It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a fan of Doom and Wolfenstein. Bethesda made sure we got some wonderful updates to the series and, well, if for some reason that isn’t enough for you then you’ll be thrilled to hear about Intrude. It’s like the original early shooter releases of the 90s when the genre was still young while still possessing enough new polish to keep you interested and playing.
Intrude attempts to hone in on what made early first person shooters so successful and addicting and overall I think it succeeds. Many of the things that I enjoyed about Doom and Wolfenstein are here and I feel like many of the issues that I had with them have been addressed. It feels a bit unfair to compare a 2016 release to popular shooters from over twenty years ago but it’s where the developer Michael Kruba wanted to take us all back to, so grab your key card and let’s go!
Intrude looks great while still managing to look old and, while that may sound simple, I think the developer should be applauded for how close to the sun he got without burning himself, or the game. It replicates the early 90’s charm while leaving behind a lot of the now archaic clutter that has weighed the period’s games down for new gamers today. Intrude looks crisp and sharp while also retaining its old and vintage style. I’m happy that older and more retro games are in now because I can revisit what made me love gaming but with some of the improvements they have picked up over the years. Intrude manages to look enough like Doom and Wolfenstein while still differentiating itself enough to stand on its own. It feels like a remastered 90’s album … familiar but sharp and still somehow full of discovery.
Luckily, Intrude plays just as much like early shooters as it looks like them; and it’s wonderful. I do wish there was some controller support but I understand the appeal in just playing with the keyboard and mouse. I know many gamers prefer it that way but as long as we’re making an older shooter more accessible and sharp for newer generations I really feel that controller support would have been just as refreshing as the other updates. I don’t think that it’s as fast paced as Doom but it isn’t really meant to just encompass that one game; it’s also meant to feel like early Wolfenstein and it juggles the games well. There are fast paced sections but there are also times you’re just bouncing from corridor to corridor and popping shells in enemies here and there. Your reaction time will need to be on point to keep your health up, but if you’re familiar with the early games of the FPS genre then you already know that. There are times it does feel like Doom but it never feels too similar, so even those well versed in the classic are bound to have a great time.
My biggest issue with the first person genre is getting lost and not knowing where to go after killing every single visible enemy and ending up kicking and shooting everything. It’s at this point that I have already tried to open every potential secret entrance I can think of and I’m low on ammo from shooting everything in frustration. Now, before anyone tries to judge me, let me give you an example that we can all agree on to explain the point I’m trying to make: The Library in Halo: Combat Evolved. Exactly. Quit judging and agree with me. There are just too many times that shooting is the full focus and not good level design. I always loved Doom as a kid but I can tell you that most of the times I rage quit it was from being lost and frustrated and not from getting killed repeatedly. Now I bring this point up because this is what Intrude has addressed the best while digging up the past. It brings so much of the good while leaving behind what has always made me have second thoughts when I consider booting up Wolfenstein and Doom. It’s refreshing and has caused me to have a newfound happiness for the FPS genre of yesteryear. It’s great and I couldn’t be happier about it. Doom may be the granddaddy of the shooter genre, but with the good comes the bad as well – this is not so with Intrude! I expected a good time with Intrude and I was prepared to have to handle a lot more bad with a little bit of nostalgia and the good. I was shocked, and all the more happy for it. There’s exploring in Intrude but that’s just it; you navigate from area to area and never really feel lost. Even secrets make more sense because they are never an impossible-to-find area … you just need to look and spend a bit more time in areas is all.
Intrude is a great revisit to the infancy of the first person shooter. It’s so much more than a nostalgic trip and that’s what makes this such a great game for gamers of all ages to check it out. Intrude controls very tightly and responsively, while also being difficult and addictive. It does so many things right in correcting many of the drawbacks of the past while bringing the treasure with it. I could not be happier in saying that the controls and responsiveness are just as tight, or tighter yet, than the games it pays homage too. I never really felt lost and got to enjoy what Doom and Wolfenstein were trying to show me so many years ago. I’m proud to say that the attitude and music spells Doom for this title and not the frustration and hopelessness in not knowing where to go.
If you’re a fan of old school shooters or just want to see what all the fuss was about when the FPS genre was in its infancy then you owe it to yourself to check Intrude out. Other than a little mediocrity in the level design here and there, this is a real gem. Pick it up on Steam the next time you’re looking for a new and fun game to play.
A PC Review Code for Intrude was provided by Michael Kruba for the purpose of this review.