In this edition of “Yet Another retro FPS has entered Early Access,” we’d like to welcome our special guest Dread Templar. Everybody will clap or face the wrath of our impalation seats. The game currently only has 10 of its planned 25 levels and there are more weapons and enemies to come. What’s more, it retails for the fair price of $14.99 USD, which isn’t bad considering that the full game could take about 8 hours or more to complete when all is said and done. The action is fast and bloody as hell, but the question stands: is Dread Templar worth it?
The premise is so simple it borders on nonexistent. You play as a templar. Said templar has busted their way into hell for revenge. I don’t know who it’s against or why, or why this templar is so good at using guns, but we just need to accept this and move on. Dread Templar is a classic-styled, level-based affair. You kill your way from the beginning of the level to the exit, all while collecting keys, finding supplies, and smirking smugly while you viciously annihilate the low-poly hellspawn unfortunate enough to cross your path.
It’s a very familiar game, to be sure. At first, you’ll only have dual blades and dual pistols. The blades can be combined into a single projectile and thrown for massive damage, but doing so leaves you without them while the ability cools down. As you play, you’ll find new weapons, many of which use the id Software standard of “stronger weapons that use the same type of ammo.” For instance, the dual pistols are succeeded by twin SMGs, while the shotgun gets locked into a slot with its twin cousin; the super shotgun. You even get a bow and a trap weapon for your wrist.
I once ran away from the god of fear
Dread Templar truly doesn’t do much different. But there are a few modern touches. Well, okay, “modern.” You can use bullet time. Which was pretty new back in the late ’90s. A full bar only lasts for a few seconds, but it refills as you kill things, so that’s all well and good. You’ll also find red upgrade materials that you can use to purchase skill slots for yourself and your weapons. Then there are the skills themselves, which you’ll find hovering out in the levels. They do things like give you more health, increase the damage of your weapons, and make bullet time last longer.
Of course, I don’t care at all that Dread Templar is such a familiar experience, because it does the classic formula well. The action is fast, visceral, and satisfying. The guns are fun to shoot, the enemies explode into a bloody mess, and the levels are designed well enough. As for whether it’s worth it with only two of its five chapters in place, for $15, I’d say so. You’d be helping the development of an enjoyable game that successfully delivers on what fans of these types of titles look for when they go to open their wallets. I wonder if these types of games will ever start looking like Quake II instead of Quake 1, though.