Strife, originally released in 1996, could be seen as the answer to that most famous of critical questions in the history of gaming. Not ‘Were Sonic games ever any good?’ or ‘Do people actually enjoy racing games or do they just like the crashes?’ – not even the one about whether the 1982 E.T. game was actually the world’s first misunderstood arthouse walking simulator. Strife answered a very specific question, extrapolated from Edge’s review of the original Doom. What would happen if you could talk to the creatures? In Strife, you can. Eighteen years after its original release, the FPS-RPG is returning later today in a revamped ‘Veteran Edition’.
I must have been in my mid-teens when I played the demo of Strife and it didn’t take me long to nag my mum for enough dosh to buy the full version. My nagging skills were only good for one game every couple of months so I was showing an extraordinary commitment to this one, and with good reason. It was the first game since System Shock and Ultima Underworld that looked like it might push first-person games into new territories. Even then I was looking for the immersive sim. Released just a couple of years before Thief and Half Life fundamentally altered the course of FPS games, Strife is often forgotten.
It certainly deserves to be remembered but I’m not entirely convinced that it needs to be remembered in a brand new edition. New features are as follows:
Support for high resolutions, with proper aspect ratio.
OpenGL for video backend to provide portability and support for vertical sync.
Dynamic lighting and bloom
Ability to freely rebind all keyboard, mouse, and gamepad inputs.
Steam Trading Cards
And there’s a Capture the Chalice multiplayer mode, which was planned but cut from the original game, as was a special HUD for the Torpedo weapon and objective markers on the map. It’s out on Steam later today but the release date right there on the Store page says “Release Date: 31 May, 1996”, which pleases me no end.