Less than 150 games needed to reach our MobyGoal of 1,500 documented arcade titles!

Abuse (DOS)

77
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Not an American user?

Description

It is the unimaginably distant year 2009. You are Nick Vrenna, falsely locked inside a high security prison. The genetic experiments conducted in the prison, combined with a full-scale riot that took place recently, caused all guards and inmates to be transformed into insane, aggressive mutants. Your job is to escape while stopping the genetic plague from transforming the whole world.

Abuse is a side-scrolling platformer with a lot of shooting. It's a nonlinear game, as the levels often have a few exits that lead to different areas. Your character is a cyborg equipped with various weapons; initially, you only have a weak laser rifle with unlimited ammo, but you can find more powerful guns later on, such as grenade launchers, flamethrowers or lightsabers. You move through a building complex, fighting any enemies you might encounter on the way. The enemies are mostly the mutants, but also the defense systems (such as stationary missile launchers).

While you move with the keyboard, you can aim with your mouse, so you can shoot at any angle no matter what direction you are running. On your way, you'll find elevators, teleporters, cracked walls that can be destroyed and more.

Apart from ammo and health, you can also find upgrades which have a number of beneficial effect - increasing your running speed, for example.

Screenshots

Abuse DOS ingame
Abuse DOS An underground level. A bunch of Ants in their cocoon... for now
Abuse DOS Tons of guns (v2.0)
Abuse DOS Loading a saved game (v2.0)

Alternate Titles

  • "Them" -- Working title
  • "Alien Abuse" -- Unauthorized iPhone port
  • "Abuse Classic" -- iPhone title

User Reviews

A forgotten cult classic that deserves to be revisited BillyMaysFan59 (74) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
Let's deliver some abuse inside a prison *Katakis* (37801) 2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars
Pure fun, in small doses WWWWolf (422) unrated
A brain sucking thrill El-ad Amir (110) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
Nicely atmospheric, great side-scrolling action... but not much else. George Shannon (100) 3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars
A wonderful piece of software. Tomer Gabel (4388) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Stunningly mediocre James Hague (17) 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

The Press Says

PC Gamer Jan, 1996 88 out of 100 88
Pelit May, 1996 87 out of 100 87
GameSpot May 01, 1996 8.6 out of 10 86
Coming Soon Magazine Jan, 1997 84 out of 100 84
The DOS Spirit Apr 26, 2008 5 out of 6 83
PC Player (Germany) Apr, 1996 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
All Game Guide 2007 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
PC Games (Germany) May, 1996 77 out of 100 77
Power Play May, 1996 69 out of 100 69
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Jul, 1996 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40

Forums

There are currently no topics for this game.


Trivia

Cancelled ports

In January 1996, Crack dot Com contracted Reflex Entertainment to do the SEGA Saturn and Sony PSX versions of Abuse. In May 1996, Crack learned that Sony would not allow a PSX version of Abuse because it wasn't 3D and it was a port.

Changed plot

The game's plot (shown in the opening screen) was changed at some point. Originally, the player was to take the role of a special agent infiltrating a base in order to stop an alien invasion by "the ants". The 1.x shareware version still features this back story, whereas the retail game and 2.x shareware both have the new "mutants in prison" plot. The original story's text is:

The Ants were fearless, efficient killers. The Unified Underground's only opening was that the Ant defense systems were designed by engineers too arrogant to consider the threat of an individual. It was enough to justify the covert Abuse Missions.

On August 31, 2021, eight bytes were zeroed in a computer, and Nick Vrenna's identity was erased. A suit of armor cradling his smoking auto rifle stood in shadows appreciating the stench coming from the first retired Ant of the day. The armored soul feared the effort would end up as pathetic as the Terran Surrender Terms, but humanity had nothing else.

Copyright infringement

The iPhone version caused quite a stir when Stephane Portha released the ported game using the title Alien Abuse on March 17, 2009. The original development studio Crack dot Com released all the shareware bits of Abuse to the public domain when it went out of business, but kept ownership of the Abuse trademark, the registered levels, and Bobby Prince kept ownership of the sound effects.

Unable to come to any sort of agreement with Portha and unable to get Apple to take down the game, despite a DMCA notice, one of the original developers, Dave Taylor went out and had the game ported to have an official version of the game available using the name Abuse Classic. It was released in August 2009. Soon after, Alien Abuse was pulled, either by the original developer or by Apple.

Development

The game was largely written in C, but it also featured a Lisp interpreter. Most of the character logic and AI was written in Lisp, and it was possible to write mods simply by defining new game characters and game characteristics in Lisp code. Early shareware versions included a complete Breakout clone example game (somewhat misleadingly titled "Pong"). Regrettably, there were many changes between versions, and mods for 1.x shareware versions don't necessarily work without changes in 2.x retail version.

Macintosh version

The main improvement from the Macintosh version over DOS and Linux versions was that it had better graphics; the entire thing was worked to work perfectly in 640x480 resolution, as opposed to the VGA 320x200 used by the DOS version. (The DOS and Linux versions can be made to run on higher resolutions, but the game itself isn't scaled to those resolutions!)

Level editor

The game has a built-in level editor, and you can make levels for the shareware version. An interesting feature is that it can be made to work in sync with the actual game engine. If enabled at the command line, the editor is accessible at any part of the game which allows you to test flags and triggers in real time for your latest creation, or alternatively, modify parts of the game's included levels on the fly (ie: can't find the key for that pesky door?? Then remove it!)

Naming

We chose Abuse for our first game name because the game involved knowing full well that pressing the buttons in all those rooms was going to bring down hoards of howlers, but you would do it anyway, abusing yourself. It also went well with Crack. An alternate name considered was "Them."

References

Crack Dot Com must have been Nine Inch Nails fans -- the clear namesake for protagonist Nick Vrenna is onetime NIN drummer Chris Vrenna.

Source code release

Abuse was released as Public domain software, when its creators decided to split up. The game including the source code could be downloaded from their website http://crack.com.

Additional information contributed by Arson Winter, B.L. Stryker, Pseudo_Intellectual, Roger Wilco, Sciere, WWWWolf and Zovni

Related Web Sites

emerging_lurker (136) added Abuse (DOS) on Nov 06, 1999
Other platforms contributed by Kabushi (121658), emerging_lurker (136) and Игги Друге (42896)