Between The Chasm And The Quake: Putrefaction

Putrefaction could be the name of a death metal band but it is in fact the name of a first-person shooter that just launched on Steam Early Access. The store page claims it “heavily inspired by old-school shooters from 3D Realms and id Software” and I was expecting hordes of monsters, a swift pace and (possibly) a heavy dose of interactive environmental objects.

What I’ve found, in an hour of playing, is a game closer in sensibility to the first Quake, the most recent Doom or oft-forgotten (and perhaps deservedly) 1997 title Chasm: The Rift. Levels – at least so far – are narrower than the best of Doom, but I’m sufficiently entertained to go back for more.

The first level is a zombiefest. They’re infected folks rather than dead ones, I think, but they’re zombies as far as I’m concerned. The starting weapon is an assault rifle and it chips away at them satisfactorily, causing the last bodypart hit to peel itself free and bounce across the room. Corpses have slightly elastic physics, which is great – they pile on top of one another in ways that seem as if they’re striving to be meaningful. Look at this:

Problem is, that’s about the most entertaining thing about the game so far. There are little scuttling enemies, like the spider-bonce from The Thing, and various shooty ones. There are keycards to collect (although only one per level so far – the “simple keycard”) and I’ve found four different weapons. There’s that starting rifle, an axe that doesn’t seem to do a great deal of damage, a minigun that has that couple of seconds to SPOOL UP, as they say in the business, and a shotgun.

How’s the shotgun?

Glad you asked. It doesn’t quite work. It looks chunky, too chunky in fact, and it does a heck of a lot of damage, which is as it should be. But the best FPS shotguns are the ones that feel like melee weapons, the ones that you have to run up real close and splatter demons right in the face to use effectively. Putrefaction’s shotgun doesn’t seem to have enough spread to its projectiles, so if you aim well, you can hit an enemy with the full impact across a room. That needs to change.

And there’s time for change, this being Early Access and all. The current campaign has five (short) levels and 12+ are planned for the final release, as well as new enemies and weapons. In its current state, it’s not putrid but I can’t really recommend it.

21 Comments

  1. Gilead says:

    I like the original Quake, but what I like most about the original Quake was the weird fusion of cyberpunk, industrial/gothic architecture and bizarre Lovecraftian and fantasy elements, combined with the NIN soundtrack and some really satisfying weapons.

    Unless they add a Shambler and levels with names like black metal song titles I’m not buying it.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It’s already called “Putrefaction,” so I think they should use level names like “Empathological Necroticism” “Crepitating Bowel Erosion” and “Descanting the Insalubrious.”

  2. tangoliber says:

    Super accurate shotguns are the best shotguns. Shotguns with massive spread are “dumb”.

  3. Windows98 says:

    Not quite death metal (crust punk?) but noisy nevertheless

  4. Threstle says:

    Putrefaction is, indeed, the name of SEVERAL death metal band.

    link to metal-archives.com

  5. icemann says:

    I quite liked Chasm. The catch with that game, is that it gets ALOT better after the first level. First level is very meh. Rest are quite good though.

    Certainly not a “Quake beater” but it is quite fun.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I played the demo, back in the 486 era. I remember there was a bit where a polygoned man flapped his jaw at me, and it looked like Doom, but with furniture by Quake. A shin-high fence stopped me entering one room and there was a bit in the opening level where I jumped, and hit my head off the sky.

      But perhaps it was all a dream: it was a long time ago.

  6. Protester19 says:

    seems hes taken a bit of inspiration from legendary doom mapper ed cripps…

    link to doomworld.com

    link to youtube.com

    probably 3000000000X better than any knockoff game on early access.

    • Protester19 says:

      Damn, i suppose i should make it more clear that the ed cripps levels are much, much, much better than the shoddy stuff in the article… whatever, play the wad!

  7. Lim-Dul says:

    Tsk, tsk. A bit more research on the games before praising any part of them, RPS.

    As some of Jim Sterling’s viewers pointed out, this game is made up ENTIRELY of Unity Store assets without any modifications and Unity’s standard shooter code (which is why everything is so buggy).

    Levels:
    link to assetstore.unity3d.com
    Zombies:
    link to assetstore.unity3d.com
    Guns:
    link to assetstore.unity3d.com
    Other enemies:
    link to assetstore.unity3d.com

    Don’t expect the game to ever get any better since the person who made it cannot go beyond throwing a few asset packs together in a haphazard fashion. Even the level layouts are pre-made (which is why they don’t make sense). You could make that “game” in a few hours yourself, Adam.

  8. Lim-Dul says:

    Oh, I forgot the head-spider-thingies:

    link to assetstore.unity3d.com

    • Lim-Dul says:

      If the above comment looks out of context, it’s because the previous one is awaiting moderation (I guess due to the many links to the Unity Store).

      Well, I can use this opportunity to point out another thing. For those who think “Well, at least the author coded the mechanics and the AI in this game.” – think again.

