Do we have more room in our lives for one more Doom-based FPS? Of course! Supplice, developed by Mekworx, legendary members of the Doom modding community, is definitely one title that looks meaty enough to fill the stomach of both veterans of the genre and newcomers. Let’s have a look and find out if it’s worth embracing our BFG again in our Supplice review.
In a faraway time and space, our heroine, previously part of a terraforming team tasked to seek out and prepare new worlds for colonization, finds herself alone. Something has gone wrong and she’s now stranded and having to fight for her life through endless hordes of zombies and monsters. While the story might not sound entirely original, there’s a lot of lore and narrative conveyed through computer screens (did anyone say Marathon?), which is also entirely skippable if you’re the sort of person who has no time for that sort of thing. It’s a great design choice.
While marketed as an “enhanced Doom” homage, it almost feels like a lost Amiga FPS in the vein of Breathless or an enhanced Gloom. But make no mistake, the levels are huge and multilayered. Clearly, some great thought went into the design of these arenas, as they are perfect for combat. The levels available in the current Early Access mode are probably not quite interesting from a strictly aesthetic point of view, being just mines and space bases with boxes, lifts and containers. However, the final version of Supplice should feature six episodes with 5 maps each, so there will definitely be room for variety in the future.
The weapons also feel quite “Amiga”, nothing really extraordinary, at first glance: a three-barrelled shotgun, assault rifle (also usable in akimbo mode) and a flamethrower. All weapons have an alternate firing mode which is actually quite helpful, as the assault rifle can turn into a quick sniper rifle with a laser crosshair while the shotgun can unleash a devastating three-barrelled delicious explosion of slugs. The main melee weapon, a drill, is probably the one I did not really click with, but then again it is doubtful you’re going to use it again after the first few minutes of the game anyway.
When it comes to discussing things to shoot at, they are in huge numbers. Each map, on hard mode, has around 300/400 enemies, which can feel like even more than that. While it is rare to be low on ammo, it is easy to find yourself in desperate situations, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of baddies. There are also plenty of traps. If you find a medikit in a strange place, for example, then get your weapons ready. On this, I feel Supplice should probably pace itself a little bit more since having hordes of enemies in the second level is a trick which could tire the player by the time the tenth level rolls around.
Most enemies will be of the shooting variety, both with shotguns and rifles, there are also Predator-like creatures which will both charge you and shoot, plus hungry flying spheres of meat and hulking two-headed beasts. Nothing really memorable, so far, but it is nice to see how they all work together as a horde. I’m curious to see the bosses, as well, as I’m sure the developers are working on them.
The GZDoom engine does not really do anything new in Supplice that veterans haven’t seen anywhere else, but the design of enemies and environment is strong and it works great. The soundtrack does not go for metal or rock, luckily, but a great mix of prog and jazz-based melodies that, while some might feel it is lacking in “heaviness”, does complement the gameplay greatly and feels almost a more rockish Vangelis’ Blade Runner for the modern age.
Supplice is a great addition to any fans of the Doom-based shooting mechanics that we’ve all cut our teeth on. While it might be hard, at least at the moment and because of some design issues here and there, to recommend it to everyone, the FPS veteran will probably find a lot to like. We will be following along and will take a look at the game as soon as it’s out of Early Access, but until then, keep on smashing those demons.
Supplice: Supplice is shaping up to be a solid addition to the library of all shooter fans, with huge levels, fun weapon design and a great soundtrack. – Damiano Gerli