As someone who grew up playing way too much Duke Nukem 3D and other timeless classics of the era (Doom, Quake, Heretic, etc.), Ion Maiden is a match made in heaven: Build – the engine that powered Duke Nukem 3D, Blood and Shadow Warrior – also runs this one. That’s right, a game due in 2019 on an engine almost 25 years old. Doesn’t get more old-school, or awesome, than this!
Having sampled its preview campaign (fully available, in spite of the game being in Early Access) however, I was left wondering just how what I experienced was even remotely possible with 90s tech. Turns out the people at Voidpoint are actually wizards. Wizards who have cooked up one helluva cocktail, mixing old and new in a an ever so slightly modified version of said engine, adding things like headshots, “more physics and interactivity”, widescreen and controller support… to name but a few modernizations. Or maybe they’ve simply unlocked the full potential of their engine, now that the hardware can actually handle it, unlike in 1995? Also a possibility.
Her quest to slay Heskel leaves a trail of carnage throughout huge, multi-path levels filled with gigantic explosions, more secret areas than we can count, and inhuman foes behind every corner. There’s no regenerating health here; stop taking cover and start running and gunning.
Whatever the case, if the carnage left in my wake – some of which can be seen in the above screenshot – is any indication of what to expect from the full campaign, good times ahead, I’d say. Who needs another soulless Call of Duty or yet another trip through World War I and/or II in Battlefield when you can blow the ever-loving you-know-what out of Heskel’s minions.
Who? Oh right, Dr. Jadus Heskel is Ion Maiden‘s antagonist, and your job is to stop him. Weapons? Well… your firearm (one of many) is a pistol dubbed ‘Loverboy’, because, you know, why the heck not? Also, explosions. Did I mention explosions? And pixels. Ah, so many glorious pixels. Is it 2019 yet?!