Adrenaline is an ambitious top-down team shooter that attempts to take popular mechanics from games like Quake, Unreal, and Counterstrike and apply them to a 2D distillation of a bullet hell shoot ’em up.
The basic setup and premise are familiar enough: two teams, red and blue, are thrown into an arena for any number of motives, whether it’s capture the flag, team deathmatch, or just plain free-for-all slaughter. Weapons, ammo, and health are scattered about the map, and your sole purpose is to try and leverage tactical advantages and teamwork against the enemy for ultimate victory. Absolutely great! Unfortunately, the game falls short due some overlooked components.
Now don’t get me wrong, Adrenaline is polished and concise. All I could explore, though, was the game’s single-player mode. At the time of writing, Adrenaline has been out for at least three years and the multiplayer community presence is completely non-existent. This is the major issue as, of course, the computer is a total cheater in this game.
How do I know this? The major glaring issue Adrenaline is your field of vision. The actual visual scope of this game is tiny. You basically have to be standing on top of an opponent to know where your target is, if you’re not trying to guess his position based on the bullets flying at you from off the screen. If you are playing single-player mode than the latter is almost always your sole option for targeting. If you’re close enough to see the computer opponents, you’re probably already dead. The maps themselves don’t lend much to this as most of the arenas are cramped and difficult to navigate.
The only tactics I was able to exploit were: A) Grenades can be thrown over walls to great effect, and B) Your computer teammates make delicious meatshields. Seriously, as long as the enemy isn’t firing at you specifically, you’re more or less fine, and the only way this happens is if there’s is a wall, or another target between you and your opponent. This is largely due to the fact that the computer opponents can and will use their superior vision to dominate you given the chance. It’s a bit annoying, to say the least.
Aside from this glaring flaw, Adrenaline is pretty enjoyable; the selection of weapons is sound and fairly interesting, the visual effects are impressive, and the game stands out in a world of low quality top-down shooters. But, the lack of community is a bit disconcerting. Although I can only imagine what Adrenaline was like in its heyday, I would be really interested in seeing how actual players dealt with the constraints listed above. Was it just a grenade gankfest? Or were there some truly brutal brawls that took place in those tiny arenas? One can only imagine now.
I would say if you have a decent list of friends who like playing experimental apocrypha like this then by all means, go nuts. In a gaming/LAN style party I can imagine this being a good interstitial distraction when everyone’s tired of Team Fortress and League of Legends. On its own though, it’s a bit of a hollow experience, unfortunately. At the least, it is a prime example of the power of GameMaker and what can be achieved with it.
Play Adrenaline on PC.
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