strflogo.GIF - 24.5 K
Review by Alfred Giovetti
Genre: 3D Doom-like shooter and role playing game
Price: $50
Release: 10/97
Developer: Rogue Entertainment
Producer:
Music:
Programmer:
Art:
Publisher: Velocity
Phone: 800-856-2489
Website: http://206.79.196.34/games/strife/index.html
Requirements: 486 DX 66 MHz, 8 MB RAM, MS-DOS 5.0, 70 MB Hard Disk drive space, 2X CD ROM, Super VGA (Pentium with 32MB RAM recommended - Test system Pentium 166 MHz with 64 MB RAM and 4GB, 9 ms, 7200 rpm SCSI drive on 32-bit PCI local bus, 8X CD ROM drive, 4MB VRAM Diamond 2000 3D)

Summary: Stife combines the Doom game created with the Doom engine, now dwarfed by the new Quake engine, with a role playing game. Character development separates this game from other doom clones. Supports up to 8 player multiplayer over a network. Encompasses 30 massive levels and 200 virtual square miles. Strife will certainly be the last game to use the Doom engine.

History: First there was Doom, then came the attack of the killer clones. Spawned of greed for green, fueled in greed for mindless mayhem and blood red gore, that would make a vampire blush (And that is difficult - Ed.). And now perhaps a gentler more sensitive clone. Not! Velocity has produced some very popular games, including Mile High Club, Attack Stack, Spectre VP and Jet Fighter II. Velocity is currently working on Jet Fighter III based upon the YF-22 Lightning.

Plot: A comet or virus decimates planet earth or a planet similar to earth reducing most to a medieval existence. Many inhabitants are horribly changed, mutated, or ridden with disease (you pick the most appropriate - Ed.) and these mutants have decided to make war on the normal people. Hidden somewhere are the tools of the advanced civilization that earth once was, in a plot line that is remotely similar to Electronic Artsí classic Wasteland. (which you should really play to understand the really great games of the past - Ed.) scrn1.gif - 17.3 K

The earth or this earth is in the hands of the evil, oppressive, tyrannical, fascist "order" and you are a revolutionary, outlaw, drifter, rebel without a pause, but with a two day stubble, macho, freedom fighter. (Insert Star Wars hero type here - Ed.) The key to the survival of the good and the downfall of the bad is the retrival of the Sigil (BFG 9000) weapon which is broken up into five pieces and scattered through the dungeons. Once retrieved the Sigil uses life force to create killing beams, similar to Dragonfire.

Game play: You must make intelligent decisions on who and when to kill. There are consequences to your actions. You can never forget the role playing elements of the story which determines while levels of the dungeon that you can safely tackle. Monsters only attack you if you show up and start blasting. Act calm and they will leave you alone. The monsters only know if you are an enemy if you tip your hand by killing someone where you can be seen with a noisy or ranged weapon.

Like a Doom game you can save power ups, including three levels of the all important healing potions, to be used later in the tougher battles. You must keep your weapon in the sheath or you will be attacked. You can also talk and get clues, well some have clues, from every character in the game.

Like a role playing adventure, certain fighting statistics can be improved: weapon accuracy and stamina or hit points. Strife does not have a large number of statistics as seen in other role playing games and there are no class levels to achieve. While this game goes far to combine RPG and Doom-Quake clone, it has not gone far enough. Velocity mentions the gold box games and other true RPGs but neglects to put the statistics and character generation and development essential to this genre. Two statistics to develop do not cut it. There is a real need to apply experience based skills to the game to make it role playing. Role playing goes way beyond the development of just weapon accuracy and hit points.

Conversations are menu based. Talk to someone you approach by selecting answers from selections on a menu. The game is designed to promote nice, and if you are nice you will get nice powerful items from the nice people you talk with. If you are mean you get nothing. So be nice. Ok?

Missions, scenarios and quests: Assassination and other goals are more precise and do not involve killing everyone on the level to win. Killing with a punch and not a missile or melee weapon will allow your character to go undetected and restrict combat to only the necessary fights. Achieve your goals as economically as possible and get out without being killed or detected and you will win. The game is actually scripted by the writers of Psychic Detective. The game has a plot with quests and objectives - a logic that holds it all together.

You can also buy armor, weapons, ammunition, and artifacts at the various stores if you get enough money. There are not a lot of items to buy and some may find the store more of a hassle than picking up stuff off of the ground, but stores, inns, temples, and taverns are the important role playing buildings.

Artificial intelligence (AI): Unfortunately the non player characters (NPCs) are pretty stupid, and all they can come up with when you talk to them is one liners. As fighters the NPCs are also not very smart since they never figure out that you are not one of their own until you strike or draw a weapon.

Graphics: The graphics seem heavily angled toward grays, greens and browns. In this alternative timeline, things are dingy not bright and cheerful. pixel resolution? Light sourced? Texture mapped? Shadows? Other features.

Animation: hand rendered? Smooth? Scrolling?

Voice actors: "non-cheesy"

Music score: musical style? Original composition?

Sound effects: what are they like? Examples?

Multi-player: any plans or current features? scrn2.gif - 33.0 K

Utilities: One save game is not very realistic in the world of Gigabyte hard drives and highly lethal games, which this one is. Unlimited save games is more realistic for this one.

Future plans you can talk about?

Reviewing the reviewers: Even though this game incorporates some nice features, the reviewers are divided between a good game and a mediocre game in their ratings. I think the reviewers may be tiring of playing Doom clones. Otherwise, the game has a nice unusual twist to all the death and mayhem in Doom clones.

Cheats: First pause the game then type:
BOOMSTIX: all weapons except Sigil
DONNYTRUMP: gold and stat tokens
GOTOxx -- Level Warp (xx = Which Level)
GRIPPER: kills the slide
GUNS -- All Weapons
IDDT -- Full Map toggle
IDMUSxx -- Music Change (xx = Which Song #)
JIMMY: keys
LEGO: one sigil piece each time
LISTIT -- Accessories
MONEY -- Money and toughness
OMNIPOTENT: invulnerable toggle
OPEN -- All Keys
SCOOTx: change position in level, where x is a two digit number
SPINx: change music where x is a two digit number
SPIRIT -- No Clipping Mode
STONECOLD: kills all level monsters
STUFF -- Invincibility, All Stuff, Teleporter Beacon
TIC -- Devparm Toggle
TOPO: toggles full map and scanner

Review references:
Peter Olafson, PC Games, August, 1996, volume 3, Number 8, pages 62, B, 85%
Peter Olafson, Computer Gaming World, May, 1996
Zach Meston, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, 7/10, (70%).
Arinn Dembo, www.cnet.com/Gamecenter/Reviews/Strife
John-Paul Gionet, www.gamesmania.com/english/reviews/new/strife.htm, 6.5/10 (65%)
Frederic zur Nedden, www.megatoon.com/~t15/issue15/strife.htm, (80%)
Jason DíAprile, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, 3.5/5, (70%).
PC Games, volume 3, number 9, September, 1996, pg. 96.
Steve Honeywell, www.happypuppy.com/pulse/reviews/pc/08_96/strife.html, recommended
Al Giovetti, Spectre VR, Electronic Games, volume 2, number 10, July, 1994, pg. 80.
www.avault.com/sector/strife.html