In this edition of “Yet Another Retro FPS Has Entered Early Access” we welcome our special guest Dread Templar. Everyone will cheer or face the wrath of our impaling seats. The game currently only has 10 of its 25 planned levels and there are more weapons and enemies to come. Plus, it retails for the fair price of US$14.99, which isn’t bad considering that the full game could take around 8 hours or more to complete eventually. The action is fast and bloody as hell, but the question remains: is it Dread Templar worth it?
The principle is so simple that it borders on non-existent. You play as a Templar. Said Templar fought his way through hell for revenge. I don’t know who it’s against or why or why this Templar is so good at using guns, but we just have to accept that and move on. Dread Templar is a level-based classic style affair. You work your way from the start of the level to the exit, while collecting keys, finding supplies, and smirking as you viciously annihilate low-poly hellspawn unfortunate enough to cross your path .
It’s a very familiar game, of course. At first, you will only have dual blades and dual guns. Blades can be combined into a single projectile and thrown for massive damage, but this leaves you without them while the ability cools. As you play you’ll find new weapons, many of which use the id Software standard of “more powerful weapons that use the same type of ammo”. For example, dual pistols are replaced with twin SMGs, while the shotgun is locked in a slot with its twin cousin; the super shotgun. You even get a bow and a trap weapon for your wrist.
Once I ran away from the god of fear
Dread Templar really doesn’t do much different. But there are some modern touches. Well, okay, “modern”. You can use bullet time. Which was pretty new back in the late 90s. A full bar only lasts a few seconds, but it fills up as you kill stuff, so that’s fine. You’ll also find red upgrade materials that you can use to buy skill slots for you and your weapons. Then there are the skills themselves, which you’ll find in the tiers. They do things like give you more health, increase your gun damage, and make bullet time last longer.
Of course I don’t care Dread Templar is such a familiar experience, because it does the classic formula well. The action is fast, visceral and satisfying. The guns are fun to shoot, the enemies explode into a bloody mess, and the levels are pretty well designed. As to whether it’s worth it with just two of its five chapters in place, for $15, I would say so. You’ll be contributing to the development of an enjoyable game that successfully meets what fans of these types of titles are looking for when they go to open their wallets. I wonder if these types of games will ever start to look like Earthquake II instead of Quake 1, however.