The Chaos Engine is very much a blast from the past. Originally released in 1993 for the Amiga before making the rounds to almost every platform at the time, it’s finally back with the official re-release for modern day Pc’s.
The Chaos Engine features no modern day 3D graphics, or even modern gameplay. There’s no emotional cutscenes filling in The Preacher’s backstory or how Thug got his name – just you (with a possible friend) and several levels of action to get through. The beauty of Chaos Engine was always how it sat between arcade blaster and the thinker’s shooter. Completing a level is as simple as activating the nodes scattered around and reaching the exit, but to do so you’ll encounter several enemy types, branching paths and loot to find.
Co-Op also remains a huge highlight of the game. Available locally or via Steam, you and a friend can combat the game and fight for loot together. The coorperative\competive aspects of the gameplay are still as exciting as they were 20 years ago; to fight you must coorporate but to survive you must compete for the loot to upgrade your characters and hit those high scores.
The modernisation of the game brings a few neat tricks to the table, including subtle visual enhancements, 16-way-directional movement, joystick support and online multiplayer. All the enhancements can be turned off if required but all naturally add to the game in a subtle but positive way. It’s also worth a mention that the games score is as catchy and fantastic as ever with the late Richard Joseph’s work still sounding strong all these years later.
My intial thought while playing with a 360 pad was of disappointment of the lack of dual stick shooting but after the first level I completely understood the reasons for the re-release rather than a 3D sparkly new remake – This is Chaos Engine, warts and all – and it’s still a great game regardless.
For all those who can remember hearing “Node Activated” for the first time, The Chaos Engine is a highly recommend purchase and is a thrill to play again. For those who are too young or simply missed it the first time, The Chaos Engine is a fantastic coop retro game which is certainly worth a play.
+ Brilliant in CoOp+ Gameplay holds up well
+ Subtle, positive improvements
- Only a handful of worlds
- No new powerups \ Characters