Strife: Veteran Edition (1996)
Developer: Rogue Entertainment/ Night Drive Studio for Veteran Edition
Publisher: Velocity Entertainment
Price: I forgot how much I paid for it as I bought this in 2014. But it is currently priced at $9.99 on Steam.
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD. BEWARE!!
A doom clone turns twenty.
Strife (1996) was a game I hadn’t heard of until 2014. I am not surprised. This was not a bad game by any means. This is certainly a dated game though. This was the final game to use the engine by iD Software known as iD Tech 1. Maybe if it had used the Build Engine it would have been more successful? This was a game that had to compete with the likes of Duke Nukem 3D and others. This game is one worth exploring though. You see it has a little bit of an RPG feeling. An RPG/FPS before DeusEx (2000), you don’t say? The player can upgrade various attributes including their health and stamina in the game! This was a novelty at the time.
One remarkable thing about Strife that made it different from Wolfenstein 3D (1992) or Doom (1993) is that a total destruction, shoot everything that moves mindset will lead to trouble. If you use any of your weapons in the lobby areas i.e. the town, the security forces of The Order (bad guys) will be alerted and attempt to destroy the player’s character. This is a game that favors a tactical approach. With your crossbow, assault gun, rocket launcher, and flamethrower it is a good idea. You are engaging enemy cyborgs, war drones, and the occasional ghost-like boss. It is smart to use the right tactics. Superior firepower and knowing your way around the levels will aid your success.
Dialogue plays an important role in the game. The wrong decision in a conversation will have everlasting consequences. Some of these dialogue options and events are influenced by the player’s decisions in action sequences. The dialogue is not as good as Oxenfree’s though. The characters are mainly one-dimensional. Blackbird, the player’s ‘handler’ is similar to Dark Forces’s Jan Ors. Instead of piloting a ship though, she merely points out mission objectives, and occasionally provides useful help aside from that.
I have never completed this game. To me it simply isn’t worth it, when there are better offerings out nowadays. I will say the first half of the game is interesting! Releasing the prisoners, storming the castle, and fighting the oracle are interesting albeit, not in that order. Overtime though, the game got repetitive to me.
I’m glad I played the edition that I did though: Strife Veteran Edition published and developed by Night Drive Studios. I bought it on Steam for a price under ten dollars in 2014. Again, I’m glad I played this version instead of the original. Back in 1996, there was only one save slot. I cannot imagine that. Even Gaunlet: Legends on the Nintendo 64, a less enjoyable game had more save spaces. This experience where choice and consequence are tied would be marred by one save space.
So is this a game worth playing. If you love the Deus Ex series and the Borderlands series, I would certainly advise it. Don’t be expecting something as epic. But do expect a fun romp in retro gaming. Enjoy fighting The Order and try not to be too annoyed by Macil or Blackbird!
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I wrote an article on Cyber punk in 1987
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