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 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?!