By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 14, 2020
It was the summer holiday of 1996. I was 16 years old and our PC at home had just finished installing Duke Nukem 3D. I was just getting into playing video games back then, and this was actually my first introduction to first person shooter games and I played that game all summer long! All thanks to a developer called 3D Realms... And guess who's back in town?!
Nowadays, some 24 years after my first game of First Person Shooting, the genre is still going strong; it just never gets old. I bet the awesome people of 3D Realms had the same thought, because they decided to build a brand new game, based on the now-famous "Build Engine"; the same engine they used for many of their golden oldies, like Shadow Warrior, Blood and, of course, the aforementioned Duke Nukem 3D. So, without further ado, let's dive into the world of Ion Fury! I first saw the game during last year's Gamescom. It was great to see a new game from the actual publisher of many great FPS titles. Founded in 1987 as Apogee Software Productions, they changed their name to 3D Realms a few years later, in 1996. Now, I don't want to brag about it, but I can tell you that hanging out with the guys and girls of 3D Realms while playing their upcoming games and talking about their golden oldies, is a great way to spend your time!
But let's go back to this review, Ion Fury. Join this bad ass leading lady Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison as she takes the battle for Neo D.C. to consoles around the world. Yes, this game was already available for PC, but now Ion Fury makes its way to current-gen consoles! It's a first person shooter in 90's style, so think exploding pixels, fast gameplay and an awesome synthesizer soundtrack to top it all off. And Ion Fury incorporates all of these elements and mixes them into a frantic and challenging FPS experience. When choosing a difficulty level, you will see a portrait of our leading lady next to a word, which describes the difficulty setting. The portrait and the word both indicate how just hard (and punishing for the protagonist) the game will be on that specific setting.
Whenever bad guys are shooting at you, no matter how good you are, you're bound to get hurt. Fortunately, you can heal yourself while playing the game, if you're lucky enough to find a health pack that is. To defend yourself from any damage you can use armor shards and items, which are also spread throughout the levels you will play. And always keep an eye out for bullets because, be honest, no one wants to face an enemy without them, right? And last but not least, the game uses another iconic element from the first person shooter games of the 90's; color-coded access cards! Find an access card in the matching color of the mechanism you're trying to operate and grant yourself access to the next part of the game.
Another thing you might want to remember is saving your game. Now, the devs already did half the work for you by creating auto save-points, but it's always wise to also save manually and, to be honest, I did that a lot. I just used the old rule of thumb: Save as if your life depends on it! But seriously, save on time and save often. Because Ion Fury, like any game in the FPS genre, becomes increasingly more difficult at a steady but relatively fast pace, saving often means less redoing things you just did. What I love about these games is that it doesn't matter which weapon you were using, you could always shoot the enemy, no matter how far off they were. Whether you're using a revolver or a shotgun to fire at an enemy that's at the very end of the street; as long as your aim is right, you will hit him! And talking about weapons, the dev's really made an effort to create some awesome weaponry for you. What to think of a triple-barreled revolver, bowling bombs and even a very cool crossbow!?
It's cool to see that the developers are still in love with the games they created all those years ago. This is most evident when seeing the scope of Easter Eggs hidden in the game. Among others, I found a piece of graffiti on a wall that said "Nukem All" and a poster for a fast food restaurant called "Caco Bell", complete with a cool demon in the top left corner! Also, the awesome one-liners Shelly throws around could match those of Duke Nukem himself! At the start of the game, our leading lady mentioned her enemies are lucky that a rocket launcher doesn't fit in her handbag. And later on when she passes by a sex-shop, she mentioned something about service with a happy ending. So, basically, Ion Fury is a fully fledged no holds barred 90's FPS experience. Shelly goes after the bad guys with a vengeance and with all guns blazing.
I had soooo much fun playing this game during Gamescom last year and I'm glad to see the full game lives up to the expectations I had for it in the meantime. FPS is a genre that many "older" gamers will enjoy, because it brings back some good memories of days long gone. At the same time, Ion Fury is also a great way for newcomers to discover the genre because, although the very cool graphics look like they're pulled right out of the 90's, the game itself doesn't feel outdated or old fashioned in any way!