Rise of the Triad: Dark War

aka: ROTT, Wolfenstein 3D: Part II, Wolfenstein: Rise of the Triad
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Description official descriptions

A madman with power to kill millions has been discovered, and HUNT (High-risk United Nations Taskforce) has been dispatched to discover his plans. Your team was infiltrating his island stronghold when everything went to hell. The infiltration boat exploded and fire came from all directions. The only way out is in, into the the fortress, but to stay out here would be certain death. So in you go, guns blazing...

Rise of the Triad, a first-person shooter, is the successor of Wolfenstein 3D, with a somewhat improved 3D engine. Everything is still composed from blocks, but multiple vertical levels have been added; there are stairs made of platforms floating in air, and jump pads which launch you (and the enemies) high up so that you can walk over tall barriers in your way.

The game offers a lot of weapons. You begin with a pistol, but later you can find an extra pistol for John Woo-style shooting, and a MP40 rifle. All these weapons have unlimited ammo. You can also find more potent weapons - from classic rocket launcher, to quite wacky contraptions such as a "drunk missile" launcher or the "Excalibat", a powerful baseball bat. However, you can carry only one such a strong weapon at a time, and they have limited ammo.

Enemies are mostly humans equipped with various weapons. Their attacks can be quite varied; some of them can steal your weapons (though you can retrieve them after killing them), other shoot nets at you that trap you (you have to wriggle out, unless you found a knife, which will allow you to cut your way out). Apart from enemies, you'll be endangered by fireball launchers, rolling boulders and crushing walls.

There's a lot of power-ups you can pick up. They all have various wacky effects: for example, "God Mode" makes you immortal and allows you to toss homing, insta-death missiles; "Dog Mode" turns you into a... dog, which can fit into small spaces (and is inexplicably invulnerable to weapons); "Shrooms Mode" makes everything shine with bright colours, as if you were on drugs; "Elasto Mode" makes you very prone to bouncing off walls when you run into them.

ROTT also offers a lot of multi-player game modes; there's the standard deathmatch and "Capture the Triad", but there are also more varied modes - e.g. in "Collector" the players have no weapons, instead trying to collect as many "triads" as possible; in "Deluder", the players earn points by destroying "eluders" which move around the level.

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Credits (DOS version)

74 People (65 developers, 9 thanks) · View all



Average score: 71% (based on 25 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 126 ratings with 11 reviews)

A great game... although a bit rough around the edges.

The Good
ROTT is a great game. I don't care what others say about it.

Gameplay is similiar to Doom but it looks more like Wolf3D but without the roof restrictions. You basically run around and shoot people. In fact, the level of gore can be changed, depending on whether or not you want your kids to see exploding people :)

Control is mostly with the keyboard. Basic controls and easily customizable.

The sound is pretty good, although listening to the enemies go "Argh!" every time the are shot is annoying.

The level layout is very good. Probably easy to do, but I haven't designed levels... yet :)

Another excellent idea built into the game is swappable weapons. Unlike the other 3d Shooters, you can have only 4 different guns. You keep a pistol, dual pistol, and machine gun (with unlimited ammo). The fourth weapon is swappable, meaning that if you pick up another weapon, you drop the one you have. It's an excellent way of evening out the game, especially during deathmatching.

The Bad
The bouncers. The little pads on the ground that toss you up a level. They are just plain annoying, even though they good put a good twist on gameplay.

The Bottom Line
This game is a great introduction to 3D shooters. If you are timid about the Dooms and the Quakes, this will be and easy "stepping stone" into the more advanced games.

DOS · by Chris Martin (1169) · 2000

Gore, Gore, and Triads

The Good
The graphics (mainly the gore :) and net code were amazing -- the LAN play was some of the best I've ever seen, they held nothing back. The parental control thing was cool, too. Although I had no use for it, it made the game appeal to a broader audience.

The Bad
Its popularity. It surpassed DOOM in quality, but the DOOM name totaly destroyed any chance of sucess for ROTT.

The Bottom Line
A blood-fest. A nothing-held-back war. Kill everything or be killed.

DOS · by Plix (197) · 2000

ROTT is definitely deserving of its cult classic status.

