pax west 2016

Strafe Continues To Be An Explosive Barrel Of Old-School Shooter Fun

by Javy Gwaltney on Sep 04, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Strafe aspires to do one thing: capture the gory, maddening action of sci-fi first-person shooters from the mid 90s. Guess what? Strafe is very very good at doing this.

I'd already played an early demo of the game back before E3 and came away impressed with what I saw, mostly how Strafe channeled the nonsense and guts of the first-person shooters from that era while also not being excruciatingly difficult like Quake and Unreal could be. Strafe casts you as a "As a Scraper on a impossibly dangerous mission at the edge of the galaxy" but the plot isn't that important or noteworthy. What is the attractive frantic movement speed that you'll use to zip around environments and blast hordes of enemies into bloody chunks with upgradeable weapons, like a shotgun that can be fitted with a laser-based secondary fire.

During the PAX West demo, I saw several features that were new. My favorite is easily that certain doors containing goodies that can only be unlocked via retina scanner. How do you unlock the retina scanner? Well, there are decapitated heads littered around each level, with each head opening the door that has the corresponding retina scanner.It's goofy and dumb and absolutely hilarious, which pretty much sums up Strafe as a whole so far.

I was also able so spy a new zone that took place in a cave-looking area filled with enemies that had heads filled with acid. If you shoot one of them, acid sprays all over you, damaging you. This forces most players who are used to the rules of FPS to buck one of the main pillars of the genre: always go for the headshot.

As a hardcore first-person shooter fan, I'm always delighted when I come away from a demo of Strafe, a game that seems like it will live up to its aspirations. Strafe is due out sometime in 2017.