Ion Fury is a mega-fun classic-styled first person shooter in the vein of monolith classics like DOOM, Wolfenstein 3d, Quake, Shadow Warrior, and Hexen. It was developed by Voidpoint, LLC and published by 3D Realms.
This game gets it right. There are a lot of big and small elements to making a classic old school shooter clone, and Ion Fury does a better job than just about any title on the market today. If you’re a fan of any of the above titles, grab this one too. It’s worth your time.
The core premise is simple; bad guy unleashes a cyborg army on the city, and you’re a hardass cop with a triple barreled revolver who isn’t likely to put up with such nonsense. Que the music. Speaking of which, the soundtrack is excellent. It has all the vibe of those old classics, with a modernized capability that really makes the auditory experience shine.
The campaign is hearty, loads of fun levels to explore and bad guys to brutalize. Again in classic form, each level is a maze with various keycards needed to open further areas. Enemies and secrets are counted, and the player is encouraged to seek out all of both. I must admit, the secrets are hidden well, I often don’t crack above twenty-five percent found on my first run through, and I’ve yet to hundred percent a single level.
I dig the cyborg theme, a lot. Enemies are cool, gruesome, and varied. Whether you’re facing down a horde of spider-bots, or a single psychic flame wielding cyber-monk, the action is unrelenting. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to run away and recalibrate my approach after popping a damned acid centipede in the wrong place, or getting ambushed by a floating rocket spine. There’s plenty of gore too, with at least three death animations per baddie. They often leave their heads behind to kick around. Gross, but fun.
The guns are always a crucial point of any shooter, and this game does alright in that department. I have to admit that I would have liked a little more attention paid to this element in production, but I can absolutely see why it ended up being a little slim. Each weapon is exquisitely balanced and has a clear role to play, as well as a secondary use. Some are more fun than others, is the issue. I pretty much never used the mines, except as a boss dump item. The shotgun is great, except that it’s also the grenade launcher as its secondary, which made me feel a little ripped off. And the crossbow is as useful as it is dull to use. All in all, the weapons department received passing marks, it just feels like more attention could have been applied. Loverboy, the starter gun, is clearly a labor of love. Its mechanics are great, the visual and sound on it is great, and the secondary use is probably the best in the game. Is it too much to ask that all weapons in a shooter have that level of engineering applied?
Really what makes this sink in as a proper homage to those great shooters of yore is the little details. The nostalgia hits are constant. Your character’s face is down in the left hand corner as it should be, right next to your health. As you take damage, they get more and more visibly hurt. The grunts when pressing walls for secrets take me right back, as do the enemy’s guttural shouts and individual audio cues. There are references to all of the greats in some form or other, and plenty of pop culture references as well. I even heard a line out of Futurama tossed in the mix. It FEELS like a game that was made for those of us who grew up playing DOOM and the rest of those classics.
Well worth the price tag, Ion Fury is an unrelenting action experience that knows exactly the niche it fills. Check it out sometime.
Joseph Phelps is an author on Amazon. Check out the first of his series Illusion.
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