The Good
First and foremost, ROTT is an extremely fun game. It's a straightforward first-person shooter with a lot going for it. Many of its weapons are very original and generally fun to use. Humorous touches are everywhere, especially in the sound effects. The game's 40 or so levels are usually longer than those in most other first-person shooters released in the early '90s. The music, while not always completely fitting, is well composed. I have not had a chance to try out the multiplayer mode, but with the wealth of game types and levels available to choose from, I'm sure it's a blast. Plus, there's just something about this game that makes it terribly addictive...

The Bad
The ROTT engine can best be described as a mix of Wolfenstein and Doom, with some strange results. While the levels are more interesting and memorable than those in Wolfenstein, they're a lot less interesting and memorable than those in Doom. "Level" would be a better description for these than "area" or "place". On the other hand, they do play pretty well. The color pallette is pretty drab, and the game doesn't include a huge number of textures. Also, some of the enemies are pretty easy, while some are much too tough (for example, the grenade-throwing, machine gun-toting officers who can take 10 times the damage of most other enemies). While there are a large number of weapons at your disposal, you'll end up using the dull machine gun most of the time because of its unlimited ammunition capacity. Too bad.

The Bottom Line
Most people have forgotten about Rise of the Triad, which is a shame, because it's so much fun to play. It's not Doom, but it's almost as addictive. The shareware version is available all over the web- give it a shot.

DOS · by Matt Dabrowski (218) · 1999

[ View all 11 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Two different BBFC ratings CrankyStorming (2913) Dec 6th, 2011
ROTT HQ That guy (1) Jun 17th, 2011


Digitized actors

Rise of the Triad: Dark War's bad guys are the developers dressed up and digitized. For instance, Sebastian "Doyle" Krist's (the second boss in the game) chair is actually just an office chair, and the controls he uses are staplers. The actor who played Krist, Rise of the Triad: Dark War Level Designer Joe Siegler, admitted that he almost stapled his hands a couple times during filming.

Easter eggs

ROTT has a huge number of easter eggs. Some of which include:

Holiday hats If you play ROTT when your system clock indicates that it's one of five different holidays, the "group picture" of the five main characters is changed slightly. In addition, on Christmas, the music for the first level is changed to a familiar Christmas tune. The holidays and effects are as follows:

Easter (date varies) - Lorelei Ni wears Easter Bunny ears.

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) - Ian wears a sombrero.

Independence Day (July 4th) - Doug holds an American flag.

Halloween (October 31st) - Thi wears a witch's hat.

Christmas (December 24th) - Taradino wears a Santa Claus hat, on December 25th, new music plays in the first level the first level.

There's a way to get all five "holiday hats" in Rise Of The Triad to show up on the screen at the same time. If you finish the game the right way, and destroy all the larvae in the last level, watch ALL the credits (takes several minutes). You'll get to a screen that says "The HUNT is victorious. The End." Do nothing. Let it sit there for about a minute or two, and you'll get another "The End" screen where all five "holiday hats" are shown at once.

Dopefish mode: Start up ROTT using: "rott dopefish"

It will bring you into "Dopefish" mode, where instead of getting the level name at the loading screen you get a smart-ass comment, and a special Dopefish death cam for when you're hit by enemy missile fire. The bottom of the ROTT digital help file also contains a reference to the Dopefish.

Cheeky message: If you make the screen-size really small a message appears. It says: "Buy a 486 :)"

Quit messages: When you exit the game, the game asks you "Yes or No?" in a variety of ways. This in itself is not special, but with each question you get a different sound byte. Here are some examples:

Press Y to pull your plug (makes a that notorious long beep as if your heart stopped)

Press Y to open trap door (sound of someone falling and a rope twisting)

Press Y to release cyanide gas (sound of liquid spilling and gas rising)

Press Y to activate the electric chair (electric snap and sizzle)

Press Y to drive your car off the cliff (car skidding and crashing)

Press Y to activate guillotine (sound of blade falling and thump of head spilling into a pan)

Press Y to signal firing squad ("Ready, aim, fire!")

