Eradicator is a first- or third-person shooter made by Accolade and released on September 30, 1996. The game uses a custom engine that is very reminiscent in appearance and features of the Build Engine popularized by Duke Nukem 3D, which was released 8 months before Eradicator. Eradicator received generally positive reviews, but sold poorly in the wake of the far more successful Duke Nukem 3D.
At its core, Eradicator is a standard corridor-crawling shooter, but it incorporates lots of extra features to make it stand out. Upon starting a new game, the player chooses one of three characters to play. Each character has a different story background, different attributes (movement speed, attack power, and defense), different starting weapons (melee and basic ranged weapons), different appearance/animations in third-person view, different voice lines throughout the game, and a unique first level in the game. In-game, the player may switch between first-person view and third-person view at any time.
The player can take control of cameras and some enemies in the game, seeing through their perspective. On occasion, the player must take control of an enemy remotely and use it to pass through security barriers that the player is barred from passing in order to reach a switch to disable the security barrier. The player can also use commandeered enemies to attack other enemies with impunity as enemies will never return fire against their comrades. Two of the player's weapons (a flying robot bat and a crawling robot spider) are similarly piloted from their own point of view when launched so that the player can kamikaze them into enemies.
The game includes semi-frequent platforming sequences, possibly owing to its early origins as a 3D Marble Madness clone. Due to engine limitations, the player cannot look straight down at the platforms s/he is standing on or trying to jump onto; the player's range of vertical looking (pitch) is roughly +/- 45 degrees from the horizontal. Eradicator also includes some button puzzles (press the correct pattern of buttons on a wall of buttons), three boss fights, many small secret areas in each level (usually accessed by pressing the 'use' key while facing a nondescript wall to open it), as well as three secret levels. The secret levels are accessed by finding all of the secret keycards that are hidden in secret rooms across multiple ordinary levels, making all but the most inquisitive players or cheaters unlikely to ever play them.
Each level has a series of objectives that must be completed to finish the level; there are no color coded keys or doors as in many other shooters of the mid 90's. These objectives nonetheless serve an equivalent purpose in gating the player's progress through each level. Some levels are strictly linear, but many branch out enough to allow multiple objectives to be completed in any order. Objectives include tasks like blowing up generators (shooting level geometry), draining biogel vats (pressing buttons), defeating guardians (shooting enemies), and reaching the map's exit point. Occasionally, objectives must be completed under time pressure.
Multiple times each level, the player's character will speak voice lines triggered by events in the level. Sometimes these lines are just flavor and other times they help to inform the player about the state of their objectives. After beating the game once, a fourth playable character is unlocked who has superior stats to the other three, but no voice lines except for one at the very start of the game.
The game has four selectable difficulties at the start of a New Game: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Insanity. There are three 'episodes' that are not individually named or selectable; they simply play out back-to-back with nothing to particularly distinguish one from the next.
There are 16 weapons in the game (not counting the functionally interchangeable character-specific alternates). This is more than the hotswitch number keys (1 through 0) can cover, necessitating the use of a weapon cycle button. Some weapons have two types of ammo pickups: a small unit of ammo and a large unit of ammo, which is typically called a clip (as in a "clip of missiles").
The game takes place entirely in industrial/laboratory-style settings with only the briefest excursion outside (in a rocky desert) at the very start of the game. Conveyor belts, floating platforms, elevator platforms, stacks of crates, explosive barrels, ventilation ducts, teleporters, and toxic floors dominate the level design. The game's color palette is mostly grey, black, and brown, with some red.
This is the story as described in the game's manual:
An ancient, alien power rooted in the bowels of the planet Ioxia (eye-oh-sha) has sprung back to life, halting all mining on Ioxia's three moons – the only known sources of the precious element, Mazrium. Mazrium is the basis for all current technologies and power sources, and also has life-giving properties. It is vital to the survival of the inhabitants of this galaxy. Two days ago, an energy surge was detected by one of the orbiting mining vessels. It originated from within the only remaining Ioxian Citadel (left from the "Great Uprising" two centuries ago). A squad of Cyrops mercenaries was sent in to investigate. The satellite feed that was received indicated something has risen from the ashes and is attempting to regain control of the Mazrium. Moments after their insertion, the Cyrops mercs were destroyed. The Citadel from ages past had snapped to life - reinstating the ion shield that prevents access to the three Mazrium moons and sending the entire galaxy into chaos. No Armada can penetrate the shield; no weapons can disable the Citadel. Strategists believe a single soldier could slip past the defenses which were designed for large scale assaults and shutdown the shield's power source from within. The Mazrium must be mined; it is the lifeblood of the galaxy. The Universal Mining Guild has called upon the services of their most ambitious mercenary, Eleena Brynstaarl. In this desperate hour, they are more than willing to meet her demanded price. The planet of Treydan has selected their most impressive warrior to be sent in search of a solution to the dilemma facing the galaxy. Kamchak possesses both the strength and the sheer will that such a mission requires. A hero of the galaxy is in the making. Trapped on one of the Mazrium moons when the Ioxian Citadel kicked on, Dan Blaze wasn't looking for anything but his next load of Mazrium to mine. Now that all his fellow cybernetic miners are dead, he must find a way off of this lifeless world. The only course of action seems to be deeper exploration of the strange Citadel controlling the ion shield.
