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Dusk and the rebirth of 90's FPS games

Written by cyr4x3, on 16 March 2022.
Tags: #games


In the last few years there has been an attempt to resurrect that old-school retro ’90s way of making FPS games. Out of this new wave, some great and some not so great games have emerged. From the top of my head, the ones that manage to stand out from the crowd for me are HROT, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, Cultic, Ion Fury, Amid Evil and the one and only Dusk 1. The truth is that no modern game other than Dusk has made me relive the feelings that playing Blood gave me (and if you’ve played that good old game you know what feelings I’m refering to).

Dusk is a homage to ’90s classic shooters, while still giving a blow of fresh air to the now growing retro FPS scene, including stupidly fun mechanics, memorable levels and scenarios and creative enemies that make out for an incredible game with a unique atmosphere that stands out by itself and not only for being a love letter to yesteryear games.

The game is divided into three different episodes, each one with its own atmosphere, mechanics and autenticity. Three different vibes, that, while connected and forming a cohesive experience, differ enough to make the game varied and break the monotony this kind of games seem always to fall into.

Episode I: The Foothills

Dusk starts off with little explanation or context whatsoever. You’re in a dark room stuck on meat hooks when you here a voice that simply says “Kill him”. Yes, that him the voice’s refering to is you.

Episode II: The Facilities

The Facilities starts off by warning you about what’s ahead of you: loads of bullets and fire balls to dodge. One of the most memorable parts of this episode (and probably of the game itself) is the beginning of the first level of episode 2, “The Grainery”, which portraits a large industrial facility used to store grain. At the beginning of the level you find yourself in a huge esplanade with the grainery at the end, from where dozens of fireballs are coming at you while loads of soldiers are also shooting at you. Dusk offers no time to relax.

The whole episode is filled with these “oh, fuck” moments combining them with huge industrial buildings that make you feel really small and powerless. Like really, the landscapes and outdoor levels in this episode are amazing. Some great examples of this are levels 1 and 7 and the last part of level 6.

Although the setting of every level is distinct from one another, they all share a common theme: industrial and military facilities (hence the name of the episode). The last two levels, I must say, are an exception to this, as they’re set underground in some kind of ruins or mines or whatever. Also, level 7, “Neobabel”, seems to be set (at least in the beginning of the level) in some kind of crazy sacred place with temples and that kind of stuff. But somehow all this “exceptions” seem to fit alright with the overall theme of the episode.

One can clearly see that “The Facilities” has a much more ambitious approach, as all the levels feel connected (which is something that didn’t really happen with the previous ones) and while playing through it it seems that a story is being told and you aren’t just shooting enemies around.

Episode 2 was the one that really caught my eye and made me realize how much I loved this game and showed me its true potential and how good it really is.

Episode III: The Nameless City

The last episode offers a slightly darker perspective on the game.

Resources and references

Civvie 11’s “Beneath Dusk” series

  1. It might be interesting to mention that out of the 6 games listed 2 of them are still on early access and one of them doesn’t even have a release date yet.