German index

On March 31, 1995, Rise of the Triad: Dark War was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

Multiple character classes in all game modes

ROTT was the first game to have different characters to play as in both single player and multiplayer (Corridor 7: Alien Invasion predated ROTT with multiple character classes in MP, even if the classes were nearly identical in that game) and they all have different voices (only things like death, grunt sounds…they didn't talk like Duke Nukem) and abilities. Incidentally, some of the level traps were designed so you could only get by them with certain players.

RSAC rating

It was the first game to get an RSAC rating of 4 (the highest) with wanton and gratuitous violence. Once you blew up somebody, their head might hurtle towards you, their eyeballs might fall in front of your face, their blood might linger in the air or stick on the walls for a few minutes. If that's not enough, there is also an EKG mode (Engine Killing Gibs) that's accessible with a cheat code. Though cautious parents and people who aren't fans of the gore can disable using the games inbuilt parental lock feature, believed to be the first game with such a feature.

On another note, upon gibbing an enemy, depending on how quick your eyes are, you can sometimes spot a severed arm flipping you off as it flies off the screen. A member of the ROTT development team said that this was almost impossible to capture in a screenshot. See the screenshots for the infamous hand.

Source code release

Apogee released the source code for Rise of the Triad on December 20, 2002; almost 8 years to the day of the original release of the game. To find out where you can download it, visit Apogee's official site: http://www.apogee1.com


Ever wondered what´s the Triad? Historically, following the fall of the Qing Dynasty of China in 1911, followers of the original Taiping Rebellion suddenly found themselves lost without a purpose. Unable to revert to normal civilian lives after spending years living under grave danger and extreme violence, many ex-rebels reunited to form a cult which later came to be known as the "Triad". The "Triad" (commonly known as Chinese Mafia) is actually a collective term that refers to the many branches of the underground society based in Hong Kong. It is engaged in all forms of organized crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering etc. The triangular logo used in the game is actually a modified version of the actual "Triad" logo. (from www.wikipedia.org)

Wolfenstein 3D engine

The game engine that Rise of the Triad: Dark War uses is actually a heavily modified version of the original Wolfenstein 3-D engine. In some ways it outperforms the Doom engine, though in many other ways, the limits of the Wolf3D engine are clearly visible. Later, Tom Hall admitted that he made a huge mistake by deciding to stick with the original Wolf3D engine rather than switching to the Build engine that the "team next door" was using for Duke Nukem 3D. He said that if he had switched ROTT to the Build engine, he could've gotten a technologically advanced game up and running in no time, as opposed to the hard time that Apogee had modifying the Wolf3D engine. (His statements about this can be found in the readme file included with the ROTT public source code that was released on December 20, 2002.)

Working title

Rise of the Triad: Dark War was originally Wolfenstein 3D: Part II - id Software licensed the Wolf3D engine to Apogee so Tom Hall could create another sequel to Wolfenstein a year after Spear of Destiny was released. Eventually id Software decided not to let another company handle their IP and cancelled the contract for Wolfenstein 3D: Part II but allowed them to continue licensing the Wolf3D engine.

Information also contributed by Brolin Empey, CaptainCanuck, John Romero, j. jones, Roger Wilco, Spartan_234, wossname, Xantheous, and Xoleras

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Related Sites +

  • Joe Siegler's Rise of the Triad Shrine
    A little known but highly informative shrine site dedicated to ROTT. Lots of add-ons, screenshots, patches, etc.
    A collective site of all things Rise of the Triad containing source ports, user maps, shareware versions and other assorted goodies .(English)
  • ROTT Original Design Spec
    What was ROTT going to be originally?
  • Rise of the Triad v1.3
    official game page from 1997, preserved by the Wayback Machine
  • The HUNT: Rise of the triad
    A solid site, which includes all the resorces that can be found on the ROTT cd. This site is the home to the finest article written on this game, ROTT in Hell.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Matt Dabrowski.

Windows added by Picard. Linux added by Alsy. Macintosh added by lights out party. iPhone, iPad added by Scaryfun.

Additional contributors: Accatone, Kate Jones, Xantheous, Erez Schatz, Kasey Chang, Alaka, Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd), Verm --, Plok, That guy, MrFlibble.

Game added November 13th, 1999. Last modified August 25th, 2023.