Combine one scoop of sci-fi role-playing, a drop of James Bond, and ninety-eight cups of Doom, and what do you get? Strife. Strife mixes elements of stealthy espionage with ever-satisfying bloodletting to serve up one of the tastiest concoctions in the 3-D shooter market.
In Strife, you assume the role of a bad-ass freedom fighter attempting to eradicate fanatical members of the Order. Unfortunately, you can't accomplish this goal simply by giving everyone you meet a massive head wound. Instead you must interact with (read: talk to) the different characters to gain valuable information and insight into the inner workings of the Order. Along the way, the individuals you meet may offer you gold and powerful new weapons in exchange for completing mini-quests. Your ability to converse and interact with all the characters gives Strife an extra, tangy twist, rare in most 3-D shooters, and the clear, crisp voice-overs during these sequences further immerse you in the game's fantasy setting.
Blackbird, another resistance fighter for the Front, will aid you in your ultimate goal of destroying the Order by leading you down the correct path and keeping you updated with the latest scoops. Through your Com Unit, you maintain constant contact with Blackbird, whose voice is by far the sexiest thing to ever resonate from my computer speakers.
The only element of Strife that doesn't measure up is the graphics. Unfortunately, the characters in the action sequences are very blocky; the playing environment could also be more detailed and tighter. On the positive side, the comic-book style graphics of the cut scenes are beautiful and feature superb shading and lighting.
Strife's arsenal includes implements of destruction standard to 3-D shooters, but also contains a few new toys like the crossbow andmy personal favoritethe flamethrower. Nothing is quite as satisfying as listening to your enemies screaming in horror while engulfed in flames. However, the most menacing weapon in Strife is the Sigil. Throughout the game you'll acquire bits of this massive, beastly killer, but even one piece is deadly. Be warned, though: this baby drains your life force as it vaporizes your adversaries.
If you can overlook Strife's mediocre graphics, you'll be blown away by the unique interface, engaging storyline, outstanding voice-overs, and unusual weapons. For those who are looking for a new take on the standard RPG, Strife is a game that shouldn't be missed.