Added to the lair: 3/3/18

Genre: FPS

Developer: Action Forms

Year: 1997

Platform: DOS

Emulator: DOSBox 0.74

Wikipedia: Chasm: The Rift

Chasm: The Rift

He'd give an arm and a leg... and so will you.

Quake is likely my favorite pure FPS of all time. I see it as the ultimate evolution of the singularly focused shooters of that era - Wolfenstein, Duke, Blood, Doom... Quake is the culmination of the design philosophies present in those legendary titles; and what a glorious thing it is.

Is Chasm: The Rift the long-forgotten cousin of Quake? Well, no... but it manages to scratch the itch better than most.

Graphically it obviously has some similarities to Quake. Enemies and environmental textures are generally more detailed than in that title, but level design is considerably worse, with a lot of narrow corridors and otherwise confined locations that pale in comparison to Quake's big playgrounds. There's a distinct lack of the verticality that set Quake apart from so many of its contemporaries. I suspect this is the result of engine limitations. While it's obviously a step beyond Build-engine shooters, it's still actually 2.5D, just with 3D models for enemies and some environmental elements plopped on top - vertical mouse movement yields a skewed perspective similar to what's seen in those games and can be a little distracting. It's actually kindof amazing how well they managed to fake it though, really.

Sound is pretty solid overall, with music being nice and atmospheric (though it's hard to compete with Trent Reznor) and decent (but not amazing) sound effects.

Chasm's unique addition to the genre was the ability to individually dismember different body parts from enemies - something that'd be front and center in titles like Soldier of Fortune (and, much later, Dead Space) but was practically unheard of in 1997. Enemies will actually keep fighting with whatever they still have at their disposal if you blow off their weapon arm. This is actually pretty awesome to behold, and can actually add an interesting tactical element to the shooting. There's a pretty solid array of weapons to choose from, ranging from standard shotguns and machine guns to more unique offerings like a saw blade launcher.

Chasm isn't Quake, but it's actually very solid. Check it out!