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Strafe
Opinion

This Retro FPS is definitely worth a look


The retro FPS genre is actually a rare thing, unlike the platformers we’ve been getting and retro RPGs.  Enter Strafe which completely commits to 1990’s FPS aesthetic and culture.  Let me tell you all about it.

Strafe sold me on retro FPS concept

I started my gaming back in the early nineties.  Doom was king of the hill and that’s actually the game that got me into the FPS.  Some years later, Quake entered the fray with actual polygonal graphics and it was so advanced.  Strafe, is a game that returns to the time period and completely, utterly commits to that feel.  We’re not just talking about the visuals.  Their advertising campaign could’ve been made in 1996, kept in a time capsule and only released now.  The team takes it even further than that by having their site look like it was created in the days of Windows 95.

Head Shot!
Head Shot!

What exactly is Strafe?

Take a single player FPS.  Throw in some low polygon models.  Add some crazy gore and giblets.  Make the levels procedural.  Oh yes, top it off with some hard as nails Perma-death and non-persistent upgrades.  You get the picture then.  Seriously, this game is not for the casual FPS gamers.  This requires skill and some serious commitment.  And I’ve fallen in love with it.  It’s like I’m a kid again and have just read about Quake in a magazine (don’t judge me, the internet was for the rich in the 90’s, and I was not!).

Gameplay and McGuffins

Don’t let the low poly visuals fool you into thinking the game is a dumb shooter with no substance.  Judge a book by its cover and you would be wrong!  Very Wrong.  The game is broken up into Levels and zones where you start off in Level 1 Zone one and play to Level 1 zone 3 then move up to Level 2.  You start the game off on your ship and you teleport to the Levels.  Once you get to the levels, it’s a race to survive long enough to gather components to fix a teleporter somewhere in the level.  Basically, somewhere between Level 1-1 and Level 1-3, a single component is waiting.  If you die, it’s permanent, you lose your component, you lose your upgrades and start from scratch.  To make things even harder, the levels are procedurally generated meaning they completely randomize with every play.

All that blood and gore is PERMANENT
All that blood and gore is PERMANENT

You know all that blood and gore that I told you about earlier.  Well, that too is a gameplay mechanic.  An interesting one at that.  The giblets and blood left behind after a battle stay there permanently, they don’t disappear.  The reason for that is that the enemies spray this Orange acid that not only hurts you but stays on the walls and floors permanently too, BUT the blood from the enemies neutralises the acid.  You have to play smart and try and kill as many of the enemies in an area so that they can spray their blood all over the acid to pass through safely.

What about the Guns?

Wouldn’t be an FPS without those now would it?  Strafe has a modest collection which is upgradable and has a primary and secondary fire.  Expect your usual array of Assault rifles and shotties and the like.  Don’t expect the industry trend of assigning experience points to upgrades.  Oh no, here the upgrade boxes are littered all over the levels and as you’ve guessed it, you die, you lose all of your upgrades.

What ever you do, don't step into the orange goo...it burns
Whatever you do, don’t step into the orange goo…it burns

Final Thoughts

To top this epic game off with a cherry on the top.  It is Oculus Rift enabled.  So those of you with the VR device can dive right into this bad boy.  Strafe is a welcome change to the genre.  Fresh ideas coupled with a unique visual style.  I would love to get my hands on this game when it releases and its expected to release sometime in 2017 on PC.


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