Review: Rise of the Triad Ludicrous Edition – Retro FPS Runback

The 90s were filled with first-person shooter games that were heavily inspired by the success of games like the original DOOM on PC. Many saw its overwhelming popularity and over the years tried to emulate its formula many times over. This trend continues even today, with a variety of games attempting to recapture the fun and appeal of DOOM, even if tweaked mildly. Rise of the Triad is another DOOM-like clone that mixes things up with a new setting and cast of characters but has the same essential characteristics of an FPS from the 90s. The original game was released back in 1994, but the new Ludicrous Edition compiles every expansion with the original release together. While there are some good aspects to Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition (for PS5 and other platforms) for those who love the genre, it comes with all of the bad or archaic issues that consistently plague games like it. Same problems, different day and age.

Like other first-person shooters built from the same cloth, the story in Rise of the Triad is pretty shallow. A group of special operatives under the name HUNT are sent to an island to infiltrate a cult planning to destroy Los Angeles. They have to blast their way through legions of enemies after being stranded on the island where the cult is stationed, without help from the outside world. It’s up to HUNT to stop the cult’s plans before thousands of people in Los Angeles are devastated.

Although there are brief cutscenes that detail the plot of Rise of the Triad, the story itself is pretty basic. Despite there being multiple playable characters, each of them is still very much like the main character in DOOM, where there’s little to no detailed story about them individually. Most of this is by design, which keeps the focus on gameplay above everything else. For many, this will be totally fine. But for others who want a deeper, more developed story in their experience, you won’t find it here.

But if gameplay is your concern, this is about as 90s FPS-style as you can get. Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition has every expansion that was released after the original game came out, as well as a new episode with content that was developed by Night Dive Software and Apogee Software. You can choose one of five characters at the start, each with small perks to them, and dive into an episode of the game.

Some characters have more health than others, while others have better accuracy with their shots or move faster while running around. While noticeable in some instances, these small differences don’t become a major factor in later portions of the game when enemies get stronger and appear in greater numbers. Everybody’s weapons that are used are the same as well.

Are the levels and scenarios still fun to play through? If you’re already accustomed to 90s FPS titles, then you should feel right at home. Others who haven’t engaged with these kinds of games may not be so thrilled, however. Aiming your weapons will take some getting used to, and patience with hitboxes when some bullets don’t land will be necessary. The same goes for platforming and getting around obstacles that can obstruct your view or look awkward with how they block your movement. A lot of Rise of the Triad has you checking and re-checking areas for new pathways and collectibles.

You can find a number of power-ups and items besides weapons, which sometimes give you brief abilities that are interesting at first but don’t last long. You can find boots that allow you to fly around to higher areas, as well as a spell that can annihilate enemies within a room. But you can also find a dog bone that turns you into a dog for a short time, allowing you to run faster and damage enemies without granting access to your weapons. A lot of it is very gimmicky in the same way that power-ups in the DOOM series can be, which only factor into your shootouts for a brief time. Often you won’t be using them since there are multiple weapons you’ll have on hand.

The bigger issues with Rise of the Triad come with its level design, which can look awkward and messy for those who don’t indulge in retro FPS games often. Most areas on a stage will look repeated and can be difficult at times to navigate without getting a little lost. There is a map that you can use to help you roam the area, but it won’t help much when you run into groups of enemies. Some stages will also require you to use springs and walk up elevated platforms, which can look awkward because of how rough the visuals can be. It might take a moment or two when moving around as you try to reorient yourself. This can be made worse if you find yourself near the edge of a platform or the stage itself, where the perspective can get skewed and inadvertently lead you to fall off the map.

While all of this is going on, you also need to be conscious of saving frequently. Like most games of the era, losing a life will force you back to the beginning of a stage regardless of your progress. No checkpoints or excuses, you’ll have to do everything again from scratch if you die. Reloading a save helps with this, but you’ll need to remember to save often after getting far if you’re worried about dying for any reason.

It can get very frustrating in later stages when health is more scarce and enemies are more aggressive or placed in chokepoints to damage you heavily. You might end up finding yourself annoyed and aggravated in some places if you get shot by enemies you can’t see, only to die and have to restart the stage over again. For some, this retro characteristic might be totally fine, but for others, it will be a very big point of frustration.

Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition is good for those who like this style of first-person shooter or want to relive their past growing up with them. If you played the original release of Rise of the Triad, then this is the best version of the game with all of its related expansions in one spot. But for others who are more familiar with modern FPS titles, this package won’t be anything special. You can still play through it and get some enjoyment from the experience, but it will require a lot more patience and understanding than those already familiar with 90s FPS games. If you can’t do that, you won’t find yourself having fun with Rise of the Triad in any capacity.

What are your thoughts about Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition? Are you a big fan of retro games and classic-style FPS titles? Tell us about everything down below in the comment section!

Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition
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    Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition - 60%


This is a retro-styled game that has all of the characteristics of a game made in that same era. But it has the same kinds of issues that plagued games of the time. There are multiple playable characters, but not a lot of big differences between them when playing. Hitboxes and collision detection can be an issue in some places, and visuals in some stages can be very messy on screen. Every expansion is included, with some new stages to enjoy for those who like this kind of game.

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Jakejames Lugo

Jakejames Lugo is a writer and content creator that has been covering video games, movies, and various sides of entertainment for over a decade. He has published reviews and articles on many different outlets and continues to make content for different platforms. Jakejames also makes video content regularly for places like YouTube and TikTok, and share daily posts about gaming on social media.

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