ID Software was always serious about Doom. It was going to be dark, it was filled with demons and it was all about hell, and blood and gore. But what if FPS are allowed a little fun? Then that shooter would be Rise of the Triad. Now being brought back by Nightdive Studio, let’s wear our doggy bags and see what’s up in our Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous edition review.
While John Romero loved his horror movies and Adrian Carmack was all about improving the engine, ID’s Tom Hall wanted something different in his shooters. He wanted them zany and crazy, so when he got the chance to do one with Apogee Software and the original Wolfenstein 3D engine, he went all the way. Rise of the Triad did many interesting things for the genre, like having a character selection (with actual differences between the characters) and a balance of 2D and 3D like no other FPS had done before.
Your team, HUNT, is tasked with putting a stop to a madman’s plans to take over the world. He’s EL Oscuro (Tom Hall himself) and his island fortress will have to be penetrated and destroyed in order for his crazy plans to be stopped. Your weapons are limited, in that there are pistols (the first game to have guns akimbo) and an MP40 with unlimited ammo. Unfortunately, you can only carry one other strong weapon, such as the crazy baseball bat or the drunk missile launcher.
Nightdive and New Blood together went deep diving into Apogee’s archives and brought back all the content that they found. They restored characters and levels, included all the episodes and expansions, gave tons of customization options and upped everything to 4K resolution. While you can definitely play with original textures and soundtrack, you can bump them up to the new stuff as well. This is the definitive edition of one of the nerdiest FPS ever.
The remaster lets you freely choose how you want to experience RoTT. Nightdive definitely took the right approach here. It did not overwrite anything from the original game, instead, it built on the original, continuing to add options and features. This is nothing short of the perfect package and way to bring back a 90s game to modern audiences. It is also a much-needed remaster, since all the previous “user-made” ports were, to put it politely, dog poo.
Speaking of dogs. As much as this remaster is a love letter to the original, improving it in any way possible for modern audiences, is Rise of the Triad still worth your time? Depends on how you like your FPS. If you are after that fair bit of craziness, with shroom power-ups, dog mode, platforming mechanics and hundreds of enemies in each level, then sure. Otherwise, if you’re more of a straightforward FPS guy, you’ll probably have less fun.
Personally, fatigue did set in before I completed most of the levels. The main problem is that I did not find much fun in the overall design of traps, secrets and waves of samey-looking enemies repeated over and over. Even on medium difficulty, you’ll meet at least a hundred enemies per level. But at least, this means you can enjoy some LUDICROUS amounts of gibbing, in 1994 RoTT was quite obviously the bloodiest FPS ever made.
The weapons are also designed in such a way that you’ll have to constantly rely on explosive ones to do significant damage. This means having to be constantly aware that you can very easily blow yourself up. The power-ups are fun, dog mode included, but they don’t change a lot gameplay-wise. Also, since most RoTT levels take place in a fortress – keeping with its being a sort of sequel to Wolfenstein 3D – don’t expect to see much outside of grey walls and doors.
The remaster does try to make up for some of the original shortcomings. For example, you can limit the amount of damage you do to yourself with explosive weapons and half the health of the monks, who are quite well known to not go down easily. But, there’s only so much that Nightdive can do without altering the original experience. As for me, I’d wish there was an option to remove the bouncing pads altogether.
It all comes down to one simple question: are you a Rise of the Triad devote follower? Then why are you even still reading? This is the perfect package for you, be merry and go eat some shrooms. If not, then definitely try it out before plunging in as Rise of the Triad hits differently than even the craziest 90s FPS. And not always for the better.
Our Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition review was made possible with a key provided by Stride PR. Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 / 4, Xbox Series S | X and Xbox One.
Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition: A perfect remaster all around, including tons of lost and new content, plus all the quality of life upgrades possible. Shame that Rise of the Triad hasn't held up as well as other 90s shooters. – Damiano Gerli