys and powerups in you time your jump right. These jump pads also led to a slightly frantic multiplayer mode, which allowed up to 11 players (remarkable for the time) to engage in deathmatch, team deathmatch, tag, and hunter modes.
Overall the game was a blast to play in the mid-1990’s, and continues to be so to this day. There is such nostalgia for the game, that a remake is currently under development at Interceptor Entertainment. If you haven’t played the game before, head on over to GoG to pick up a copy. If you want to wait for the remake, it will be available on Steam later this year. Rise of the Triad was a unique, manic experience you sure don’t want to miss.