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Corridor 7 (PC) artwork

Corridor 7 (PC) review

"All of these corridors look the same after a while."

Corridor 7, or Corridor 7: Alien Invasion as it is sometimes called, is a first person shooter using a modified version of Wolfenstein 3D's engine. It largely ignored in its time, since it was released after Doom's release, which had a far superior engine. While it does offer a couple of unique features, it is an average quality game overall because of its repetitiveness.

The game takes place in the year 2012, after an American expedition to Mars returned with an artifact. The artifact is taken to a highly secured area of a research lab, called Corridor 7, where scientists conduct experiments. After being exposed to gamma radiation, the artifact opens a portal to an alien world. Aliens rush through the portal and overtake the research facility. It is the unnamed protagonist's job to kill the aliens and close the portal. There are no intermissions throughout the game; only the introduction and ending video provide any explanation of the game's events.

Two different versions of Corridor 7 were released: a floppy disk version and a CD version. The floppy disk version has thirty single player levels, and on level thirty the player destroys the portal. The CD version has forty single player levels. At the end of level thirty, the player enters the portal to the alien world and destroys a different portal at the end of level forty. The CD version also includes network multiplayer, with deathmatch and team deathmatch options.

In each level, the player musk kill a certain percentage of the aliens, and then find an elevator to proceed to the next level. The number of aliens the player needs to kill depends on the difficulty setting, and in the two hardest difficulty settings the player must kill all aliens. As with games made with the Wolfenstein engine, the levels all have the same fixed height floors and ceilings, with individual walls as cubes. Secret areas can be found by pushing on certain walls.

The player has a handful of weapons, including a taser, which uses no ammunition, a pistol and minigun, which use bullets, and two alien energy weapons, which use energy packs. The CD version of the game adds a shotgun and a two more alien weapons. Because several weapons use the same ammunition, despite the number of weapons available the player will likely use only a couple of them through the course of the game. Some of the game's later levels have few extra bullets available to pick up so alien weapons become more prominent towards the end of the game.

In addition to these weapons, there are proximity mines. The player sets them on the ground and when anyone walks over them they explode to cause major damage. They can be hard to use effectively, since they require the aliens to walk right on top of them, which is hard to arrange other than in narrow hallways. Blocking off narrow hallways with mines is very dangerous for the player since there is no way to disarm a mine than an alien won't walk over. It seems more practical for multiplayer use.

The player also has a visor with a limited battery charge. The visor has an infrared mode, which can see invisible enemies and laser beams. Invisible aliens appear on the mini-map, so this isn't as useful as it seems. Laser beams cause damage when the player walks over them, but it is nearly impossible to know where they are until the player starts taking damage. The visor also has a night vision mode for dark areas.

With few exceptions enemies have a ranged attack, and move towards the player and shoot. Firing a weapon typically alerts nearby enemies to the player's location. Some drop energy cells on death. A couple of enemies have unique properties. One can camouflage itself as a furniture object, like a filing cabinet or a plant, to ambush the player. Some are silent and can sneak up on the player. Most enemies have hitscan weapons, and a few fire projectiles that can be dodged in open areas.

Leaving the game idle for a minute or so will cause an image of the final boss to appear on the screen for a few seconds as well as play an ominous sound. Supposedly this was explained as the protagonist having a hallucination. It was very unusual for a first person shooter to have a jump scare like this.

Certain doors are locked with a blue or red key. Rather than appearing as items, the player gets keys by interacting with certain computer terminals. Enemies can open any door even without keys, and so an enemy on the other side of a red door that became active after hearing a gunshot can open the door to allow the player access. It isn't a major shortcut on harder difficulty levels since all enemies need to be killed, but it does open up some interesting ways to complete a level.

The main problem with Corridor 7 is that it is repetitive. After a dozen levels or so they all seem to blur together. Levels are large, labyrinthine, and often confusing. The level design is competent but nothing stands out. A few secret optional levels here and there break up the monotony a little. The additional ten levels in the CD version are of lower quality than the original thirty. Their maps are typically symmetrical, with large, open, empty areas and they feel like they were created in haste. The game keeps score, so trying for a new high score might add to the replay value.

The game has a high quality soundtrack. It gives a good feeling of suspense. If the music wasn't as good as it was, it would make completing the game much more tedious.

Corridor 7 is a good effort but it feels bland after a time, and isn't a classic like so many first person shooters of the early and mid 1990s. It is however much better than Capstone's earlier first person shooter, Operation Body Count.


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Community review by Bouchart (September 29, 2017)

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