Ion Maiden, by Voidpoint, is an FPS with a classic, nostalgic feel. Taking the Duke Nukem formula and engine then cranking it up to 11, the game hands over the lead role to a tough female member of the Global Defense Force, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison. It seems that she too is “all out of bubblegum.”
My demo at PAX South had me running and gunning through the halls of Dr. Jadus Heskel’s ‘House of Horrors’ in a level exclusive to the event. It was laid out as a two-story house, but filled with enemies everywhere you turned. Each enemy was a fair challenge, but you can use your ridiculous speed to run around corners and dip in and out of view to fire and take out enemies. Figure out a way to take them out fast or you’ll quickly end up a bullet-riddled mess.
There are plenty of weapons to help you take down the robe-wearing miscreants firing at you and each one is as fun to use as the next. I especially enjoyed using the dual-wield SMGs, guns with twice the amount of fast-firing bullets, and the crossbow, which seemed to do a tremendous amount of damage. It’s also neat that they added physics to the engine that allowed grenades to bounce around, which in turn makes both throwing and firing them from a grenade launcher exceptionally fun.
Character movement is blisteringly fast — just like the good ol’ days — and while enemies will sometimes follow you, your speed is unmatchable, which leads to a lot of firing, acrobatics, and violence. Go too fast, however, and you’re bound to miss many of the secrets hidden within each level. Most of the secrets you will find are weapons and armor, but finding them might make the difference between life and death.
Ion Maiden is a perfect example of bringing the retro style to the modern age, as they included a couple modern features to round out the experience. Location-based damage allows for headshots and auto-saves are a life-saver — both help the game feel fresh while keeping the sprite-based, tried-and-true graphics style. Your character Shelly really loves to deliver one-liners and taunts, and I wouldn’t have it any other way — it’s a perfect homage to the source material. The heavy soundtrack also sticks with the original FastTracker 2 method of making game music and it sounds awesome.
Ion Maiden brings the violence, brings it hard, and leaves you begging for more.