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Eradicator (PC) artwork

Eradicator (PC) review

"An overlooked, quality first person shooter."

Eradicator is a well made first person shooter that was overshadowed a bit by Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, both released the same year. Despite being a solid and overall enjoyable game it does feel a little repetitive at times and a couple of levels have a confusing design to them.

The game takes place on a mining station called the Citadel, on planet Ioxia where valuable Mazrium ore is processed. It has been occupied by a once dormant alien and cyborg army, which the player must defeat by destroying the Citadel's power reactor. As with most first person shooters of the era the plot is fairly minimal overall, and is told almost entirely by a somewhat cheesy video on starting the game.

On starting a new game the player has the choice of three different characters. Kamchak, a warrior from planet Treydan, is slow but has the best attack power of the three. Eleena, a mercenary, is fast and nimble but lacks defense. Dan Blaze, an engineer, is the well rounded character with equal amounts of speed, defense, and attack power. Completing the game also unlocks a fourth character with high attributes in all three areas.. In addition to their base attributes, the first level for each character is different and their first two weapons are cosmetically different. The difference between the characters is fairly minor overall. If anything, Eleena might be the least useful character because much of the game takes place indoors in narrow areas where speed isn't as useful, but the extra speed can come in handy when faced with the game's few timed puzzles.

Fans of Duke Nukem 3D will notice that Eradicator feels very similar to it. Eradicator uses its own game engine, but it looks very much like Duke Nukem 3D's Build engine. Enemies are all animated sprites, and levels are designed so that rooms can be placed above or below one another. The game has an inventory system where a handful of consumable items and devices can be held and used when needed. Security cameras, placed in a number of areas throughout the game, allow the player to see distant rooms and enemies of interest. Certain walls and objects are destructible, often leading to secret areas or hidden caches of equipment. The protagonist will also speak a line or two in reaction to something in the environment at certain places.

Each level has its own objective before reaching the end of the level. Many levels require performing some task, such as destroying a satellite communications array or cloning vats. It's slightly more involved than collecting a colored key to access the end of the level, like many first person shooters of the time. Each character can hold up to fifteen weapons at once. On the surface this would add a ton of variety to the gameplay, but in practice the player will only use the same three or four weapons for most of the game. Many of the advanced weapons have very limited ammunition, and are suitable for only boss fights or very dangerous rooms filled with advanced enemies. Others have a niche gimmick. The boomerang, for example, is almost entirely useless, having only ten ammunition and not dealing much more damage than any other weapon with more readily available ammunition.

While Eradicator is a primarily a first person shooter, it is possible to change the game to a third person perspective at any time. This might be useful for seeing around corners or for a few of the more platforming intensive areas of the game. In a couple of areas of the game the player remotely controls a robot to pass through certain doors and pass some obstacles like toxic waste. It's used mostly in a couple of early areas in the game and isn't seen in the game's later levels, unfortunately. There's also a unique picture-in-picture effect when using a few of the missile weapons. Also, one of the weapons is a remotely controlled spider robot, which can be made to detonate at any time, and it is needed to bypass obstacles and activate switches in at least a few areas.

A few optional, secret levels can be found throughout the game. Instead of finding an alternate exit to a level like in many other first person shooter, the player must collect several hidden keys, each of which is hidden on a different level. On exiting a level with all of the hidden keys the secret level is then accessible.

Eradicator suffers from a weak endgame. In some of the final levels the platforming becomes a bit difficult. Enemy variety is a bit lacking late in the game. On defeating the final boss and exiting the level, the game plays a brief video and then returns the player to DOS, with a message in plain text that the alien menace has been defeated. The last level consists only of the final boss in a cramped area and it has a rushed feel to it.

In addition to the single player campaign, Eradicator supports deathmatch style multiplayer using a modem or local area network. A level editing program was also included with the game, unlike most other first person shooters of the time.

Anyone who enjoys first person shooters from the 1990s should seriously consider Eradicator. While it isn't quite the masterpiece that its contemporaries like Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, and Descent are, it has a lot to offer to someone who enjoys the genre.


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Community review by Bouchart (December 14, 2017)

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