      The mechanics come from this pack:
      link to assetstore.unity3d.com

      The AI most likely from here:
      link to assetstore.unity3d.com

      The author claims to have scripted the monsters himself (which isn’t hard anyway when using pre-made assets and code for everything else) but as pointed out by a viewer on Jim Sterling’s channel you can observe several bugs that are typical for an unaltered implementation of UFPS and Shooter AI.

      So yeah, quality “product” right there. Nothing designed, nothing modeled, nothing animated, nothing coded.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        What wonderful times we live in, when technologies and ecosystems are evolved enough that people can tap others’ talents to pull together a game that’s – evidently – a bit of fun.

        • Lim-Dul says:

          Yes, I know the “everything is a remix” argument.

          However, it doesn’t hold water when a game is made up ENTIRELY of pre-made assets. If there’s anything fun about the game the authors of the respective asset packs should be thanked for that, not the hack that threw them all together. Which, again, is so easy you could do it yourself.

          There’s a fine line between getting a few assets from the store, adapting them, perhaps reskinning them, then coming up with an original game and literally re-selling asset packs.

          The same is happening with UnitZ: link to assetstore.unity3d.com

          • OLegKazakov says:

            Hi Lim-Dul. I see that there is easy for you to say whatever you want about my game, even if you didn’t played it in the first place. I am actually scripted AI myself, I didn’t bought it. If you would’ve play my game you would’ve saw that there are nemies who charge you, there is a boss fight with unique mechanic and there are different behaviours in one type of enemy. There is nothing like this in the unity store.
            The models that I have purchased had 3 rooms with cople of boxes – I spent couple of months to make 5 complete levels from this and I didn’t use any layouts you are talking about. But you would’ve saw it if you tried game.

            Now Adam actually tried game and he said that it has some fun moments with a lot of problems. This is much better than all of the people who started witch-hunt just because I tried to make a game with pre-made assets. That is why he is a serious journalist and why I respect him.

          • Hobbes says:

            OLegKazakov – Asset flipping is not something to be proud of, all you are doing is standing on the shoulders of other peoples’ work. That work by the way is intended *as a base* from which you are supposed to grow your own original ideas and design from, not something to be photocopied wholesale and then pasted into a “game” which you assemble together like a jigsaw.

            @ Alice, I thought better of you and of RPS, because this kind of behaviour should not be encouraged or condoned. There’s a damn good reason Jim Sterling and others are shredding it a new one, and there’s a damn good reason the Refund system Steam has now implemented will see to it that people like this will end up suffering, it’s because they do not deserve to profit for what is basically a con trick.

            There’s far better games that deserve time and space on this site. Really.

          • RobF says:

            What a miserable thread.

            I’ve long argued that one of the points we need to get to with games, to get more people into making games, is to make art assets more freely available (I did a big talk on this about 5 years ago) either by sharing (ideal) or by selling (less than but still above board).

            It’s something that Danc has long encouraged over on Lost Garden too, even going so far as to supply some assets which have found their way into quite a good number of games over the years from beginner stuff to professional stuff.

            It’s fine, guys. Chill out. If you don’t think the game is worth the money then that’s fine, all this pissing over assets from =an asset store= is rubbish. Come on now.

          • Lim-Dul says:

            @RobF – I wholeheartedly agree with you that assets packs in general are good. I also agree that more people should be making games and that it’s good that it’s easier these days.

            HOWEVER, if your game is made up entirely of almost unaltered assets someone else made and you throw it together in a weekend by pressing load and save in the Unity 3D Editor, you’re not designing a game, you’re not a game maker, you’re a REseller. Had this been marked as Babby’s Furst Videa Game or a student project and given away for free nobody (well, not me anyways) would have raised an eyebrow.
            The author would have even gotten constructive feedback, I’m sure, and eventually perhaps made a proper game.

            But this pile of garbage is being sold for 10 EUR on Steam for crying out loud! The problem here is that people are SKIPPING the “learning how to design video games” step and going straight to the checkout for instant gratification. It’s a simple bet – I buy some asset packs (or even get them for free) for $XXX, throw them together in a haphazard manner and hope that I will get a return on my investment.

            Using asset packs in that way is NOT supporting the video game industry, the players or empowering brilliant new game designers – it’s a simple money-peddling scheme.

          • OLegKazakov says:

            @Lim-Dul and again – all you are doing is throwing these accusations with no real proves behind it at all. You don’t know anything about my game, you don’t know about how it was developed, you didn’t even tried it. And for some reason you are saying these lies and ignoring the truth I am telling you.
            I did a lot of models, and all scripting and level design. I made 3 rooms into 50 different rooms. I designed the gore system that many AAA games don’t have. I scripted AI of enemies and weapons behaviour. And all of this is just the beginning. Guess what – the game is in Early Access and a lot of models are just placeholders which I am going to change.
            But you dont really give a thing about it, are you? You just created this imaginary horrible cash-grabbing scheme and throw every game into it. If I wanted to cash grab I would’ve made another zombie survival crafting game.

  9. blainestereo says:

    oft-forgotten (and perhaps deservedly) 1997 title Chasm: The Rift.

    You shut your dirty heathen mouth!