First person shooters are fun, no doubt about that. In fact, they’re so fun, a ridiculous amount of first person shooters are now in existence. Counting out all the commercial titles (of which there are a lot), there are still plenty of free or open source titles as well. My favorite open source first person shooter up to this point has been Urban Terror, which I reviewed a while back. However, that was then. Now, I enjoy a different game even more.
Red Eclipse is a fun, fast, action-packed, and futuristic first person shooter. It is based on the Cube 2 engine, which is open-source, and despite the engine’s age it still looks and acts very modern. Even with the very pretty graphics that come with maxed out settings, I always tend to max out at the built-in limit of 200 fps, so performance on capable machines is no issue whatsoever. My hardware specs may be a little overkill (AMD 6-core CPU with HD Radeon 6950), but you get the point.
Getting Red Eclipse installed on your system shouldn’t be hard for most people. On their download page, you’ll find packages for Windows, Mac, and Linux, all around 475MB large. The front page also advertises that it is available under Desura, the PlayDeb repository for Ubuntu (so Ubuntu users can just install the readied package rather than mess with a tar file), AUR for Arch Linux, and for the Chakra distribution. No matter the operating system, install how you always do, and you should be set.
Getting started is very easy. Simply choose Offline Practice if you’d like to play in single player mode, else choose play online (which we’ll get to in a bit). After choosing Offline Practice, you can select from a whole bunch of different game modes. But wait, there’s more. Do you see the long list on the right hand side? Those are all maps, so you have plenty of choices to make.
Thought I was done? Not quite. There are still “mutators”, which change little things about how the game is played. Lots of them are great to try out, or even enable in combinations! Some of my favorites are team play (2 or 4 teams), medieval (only allows swords to be used), vampire (regain health as you deal out damage), and arena (choose your weapons before you spawn).
For more information on each mutator, hover over them with your mouse.
By choosing Play Online, you get to choose from many online servers as well as local LAN sessions. Game sessions are completed controlled by the server, so all you have to do is connect to the server of your choice and play according to their rules.
Gameplay, in case I hadn’t already said so, is amazingly fun and smooth. Unlike other shooters, you won’t get killed (or fragged, as it’s called in this game) instantly whenever another player spots you. Instead you have a little time to shoot back and forth and make it interesting. This, anyways, is the case for single player, and there’s still a chance you’ll get insta-fragged in multiplayer mode. Either way, it’s lots of fun. A great component of the game is the weaponry. All weapons are very futuristic and look just as good. It’s fun just to shoot a plasma gun in all its neon blue glory, let alone frag someone with it.
Red Eclipse is a fantastic first person shooter (self-described as an ego-shooter), and will hopefully stay around and evolve for quite a while. The project itself is still relatively new, with the first release about a year old from the time of this writing, and a nice upgrade or two since the initial release. I’ve seen in different forums about a few user complaints, and it seems that those are being addressed nicely. Will Red Eclipse become my new number one shooter? Quite possibly.
What do you think about Red Eclipse? Have you tried it yet? Let us know in the comments!