Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hostage Rescue 3 (HOSTAGE3.WAD)

Before banging out the now legendary Twilight Warrior, a somewhat realistic FPS conversion for Doom II to be played in the then budding Legacy engine, Sidearm Joe and Ziggy Gnarly made the Hostage Rescue series, culminating in Hostage Rescue 3. HOSTAGE3 was released back in 1998, a three-level minisode of sorts. The hook is the same, an attempt at simulating real covert ops activities in the Doom engine, starting out with a shooting gallery before moving on to two distinctly different missions. If you've played Twilight Warrior but haven't touched their salad days, you're not missing much, as MAP03 is a much easier version of Twilight's MAP04 ("Navy Seal") and MAP01 is barely a glorified shooting gallery. There's some cool stuff, though.

There are some lengthy tips based around the extensive DeHackEd features, but the one real tip I can offer is to play HOSTAGE3 in a port that lets you jump. Joe and Gnarly apparently rigged up a way to allow you to jump in vanilla with DeHackEd (I'm assuming with the arch-vile attack since it's apparently a drug that does damage to you when you use it) but I couldn't get it to work in Eternity, ZDoom or PrBoom-Plus, at least straight out of the box, and you need the ability to jump in order to perform two crucial maneuvers in MAP02. The other weapons aren't very interesting to me as none of the situations are so demanding as to require using anything other than your slot 3, 4 and 7 weapons.

Hostage Rescue 3 is a wonderful experiment that would go on to produce Twilight Warrior, but if you've already seen their seminal effort, there's not much worth revisiting in this freshman outing unless you like killing the same stinging bee enemies over and over and over again (and maybe a guard dog or two). At the most, I'd recommend trying "Assault", a different take on the embassy rescue mission explored in Twilight's "Embassy".

by Voodoo Nipple Software
aka Sidearm Joe and Ziggy Gnarly

Just a shooting gallery to get you practiced on how the modified weapons behave. None of the bullseyes can shoot back at you so just have some fun.

It reminds me strongly of the "Embassy" level from Twilight Warrior, but it's considerably different, not to mention less polished for several reasons. One, pretty much every enemy is the same. Two, the hostages feel much less... robust than in TWILIGHT, which means that the first bullet that strikes them is likely to prematurely end your mission. There are some cool sequences, though, like dropping in through the elevator shaft and into the carriage for one of the rescues, or the ladder climb. A nice bit if you haven't gotten enough of Covert Ops in Doom stuff.

Navy SealMAP03
Essentially MAP04 of Twilight Warrior, albeit a bit easier. You start out on a smaller ship and swim to the larger one, which is swarming with arms dealers. It's not too threatening in spite of the lack of health until you get to the lower area where it's much darker and enemies are as thick as thieves. Just don't forget you have a combat shotgun while you clear the upper decks.


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