Selaco is a retro shooter that mixes old and new
The revival of the old-school shooter continues to continue as the generation of fans who fell in love with LOSS yearn for the glory days of incredibly fast and dynamic shooter action. To date, dozens of indie developers have produced their own reimaginings and homages to some of the 90s’ most iconic shooters like earthquake, Duke Nukem and the aforementioned cultural phenomenon that was originally LOSS. Now a new independent entrance, SelacoDeveloped using the popular retro engine GZDoom, aims to not only deliver a love letter to this classic era, but also deliver a captivating new take on the idea of first-person shooter.
Developed by Altered Orbit Studios, Selaco is making a name for itself by not only drawing inspiration from the retro shooters of yore with its speed and art style, but also looking to another era for heavy inspiration when it comes to its mechanics. This combination of newer gameplay and retro flair ensures that in the sea of retro shooters available, this one manages to provide a level of difficulty and tactical challenge that many of its other titles in the genre lack.
Set in the titular futuristic underground vault, players take on the role of Dawn, an ACE security captain tasked with overseeing the refugees who populate the facility after Earth falls into disarray. When Selaco is invaded by an outside force, Dawn will have to fight to survive while trying to figure out what this deadly enemy is after. Overwhelmed and overwhelmed, players will follow Dawn’s struggle as she desperately tries to survive this full-scale battle intact.
At first glance, with its sci-fi setting and gritty futuristic premise, Selaco might seem like another homage to the classic LOSS (which it definitely is), but after playing the game’s demo, some of its inspirations clearly come from another classic source – the now iconic Build Engine that spawned the equally iconic Duke Nukem 3D. While Dawn doesn’t spring from one-liners like Duke, she is capable of destroying almost anything not nailed down in environments, which is eerily reminiscent of more classic Build Engine games. This level of destructibility is an exciting part of Selacowith firefights erupting with broken glass, crates exploding, and all manner of havoc.
Although Build Engine’s comparisons with Selaco Perhaps on the surface level, its other inspirations, which surprisingly come from a much more modern shooter series, are integral to its core gameplay. The game is directly and heavily inspired by the TO FEAR series both in its AI and gameplay. SelacoEnemies are incredibly smart and adaptable, and can all work in tandem to punish the player in the form of explosives and a hail of bullets. Enemies react to each other, retreat when pressed, charge Dawn if she runs out of ammo, and are even able to provide hints about their tactics through voice dialogue in the heat of battle.
For those who have experience with the TO FEAR series, this level of enemy AI behavior is precisely what players have experienced in these groundbreaking shooters, and it makes SelacoCombat is as fun as it is challenging. One minute players could run around and shoot down enemies with ease like a classic 90s shooter only to drop into a kill box full of enemies that will spell Dawn’s doom. This kind of duality to fight makes Selaco Feel fresh in a flooded market full of retro-style shooters that put speed first. Although it may take a page of TO FEARAs far as the AI goes, the game doesn’t give players the series’ incredibly useful slow-motion mechanic, which only serves to make Selaco all the more difficult and tactical in the best way.
These nods to predecessors are pasted all over the gameplay of Selaco, and not just in battle either. In one of the available demos, players can find an Easter egg image of Alma, the antagonistic evil spirit that haunts players throughout the game. TO FEAR series. Selaco even features a weapon called the Penetrator, which is a nail gun very similar to a fan-favorite weapon of the same name that has appeared in many TO FEAR Games.
At the end of the day, Selaco is a game that somehow manages to feel fresh and inventive by effectively blending two distinct shooter styles. For fans of retro shooters who often view beloved titles from the past through rose-colored glasses, Selaco manages to play as fans remember these classics from the 90s back in the day. For that alone, it’s worth a look and is available now on Steam in demo form, with a full release planned for the near future.
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