Chasm: The Rift (XSX) Review with stream

Originally released in 1997, Chasm: The Rift was referred to as a poor man’s Quake upon release… that is, if you even knew about it. It flew under my radar back in the late 90s but publisher Sneg thought the time the right to re-release this forgotten FPS. But were they right to do so?

Much of the narrative takes place from a close up perspective of a couple of humans speaking with mouth animations that probably looked shockingly good back in the day. While definitely a product of its time, it is rather charming to see this visual style today. The Quake comparison doesn’t end there as the tight corridors, blocky monsters, and fast speed looks, plays, and feels like a spiritual successor. In time, the landscape expands beyond the dark hallways and give way to desert and more medieval themes. However, level design and mission objectives are simple and consistent; the player basically just blasts the crap out of anything that moves and you need to reach the end.  Don’t expect any creative mission requests or pivoting difficulty like in Goldeneye 007, which was originally released the same year.

Even though it doesn’t have the most complex stage design, Chasm does have exploding body parts, something that was definitely cool to see in the mid-90s. Dismembering baddies limb by limb with powerful yet precise shotgun blasts doesn’t get old. In fact, it is something to aim for, literally.  If you blast away the gun arm of that bad guy, he can’t fight back, making you feel like a powerful badass in the process. Even with the chunky polygons, it is still a satisfying experience that carries the experience through the shorter-sided campaign. 

Fans of this cult classic will be pleased to know that the expansion missions are also included. There are some nice quality of life improvement with this re-release too. The 4k supports looks nice, motion controls have been added to the Switch version, and there are some new customization options to the controls. Unfortunately, don’t expect a deep multiplayer or co-op experience here.

This is cliché, but I have to apply the “better late than never” phrase here. I completely missed this game upon release but glad I had the chance to play it now. It obviously wouldn’t win any major awards when compared to modern shooters but this is a fun retro throwback that holds up more that expected.

SCORE: 7.5/10

Also Try: the Powerslave re-release

Better Than: recent reboots of Serious Sam

Wait For It: an Unreal revival

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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