Rogue Trooper Redux, PC

Rebellion‘s Rogue Trooper was originally released in 2006 for Windows, PlayStation 2 and XBox, and it was remastered in HD by Tick Tock Games and re-released in 2017. It is the remastered “Redux” version that we’re looking at here.

For those who don’t know: Rogue Trooper is based on the character made famous in the British comic, 2000AD. Famous enough for him to have appeared in a ZX Spectrum game in 1986, and an Amiga/Atari ST game in 1991. And also slated to appear in a forthcoming film by Duncan Jones, who directed Moon (2009), and Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), among others. So Rogue Trooper does have some pedigree.

Rogue Trooper Redux has a single player campaign (including stronghold and progressive modes), as well as an online multiplayer game.

Rogue Trooper is a blue-skinned super solder of the future – a Genetic Infantryman (GI) with a special chip implanted in his head. If a GI dies these chips immediately store their entire personality and can be extracted to re-generate them back to life later on. Rogue Trooper has a talking gun (“Gunnar“), helmet (“Helm“) and backpack (“Bagman“) and each have a personality due to the chips from three of his dead comrades being extracted and plugged into them. They can talk and they give Rogue Trooper advice as he progresses through the game.

Rogue is fighting enemy “Norts” on the poisoned planet of Nu Earth and is sent on a mission to The Quartz Zone. This mission turns into a massacre because the Norts were tipped-off and knew they were coming. Rogue Trooper survives the massacre and vows to find out why they were ambushed, which puts him at odds with his own side, the Southers. The aftermath of The Quartz Massacre explains how Gunnar, Helm and Bagman were extracted from his dead comrades, and how Rogue Trooper actually went renegade.

The game is a futuristic, third-person shooter with chapters, missions and objectives, and you’re basically running through a complex 3D environment, blasting the enemy and trying not to get wasted yourself. Rogue can press up against parts of the scenery to take cover and can creep around stealthily by crouching, or can take the gung-ho approach – even using heavy machine gun emplacements abandoned by the enemy. If Rogue‘s health bar reach zero, though, he’ll die and you’ll have to re-load from a previous checkpoint. Thankfully you can manufacture medi-kits for healing, ammo, and weapon upgrades by salvaging resources from piles of scrap and dead bodies. Bagman is the chip buddy who can manufacture items for you and as you progress through the game new items and abilities will come into play gradually.

Early on you get access to mini mines which you can throw by holding down the ‘Q’ button. These are very useful for taking out large groups of enemy, or single, heavy units, or for destroying mission critical locations. From level three onward you get access to the silencer, which muffles the sound of your gun, and can also set up Gunnar on a tripod to act like a turret – which is very useful for distracting the enemy or for covering an area you know will later be swarming with Norts. This indicates a switch in the style of gameplay as it goes from the loud, battlezone mayhem of the early levels, to a stealthy combat style of infiltration. From my point of view, this is where the game really starts to get interesting.

While the first couple of levels in Rogue Trooper Redux are fairly standard third-person shooter stuff, the game does open up well from the third level onward. When the gameplay becomes stealthy it starts to become very absorbing and quite tactical. Sneaking into the Nort base and taking down everyone and everything with all the tech, resources, and knowledge at your disposal is great fun. It starts to feel like a cross between Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex, with multiple solutions to problems – different ways of solving the same conundrum. Like, for example, sniping the tanks on the backs of soldiers will cause them to leak flaming oxygen and eventually explode. Or throwing mini mines becomes a great way of dealing with enemy soldiers sneaking up on you, or them hiding behind walls (you just throw the mines over the walls and detonate them remotely). Or using cover to bide your time, and sneakily popping out to blast the enemy as they blunder toward you. And using turrets to take out enemy drop ships or bombers becomes more important, and fun. Using holo-decoys is great too, if you’ve got enemy snipers pinning you down. Get them to focus on your decoy then snipe them in the head. There’s even a section where you can release some animals that the Norts are keeping to cause a diversion so you can sneak past, or use the confusion to kill everyone. As the game evolves the gameplay becomes surprisingly good, and because you have options it feels less linear.

While I haven’t played the original Rogue Trooper I have to say that this Redux version is excellent visually. The levels are well-designed and the lighting and atmospherics are really good – particularly the shadow effects. The animated character models of the Genetic Infantrymen are superb (apart from the teeth which look a bit weird).

It does take a little while to become attuned to Rogue‘s movement, but after some practise you’ll be able to duck, hide, and run between areas of cover like an expert soldier. Movement in confined spaces is a little cumbersome to begin with, as you can sometimes get caught on the scenery, but in general the controls and movement work very well. The crafting side of the game works well too. As long as you don’t forget to loot piles of scrap and dead bodies you’ll have enough resources so that you don’t run out of ammo, health packs, or other ordnance.

Overall, I was surprised by how good Rogue Trooper Redux was, after a slightly shaky start. Just give it a chance and get past the first couple of levels and it will begin to come into its own. The game isn’t perfect though. The lip sync, dialogue and subtitles were a bit off in my game, timing-wise, and the auto save system sometimes restarted me in an annoying place (not always, just occasionally). And also Rogue sometimes does stupid things, like stand on top of a rock instead of hiding behind it, only to get his head blown off. But I guess that was more down to my cack-handedness than anything else (and the fact that I hadn’t yet learned that you can’t hide behind small rocks).

I would definitely recommend Rogue Trooper Redux, if you like futuristic combat games – especially if you’re familiar with Rogue Trooper already. It should at least prepare you for the forthcoming Duncan Jones film adaption – if that ever happens. It’s been in pre-production for years with no sign of it entering production yet. That is: if IMDb is to be believed. I have high hopes for the film – if Jones remains on as director.

See also: 2000AD Special.

More: Rogue Trooper on Wikipedia
Steam: Rogue Trooper Redux on Steam
GOG: Rogue Trooper Redux on GOG.com

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