bhlaab's Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC) review

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A(n Actually Pretty Fun) Crappy Game

Requiem is an FPS from the late 90s that really liked The Crow and possibly John Travolta's Michael. In it you are some kind of fallen angel who arrives on Earth to lay waste to the sinners, namely an oppressive government regime that is being led by the demon Lilith (or so it seems!). After a baffling first level that takes place in a hall of meat you are thrown into what is essentially a Jedi Knight ripoff. You have guns, but you also have angel powers that unlock at specific story beats (usually at the end of missions).

What makes it work is that, against all odds, the weapons and powers are fun and satisfying to use. The powers come in four categories. The first are offensive powers such as fireballs or an extremely powerful charge beam that can gib an entire room full of bad guys in one shot. The second are utility powers, which is where the Jedi Knight influence really starts to show itself with a Haste spell that is extremely similar to that series' Jedi Speed. You also have a super jump and even bullet-time (years before Max Payne did it). The rest of the powers are a mix of secondary spells ("Force Choke") and manipulative powers allowing you to get the AI to fight on your side. There are some spells that are useless but gimmicky fun, such as turning enemies into pillars of salt or sending swarms of locusts out.

Weapons are pretty good too. You quickly find a machine gun that is incredibly accurate and has an insane rate of fire. The shotgun is a little too slow and too weak, but the rocket launcher in this game is really good-- and they throw ammo at you. The only dud in the group is an awkward sniper rifle.

The game's structure reminds me of Strife or Kingpin, as there are small social hubs where you talk to (very very few) people and then discreet levels where you carry out missions. The fact that you're working for rebels and fighting an oppressive government is oddly Half Life 2-ish, even though I believe this game came out only a year after Half Life 1. You even see small scripted vignettes of enemy soldiers holding civilians at gunpoint and stuff.

Unfortunately this is an old FPS made by a nobody company, so some of the expected flaws are there. Pretty much every enemy uses hitscan weapons, often spawns in behind you, and can chew through your armor and health in seconds. This is why I would only recommend playing this game on Easy. A result of this is that by the mid-to-end of the game you're just sort of walking around owning everything in one or two hits with insane magick spells, but honestly the game is more fun because of it. I don't know if it was the difficulty I was playing on, but health and ammo were thrown at me constantly, keeping the stream of owning people with powerful spells at a near constant. The movement and collision detection can be a bit spotty. I got hung up on stuff quite a bit, but not enough to cause lasting annoyance.

For an old FPS that is ostensibly mission-based, I didn't find myself getting lost or confused in the levels. This is in spite of the fact that the levels are twisting labyrinths of samey-looking hallways. Strange thing is, I just sort of kept going without thinking too hard about it, gibbing fools with my cool fireballs, and I'd always just end up where I was supposed to be. Weird, huh? There are some crummy boss fights, but they're easily dealt with (although I did have to look up how to hurt two of them).

All in all, Requiem is better than it has any right to be. It's not a hidden gem by any means but it is satisfying and gives you some cool stuff to play with. A word of warning, though: if you are going to play this in the modern day, it will probably be through a 3dfx glide wrapper. For some reason this game kept minimizing with my antivirus turned on, too. Weird game! Cool game. Cool spells.

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