Centuries past, an ancient race of warriors claimed the planet Ioxia as their home. The three orbiting moons, Pyxis, Eyre, and Quod are the only remaining sites where the precious element Mazrium can be mined. The Ioxians hoarded the Mazrium and sold small rations to the neighboring solar systems - demanding outrageous fees and services in return. Eventually, after suffering under this extortion, the native races of the nearest worlds attempted an assault on the planet. Thus began the "Great Uprising."Unfortunately, the Armada met with an impenetrable field of ion energy that encompassed the moons and Ioxia. Furthermore, the Ioxians had superior bio-mech weaponry which managed to cripple the Armada in the first few sorties of ionic pulses. During this assault, something or someone disabled the forcefield long enough to allow the remains of theArmada to sweep across the planet's surface and wreak havoc on the Ioxian strongholds known as Citadels. Warriors on the planet Treydan claim the unknown aid came from one of their clan...a trained spy named Brakk. This claim was never substantiated. In the end, the Ioxians released "Last Strike" - a terrifying wave of energy and isotopic Mazrium particlesthat swept across the planet's surface, obliterating ninety percent of the native fauna and flora, leaving a wasteland encased in a noxious cloud that would last for centuries. Only one Citadel remained among the ruins. The Alliance, as the collected races who conquered the Ioxians came to be known, signed a treaty to share the Mazrium moons. Peace has prospered for centuries. Until now.
Here is how the game's manual describes the three main playable characters:
Kamchak: Treydan Warrior
Appearance: Adult, reptilian male. Bi-pedal motion and exceptionally sinewy musculature. Wears armoredbracers on his upper arms, wrists, and ankles. Odd tendrils of hair protruding from sides and back of bony exo-skeletal head. Rough hewn tone.
"Ackbar! Grxmites crantouk tarn fracs aravat. Ackbar!"
Translation: "Victory! Weak ones will fall at my feet, their bodies smashed by my power. Victory!" - Kamchak
Background: A proven hero on his world, Kamchak has a strong sense of duty and honor. When the Council needed their best operative, Kamchak was first on their list. He excels at hand-to-hand combat and at adapting to alien environments. He has the best chance of disabling the Citadel.
Main Objective: Kamchak is on a quest to permanently destroy the loxian defense web by penetrating the defenses right to the planet's core, and doing whatever it takes to smash the main power source.
Actions/Abilities: Kamchak was initiated in the Warrior Blood Rite of the Clan of Treydan at a very early age. He is a vastly experienced battle veteran and is not easily intimidated. He relishes each and every combat experience he enters.
Play Style: Kamchak’s honed instincts and toughened physique allow him to withstand a lot of punishment before succumbing to defeat. He moves methodically and takes his time to make sure all threats have been obliterated.
Eleena Brynstaarl: Mercenary
Appearance: Female, humanoid feline. Ruthless and ravaging. Bi-pedal motion, sharp bony claws on herfeet and hands, and a taut, muscular frame.
"Prantis arasi mana porrrrrterra; meuw contas arasisi alarrrrerras."
Translation: "I can get anything fast; I can get it anywhere faster." -Eleena
Background: Eleena has frequently done work for the Universal Mining Guild. When the crisis on loxiacame along, she saw it as a wonderful opportunity for a little work and a lot of cash. Given the option, Eleena will avoid unnecessary conflicts and attempt to outmaneuver potential adversaries. However, she ismore than capable of overcoming most any opponent, and will frequently outflank an enemy and attack from behind for maximum efficiency.
Main Objective: She's been hired by the UMG as a backup in case the Alliance’s brave hero Kamchak isunsuccessful in his attempt. She is a mercenary in attitude and profession; her fee for saving the Mazrium for the UMG will allow her to retire to her own planet!
Actions/Abilities: Eleena's natural speed and agility, combined with her extensive training with sneak attacks and use of her natural claw-like weaponry, make her a very dangerous foe.
Play Style: Although she is somewhat fragile physically, Eleena’s dexterity makes her hard to hit. With her feline attributes, she is able to jump higher and farther than most enemies she has encountered.
Dan Blaze: Mining Engineer
Appearance: Cybernetically advanced male humanoid. Good looking, generally wearing a hero's smirk. He's equipped with a variety of futuristic mining gear and costume.
"Blaze to team four; team five? Anybody on this signal... Blaze to transport, we have a situation here..." -Blaze, immediately after Ioxian Defense Net kicked on.
Background: Dan is on Quod, one of Ioxia’s moons. To escape the ion web’s grasp, he’ll have to knock out the generator deep inside of Ioxia. His first task will be getting from the moon to the planet’s surface.
Main Objective: Dan's trying to escape loxia by any means possible; which means taking out the Citadel’s power source.
Actions/Abilities: The Miner's Guild always implants certain cybernetic devices in each of its Recon & Destroy personnel so they can survive in the field while doing survey missions and the like.
Play Style: Blaze's abilities give him a very balanced style of play – he is powerful in hand-to-hand, but is excellent with any kind of weaponry. He's not very fast, nor overly powerful, so he must also use the playfield to defeat opponents.