Bloody 90s-styled shooter Strafe is coming out in March

The blocky, gore-filled FPS Strafe [official site] is sidestepping onto PC on March 28, channeling the rocket launchers and shotguns of 1996 and combining them with some roguelite shiz. You pick a main weapon out of three guns to start then pile-drive through randomised levels, leaving the blood of your enemies behind as a “guidance system” – a blood-soaked corridor that shows you where you’ve been. It’s solid stuff, says our Adam, who wrote that it was more than a simple parody of the olden days and that “it has enough tricks of its own to feel elegant and modern, despite its grungy graphics”.

Here’s a wee release trailer they posted with it.

That’s okay. But you might remember it better for its first 90s styled advertisement from a couple of years ago, which showcases some of the expected humour – the work of Pixel Titans and lead designer Thom Glunt, who really was a commercials man before the vidgam business stole him away. Don’t worry, there’s at least one FMV tutorial sequence in the game.

As for the game itself, the levels come in short batches of three or four and even though they are put together randomly, they will focus on a certain theme – weird organic planet, spaceship, etc. You just have to murder your way to the next door, picking up upgrades and pieces of kit as you go. Short bursts of violent 90s mayhem – that’s publisher Devolver Digital’s raison d’etre for sure, and it doesn’t always work. But Adam’s faith in this homage is a bolstering thought. We’ll remind you about it again, blood fans!


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    subdog says:

    The soul of every good 1990’s shooter was its level design.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Eh, to be honest the maps for both Dooms are always the part I’ve been least impressed by. Its weapons, bestiary, movement etc were what carried it, and that’s why it’s endured so well, and why I can play even a mediocre user-made mapset or, indeed, a set of randomly generated maps with those mechanics and have a whale of a time.

      In short, this will probably be pretty great fun.

      • Jalan says:

        Seems less like the level design was intended to impress and instead be something that holds up over time (with some exceptions – American McGee levels, I’m looking at you).

        • Niko says:

          Yeah, it’s very different from “realistic” level design. It’s abstract, and it’s about function in the first place.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I PREFER my oldschool shooters with abstract levels that aren’t trying too hard to model a particular, realistic place. I’d rather they be fun to play than have convincing polygonal bathrooms or whatever. Indeed, it can even work in the game’s favour visually – my favourite Doom user-made mapsets, to continue the example, are all extremely abstract or just plain weird.

            When I say vanilla Doom1 and 2’s maps didn’t impress me much, I was purely talking about the gameplay sense. They’re ‘fine’, they’re just for me the weakest element of those games.

            I will say the first two Quakes had pretty solid level design for the most part, although I haven’t continued playing those year after year like I have with Doom, so my memory may be a little rose-tinted there.

      • scab says:

        Really underselling the map design in the original shipped games.

    • fray_bentos says:

      However, by watching videos of this game, you’d think that the soul of every good 1990’s shooter was repetitive enemies.

  2. merzbau says:

    One thing worth noting: on the basis of this cut, the soundtrack- by Kingdom composer Toytree- is going to be incredible.

  3. Flopdong says:

    Really looking forward to this one. Paid for it on Kickstarter two years ago, excited to finally play it

  4. milligna says:

    I don’t understand what any of this has to do with the 90s.

  5. April March says:

    Violent 90s Mayhem is the name of my Dave McKean-inspired collage comic.

  6. rb207 says:

    You may rightly call me ignorant but there is a proliferation of indy games on here and on steam. I don’t think they have the quality that I am looking for. This reminds me of the commodore or whatever it was that wasn’t as successful as snes was full of great titles while the commodore had no quality control.

    For some the diversity might be thrilling but for me. It’s not. I know this is ignorant in a way but I think steam and this website should bear in mind the casual reader/ games buyer.

    I have a point surely?

    • Niko says:

      You are looking in the wrong place maybe? If you are interested in AAA games, they are covered pretty much everywhere. While I agree with your sentiment regarding Steam (looks like Valve decided to stop moderating both the market and the community), and it’s full of very shady products, RPS covers what they think is deserving.

      Not sure what you mean by casual gamers. A lot of indie games are quite casual and user-friendly, so either it’s a very arbitrary division, or by casual you mean “people who can afford all the AAA games out there.”

    • Crafter says:

      >I have a point surely?

      I don’t think so. It seems that Strife is probably not for you but so far there is nothing indicating that Strife is a low quality game.

      If by quality you mean high fidelity graphics, Strife is not for you and there is no shortage of coverage for this kind of games on RPS.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      Oh you have a point indeed; like one of the replies you got, people always think as if the video game market has only two extreme edges: the AAA titles and the unfinished indie crap badly put together on Unity or something.

      It turns out that people forget what we have in between, like indie titles that actually surpasses themselves, or side B companies that sometimes delivers great flawed gems, and so on.

      Getting back in the subject, you’re right. This diversity isn’t always a good thing because it blurs other titles that are in need of the light of the press. I’m not saying Strafe sucks, I still didn’t play it, but let’s take Shadow Tactics as an example: that game came literally out of nowhere, and it’s the best Commandos-like game in decades. Maybe if the press had stopped covering crap, they could have made some previews and other news regarding Shadow Tactics.

      • ButteringSundays says:

        You mean like the Wot I Think that RPS posted, where they recommended the game? link to

        No site will please everyone with their content, but the idea that RPS isn’t diverse with its coverage, while focussing on quality titles, is slander.

        • gabrielonuris says:

          I wans’t refering to RPS, it was an example of the press in general.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      Sure, it’s not a very good point, but a point none the less.

      If you’re missing out on indy games because you think theyre fore some hardcore subset then that’s a sad state of affairs.

  7. tonicer says:

    Sad that it will be a multiplatform game. Fucking consoles!

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      What a shame that mor people will be able to play it.

    • MajorLag says:

      As long as they don’t make any stupid compromises for sub-par console FPS controls or really screw the pooch on how M+K works (looking at you, PC port of Dark Souls, you unplayable mess), then who cares?

      • MrUnimport says:

        I can’t believe anyone expected to be able to play Dark Souls with a mouse. I was happy just to get the port, especially after the fan patch fixed the resolution issues.

        • zeep says:

          Well it’s a game ported to pc. Which has a foundation of control using the mouse + kb. How can you not believe people expect that control?

        • MajorLag says:

          I didn’t know what it was at all really, just that it was highly praised. Also, yeah, it’s a PC game. One expects it to at least be functional with the one control scheme every PC has.

  8. syllopsium says:

    March? They’ll need to do better than the current state. The trailer shows nothing, and their pre-alpha trailer on their own website is substantially lacking in comparison to any half decent 90s shooter.

    There’s not really that much humour, and definitely insufficient explosions.

  9. dozurdogbite says:

    I watched that advert (the 90’s style one). To me that looks like cat food. I mean the stuff coming out of his head. And I would like to say to the lady (if there’s a slight chance that she’s reading this) that you can’t fix a blown-up boy’s head by patting cat food and wispering desperate comforting words. Just my two cents.