Have you ever played the shooters of old? Those with intricate and sprawling levels, a crazy arsenal of weapons, 8-bit graphics and actually require skills to play? I don’t. And it’s because I’m too young to know what a computer is and probably too busy playing in the mud. But thankfully, game developer, David Szymanski, has made something that pays homage to the golden era of PC shooters called and it is called Dusk.
Dusk is a throwback to the shooter genre in the 90s, and the first noticeable difference when you play Dusk as compared to modern shooters, such as Battlefield and Call of Duty, is speed – besides the obvious difference in graphics. Your movement is so fast that it makes sprinting in a modern shooter game nothing but a light brisk walk. Probably due to me being accustomed to the movement speed of modern shooters, I couldn’t play Dusk for more than 15 to 20 minutes without experiencing a headache. Or maybe it’s because I’m getting old.
There are numerous enemies in Dusk and they range from white robe occultists that spew fireballs from his hands to a weird hybrid of woman and robot that’s able to shoot rockets out from her arms. The enemies spawn are aplenty and there are differences in speed at which the projectiles fly upon release. This makes you appreciate the fact that you’re able to move quickly, as it allows you to easily dodge the slower projectiles.
Dusk | David Szymanski
Dodging isn’t your only means of survival, as Dusk has a large array of arsenals for you to use to slaughter your enemies. You start off with a pair of sickle and you are able to deflect the fireball back to those annoying white robe occultists with it at the right timing. How cool is that! As you progress through the levels, you will fight possessed and demonic beings with pistols, shotguns, rifles and explosive.
Out of all the weapons I have used to kill my enemies, my personal favourite would be a barrel. It’s just an ordinary barrel and it’s one of the many items throughout the game where you are able to pick up and throw at the enemy. Unlike other throwable items, the barrel will cause the enemies to explode into giblets upon their death – explosive weapons do that too by the way. And I can’t help myself but to carry a barrel with me wherever I go and use it to bring destruction upon my foes. I do not know if it’s intended for this purpose, but I had my fun with it anyway.
The campaign for Dusk is separated into 3 chapters, which is then broken down into several levels per chapter. Starting from the underground torture cellar, you will traverse through farms, mining facilities, and industrial zones as you fight your way through Dusk. The area in each level is of substantial size and the colour coded doors will send you back and forth around the map searching for keys corresponding to the coloured door. But despite all of that, it is rare to get lost in the game unless you’re directionally challenged.
Dusk | David Szymanski
When playing through a level for the first time, it is best to take it slow, as there are secrets hidden in every level. Though running head first into a suspicious looking wall or crawling through tight spaces may lead you to find one of these hidden secrets, most of the time they lay within the least unsuspecting place or require a certain ingenuity to reach it.
It’s possible to speed run and clear it within minutes, but on average, it will take roughly 15 minutes to clear a level, after exploring every nook and cranny the level has to offer. Though 15 mins ain’t long, it is long enough for me to clear a level before the headache kicks in.
The developer has created environmental set-pieces that are also being used as a subtle form of storytelling. Coupled with great use of lighting and ambient sound effects, Dusk can easily be classified as a horror game.
The multiplayer aspect of Dusk, DuskWorld, is surprisingly lackluster as compared to its singleplayer campaign. I can’t say with absolute certainty that the lack of players is a major contributing factor for this assessment. This is because knowing the kinds of games players in my region like to play, I expected that there wouldn’t be a lot of people playing this sort of game to begin with, let along its multiplayer aspect. During the times that I played the multiplayer version, the highest number of players I’ve seen in a server is only at half of the server maximum capacity.
Dusk | David Szymanski
There isn’t much going for it as there’s only one game mode and that is Free For All. The upside of this is that there are a decent number of maps for you to choose from, and every weapon in the game is made available and is scattered across the map.
Dusk is an all action and no-nonsense recreation of shooters of the 90s. Its singleplayer campaign is more than capable to stand on its own for its asking price, despite a slight disappointment in Dusk’s multiplayer aspect. Fans of the classic and everyone that enjoys a good shooter experience should give Dusk a go, as it creates moments for the players that make them think this is what sparks off the evolution of modern shooters.
Platform: PC (Windows)
Publisher: New Blood Interactive
Developer: David Szymanski
This game key is provided by the courtesy of the developer, New Blood Interactive.