In the 22nd century, humanity has achieved world peace. The United Earth Space Alliance (UESA) was able to fully concentrate on space exploration. In the year 2147, the first colony ship was launched towards the asteroid Theta-2. However, the second vessel, carrying the colonists, encountered a terrifying disturbance in space. Alien ships emerged from what later became known as "The Void", and attacked the colony ship; the subsequent fate of ten thousand people on board was unknown. Humans constructed the inter-dimensional starfighter Radix, and sent it through The Void, in a desperate attempt to face the alien threat.
Radix: Beyond the Void is a "2.5D" shooter in which the player controls a small spaceship, using mounted weaponry to deal with mechanized foes, somewhat similar to Descent. Weapons may target individual enemies or initiate blasts that damage large areas; some of the scenery is destructible as well. Game progression is mission-based.
Way back when Epic Megagames were producing tens of games within a year, there was one shooter that was compared to Descent, and overlooked simply because its graphics were not as good. This game, however, has very little in common with Descent other than a lack of gravity, and deserves far more respect than anyone granted it at the time. You see, Radix: Beyond The Void is insane. Unlike Descent, where robots were found in ones or twos and were often able to do a considerable amount of damage on their own, Radix has largely ineffective robots. The challenge in Radix is that every room has a large number of enemies scattered everywhere - it is common to enter a room and encounter a hundred robots, all either firing a large amount of energy weapons at you, or flying around the room and ramming into you at high speed. Because of this, the gameplay is hectic, frenetic and more exciting than Descent. The weapon design in the game matches the speed perfectly, with all of the weapons having either a high rate of fire, most notably the EPC and the Neutron cannon, or an area effect, such as the Gravity Wave, which is capable of clearing an entire room in a single shot, or the Plasma Spreader, which sends bouncing plasma around a room. In addition to being suited well to the gameplay, the weapons match the speed of multiplayer games, making for fast-paced and unbiased combat. The art style of the game involves heavy use of red and grey, especially on the alien planet, and is well served by a Doom-style graphics engine utilising mostly sprites. The strength in the graphics of the game, however, is the amount of debris and the number of explosions. Every enemy death and barrel detonation is accompanied by a string of explosion and smoking pieces of robot or shredded pieces of alien (often both) flying everywhere to the point that sometimes the engine is unable to handle them all. The sound and music are both of excellent quality, although the harsh guitar sound of the music may become irritating after a while. Alo unlike Descent, the story plays a minor part in the game, providing your motivations for completing both your primary and secindary objectives. The map design is quite unconventional, and provides a far more direct path to your episodical objectives than other games - that is, where some games would tell you to find another way round, Radix tells you to hold down your Fire button and blast straight through, and it is refreshing to see a game that just tells you to blow everything up. The only complaint I have about the game is that the game is quite short, even on the hardest difficulty level. If you're not as picky as me and don't worry about finding every secret and killing every enemy, it will likely be even shorter, and can probably be finished in a dedicated afternoon. Other than that, Radix is an addictive, fast-moving blast-fest worthy of a 5.
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Quiver, Quake, Rebel Moon, Duke Nukem 3D, Jill of the Jungle, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Quake Mission Pack No 1: Scourge of Armagon, Red Babe
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