A neglected masterpiece.
This game has a fantastic storyline. Robots, automatic rifles and mutated religious fanatics packed into the medieval times in one. But of course that would be a bit far fetched now wouldn't it? Well before you start the game a narrative depicted in pictures explains how all this became. In short, comet strikes earth, comet releases plague, some survivors mutated into beings known as "The Order" who worship something known as "The Sigil" and those who did not believe in this new religion where brutally beaten, tortured and then "Converted". That's when the rebels and angry peasants come in.....
A special mention also goes to the games graphics, some might see the textures as very blocky and muddy but this is the "Doom" engine pushed to limit. Surprisingly it does a good job of creating an atmosphere, whether it be the grey's and brown's of a medieval town or the dark and light green's of an "Order" temple. The comic-book like art of an important character face as you talk to them is a nice touch and immerses you into this strange world even more.
The levels themselves are great to. They are designed well and look like you would imagine a alien spaceship and underground sewers . My particular favorite is the mission in when "The Front" a resistance group lead by Macil storm "The Order" castle and an large skirmish breaks out between the rebels against robots and cyborgs. The levels are separated using a HUB system meaning instead of linear levels, you can go back and forth from one level to the other which adds to the feeling that this is a real world.
The gameplay is great also and this is what makes Strife a different game from the rest of the doom clones. Instead of shooting everything that moves you have to sometimes actually talk them (amazing I know) to extract information about people, places and objects. Also this is the first game I can remember playing were you have allied soldiers fighting along side you. There is also an RPG element to the game were you have items med packs etc.. to use at anytime. Further more there is also a stat system which determines accuracy and health but apart health the stat system doesn't really affect the game.
Finally the music, even though it's MIDI it can still set the atmosphere for most levels from a rebel underground base to a creepy network of catacombs.
There is not much I didn't like about the game apart from maybe one or two levels which are boring endless mazes where you have to solve a puzzle to get out of like "The Sewers" *yawn*
The A.I is well, laughable but because of the games sometimes restrictive controls, this gives the A.I an advantage because you can't mouse look in the game, also when I played "Doom" non stop when it was first released, I never ever perfected the art of strafing and the same goes for here, even though you can strafe, I find it terribly difficult to turn left,right and strafe at the same time (this is personally speaking of course.)
The save file system is an extremely bad idea as well. I must of had start the game again at least three times because I took at wrong turn got surrounded and had no chance of escaping. This problem can be fixed with a patch though.
The Bottom Line
This game is a CLASSIC. It was one of the first games to combine 1st person shooter and RPG elements into one gaming experience. Think of it as Half-Life
's older brother.