Videogame (2011). id Software (id). Designed by Tim Willits. Platforms: PS3, Win, XB360 (2011); rev vt Rage: Campaign Edition Mac (2012).
Rage is a First Person Shooter in which much of the player's time is spent racing and fighting from ramshackle vehicles; the game's world is often reminiscent of that depicted in Mad Max 2 (1981). There are many sly references to other games and game creators, including Fallout (1997), Wasteland (1988) and Warren Spector (designer of Deus Ex), as well as id Software's own Doom (1993), Quake (1996) and Wolfenstein 3D (see First Person Shooters). The setting is a Ruined Earth devastated by the Near Future impact of a large Asteroid. As in The Morrow Project (1980), underground refuges (or "Arks") were constructed before the disaster and stocked with military and scientific personnel in Suspended Animation, an elite who would be revived to reconstruct the world after the Holocaust. The player character is a soldier who was frozen in one of these bunkers. However, also as in The Morrow Project, something has gone wrong, and the protagonist is reanimated far later than planned, to discover that all the other sleepers in his Ark died before they woke. Emerging from his shelter, the player's character finds scattered groups of survivors who are maintaining a primitive civilization against the assaults of degenerate Mutants and marauding gangs. Soon, he is being hunted by the mysterious Authority for the Nanotechnological devices in his blood, improvements made by the Ark project which give him a superhuman level of physical endurance.
The Interactive Narrative of Rage is dominated by a somewhat Clichéd linear storyline which the game never seems to take terribly seriously. Players can also choose to undertake a variety of optional tasks, though the world outside the areas required for the primary narrative is not very detailed. Arguably, the game is a well designed and visually impressive First Person Shooter in the style of such predecessors as Quake (1996) or Unreal (1998), onto which the stronger narrative and more open world of such later works as Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007) have been rather uneasily grafted. Notably, the Game-World is not very flexible; it suggests a set dressed for the purposes of enacting the game's plot rather than an environment which participants are intended to explore. Player response to Rage has been somewhat muted, less perhaps due to any great flaws in the actual game than because its design is too close to that of the primal First Person Shooter, a subform which has fallen out of fashion.
Related works: Rage (2010 id, iOS) is a First Person Shooter in which the player follows a predetermined path through the killing grounds of a post-apocalyptic game show; reviews were good. Rage (2011) is a novelization of the 2011 game by Matthew J Costello, who also created the game's script, while Rage (2011; vt Rage: After the Impact 2011) is an associated three-issue Comics series. [NT]
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