From the Database of Home of the Underdogs
Copyright 1996, Accolade
Eradicator is a fun FPS from Accolade that got far too little attention than it deserves. Steve Bauman’s review for CD Mag explains why this derivative underdog is not just another boring Quake clone:
“In the gaming business, it’s getting quite a bit harder to make a good first impression. With the sheer volume of titles, making yours stand out from the pack has forced publishers to go for the lowest common denominator and focus on the thing gamers claim not to care about: visuals. If that demo doesn’t have eye-popping visuals, the online whiners can turn people away from your game in droves. When looking at the 3D action genre, how your game compares to the two biggies, Duke Nukem 3D and Quake will likely determine the success of your game.
Eradicator doesn’t compare favorably, visually speaking, to either game. 3D fetishists will bad-mouth the engine for not being Quake-like, Duke Nukem-like, or whatever. The 3D engine is passable, lacking a high-resolution mode (which you’d think it could handle, considering its relative simplicity). It is a fast engine; it arguably runs too fast on a Pentium machine, but its fluidity will cause you to hearken back to the days of Doom. Unfortunately, the sound effects are uninspiring, and the voice performances are even worse.
As a design, Eradicator is derivative, taking the multiple characters from Heretic and Hexen (but adding unique missions for each), the mission-based structure and mouse control from Terminator: Future Shock and the interaction with the environment from Duke Nukem 3D. Also from Duke is the inclusion of a complete level editor, and like all of the games (minus Terminator), full network play is supported, though no Quake-style client/server or direct Internet play is present.
One thing Eradicator makes use of is an optional third-person viewpoint. It’s something of a mixed bag; you may find yourself switching to first-person for most of the game. The reason is obvious. All third-person games have to track the player while avoiding obstacles, and Eradicator‘s “Smart Camera,” like almost every other game’s, is anything but. The camera still finds itself blocking the view and the switches to first-person if you’re too close to the wall is very disorienting.
The game’s pseudo-mission structure sounds more impressive than it really is, as the level design forces the player on a linear path. Later levels, though, incorporate many more puzzle-like elements, which elevate the game above yet another “find key to open door” game.
What’s ultimately odd about Eradicator is that, despite its derivative nature and primitive visuals, it works. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why, but it works, providing further proof that solid execution is better than innovation. It falls short of being a violent Super Mario 64, but it’s obvious the designers wanted to go beyond the usual Doom clone, and bestowed upon the game the features they really liked from the competition. Most designs of this nature turn into incoherent messes; with Eradicator, this approach makes the game feel familiar, one that conjures up most of the positive things you associate with the games it evokes.”