Gore: Ultimate Soldier Preview

Read all about this fast-paced sci-fi shooter in our preview.

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Developer 4D Rulers is putting the finishing touches on Gore, its arcade-style sci-fi shooter, though the game has actually been around for a few years. It originally made its debut with a set of fast-paced multiplayer test demos that were released some time ago, though the developer has since added a single-player component to the game. Fortunately, DreamCatcher picked the game up earlier this year.

With enough training, you'll be the ultimate soldier.
With enough training, you'll be the ultimate soldier.

Gore will take place in the not-too-distant future, in a world torn by conflict over the most powerful resource known to humankind. In order to win the war, the UMC military organization secretly develops a high-tech computer training module called the meat machine, a powerful simulation of real-world combat. Using the meat machine's intensive computerized drills, the UMC is able to quickly turn novice soldiers into seasoned veterans. With the backing of a battalion of expert soldiers whom the UMC seems to gather from out of nowhere, it slowly but surely begins to turn the tide of battle. At least, until a group of criminals and lowlifes, called the Mob, somehow hacks into the UMC's database and storms the UMC headquarters. It'll be up to you, as a soldier in training, to recover the stolen data and eventually become the ultimate soldier, the flawless result of intensive military training.

From the time we've spent with the game so far, we've concluded that although Gore's graphics aren't incredibly detailed, the game itself might end up being one of the most fast-paced 3D shooters ever. The action in Gore moves at least as fast as the most frantic fights in other well-known arcade-style shooters such as Serious Sam and Unreal Tournament. The game lets you run extremely fast and jump very high, very quickly. You'll need that speed to keep up with your ever-dwindling ammunition supply, since several of Gore's weapons--and there's a fair number of them, and most have an alternate firing mode--will fire just as quickly as you can run. But you can't run and jump forever, since Gore also has a stamina meter that runs out quickly if you sprint and jump about too much, though it gradually recharges if you walk normally or stand still. Otherwise, much of the action in Gore is fast-paced and frenetic--in the tougher areas of the game, the only pauses you'll find are those tense moments in which the clip in your gun runs out, and you have to reload your weapon. Thankfully, Gore will have a manual reload key to help you make sure you don't run out of steam in the middle of a tough firefight.

The base is under attack!
The base is under attack!

The single-player game will begin within the confines of the UMC base. You're in the middle of a routine training mission, when you're suddenly attacked by several thugs from the Mob. While your surroundings aren't especially detailed, they're all instantly recognizable--you begin the game in the middle of a training yard lined by barracks and chain-link fences. Gore has been in development for some time, so its graphics aren't quite the state of the art, but you won't really have time to scrutinize every last part of the scenery, because it all goes by in a blur once you get moving. Gore's moderately detailed environments help keep the game moving nice and fast, regardless of whether you're the only one onscreen, or if you're being shot at by a dozen different enemies.

From what we've seen, Gore also strikes a good balance between detail and speed with its character models. In the single-player game, you'll sometimes have the backup of fellow UMC soldiers while you tangle with enemies from the Mob, and all the characters in the game seem to be modeled and textured well. Gore's graphics engine allows for animated facial expressions and a good amount of detail on characters, such as tattoos and earrings. And Gore's characters are animated convincingly enough. Big, heavyset thugs lumber toward you slowly, while smaller, faster knife-throwers are able to dash about the environments, and all the enemies go down with a full set of good-looking death animations.

Head-to-Head

Gore will also have a full-featured multiplayer component that lets players choose to play as different classes of UMC or Mob characters. Depending on which character you choose, you'll use different weapons, run at different speeds, and may have more or less stamina than other players.

In the single-player game, you'll generally be running too quickly through the various levels to pay much attention to your weapons and ammunition, but weapons become a lot more important in multiplayer. Gore has a decent number of different weapons in multiplayer. For starters, everyone has a melee attack (which is either a bare-handed punch or a knife) and some kind of single-shot pistol. In addition, everyone has access to some form of the game's grenade launcher, which fires a straight concussive shot in primary mode and drops bouncing grenades as its alternate attack.

Several weapons have alternate-fire modes, like this energy shield.
Several weapons have alternate-fire modes, like this energy shield.

Otherwise, depending on the class you choose, you may be able to use a combat shotgun, which fires a single, powerful blast as its primary attack and erects a defensive energy shield as its alternate firing mode; the laser-beam sniper rifle; an automatic riot gun with a gas-grenade attachment; or a flamethrower that can also launch explosive flechettes. Some of Gore's special effects, especially its flames and its pixelated particle-effect explosions, just aren't as impressive as the kind of flashy effects you'd expect from a 2002 shooter, but the game's weapons all sound good and are satisfying to blast away with.

Gore will also have standard deathmatch and team deathmatch, as well as capture the flag and a tactical team mode that will require an attacking team to accomplish a certain objective, such as capturing or destroying an important object that the other team is defending. In every mode, Gore's multiplayer maps have weapons, ammunition, and items like stamina bonuses that regularly respawn in specific places, much like what you may have seen in Quake, Unreal Tournament, and countless other multiplayer shooters. However, Gore has one other feature that makes these weapons a lot more interesting. Specifically, they explode. If you shoot at an ammunition pack or a weapon, it'll make a big bang--big enough to seriously injure anyone standing next to it. Of course, you can also shoot weapons and items you don't need to deny them to other players, but either way, the destructible items add an interesting dimension to multiplayer games.

Play as either the UMC or the Mob.
Play as either the UMC or the Mob.

Normally, most games in free-for-all shooters are won by skilled players who can take over and control an area where important items, such as health packs, armor, and the best weapons, respawn. Gore's exploding weapons and items change that considerably. If you're up against players who won't leave the area where the machine gun ammo spawns, just shoot the ammo next time they're around--it'll blow up, damage them severely, and make them think twice about only hanging around one part of the map. And just like any good sci-fi shooter, Gore also has exploding objects in its environments, like high-pressure fire extinguishers, so if you're really skilled, you'll not only be able to deny your opponents the weapons they need, but also you'll be able to force them to keep moving on some of the game's smaller multiplayer maps.

All things considered, Gore is shaping up to be a decent enough single-player shooter and an extremely fast multiplayer shooter. We'll see how the game finally turns out when it's released later this month.

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