Kingdom of the Dead, tried the horror FPS of yesteryear

Kingdom of the Dead, tried the horror FPS of yesteryear

Kingdom of the Dead

It is not easy to be faced with something that is very classic and also totally original at the same time, but the Kingdom of the Dead tried it has given us this strange feeling from the first minutes. Extremely traditional is its gameplay, which deliberately recalls the roots of historical first person shooters, Doom, Hexen or Painkiller, to stay on the horror theme. Original, to the point of representing a truly bizarre sight to behold, there is instead its appearance, which was built to look like hand drawn, ink and black and white, with a very peculiar effect. The Kingdom of the Dead game experience is at the meeting between these two antithetical sensations, making it particularly interesting.

The game action is fast and relatively simple, recovering the stylistic features of the classic FPS, but what characterizes it all is certainly the strange atmosphere that you breathe, able to transport us into what seems a sort of interactive graphic novel, with very little narration and a lot of action, but presented in an extremely stylish way, able to to make new a gaming experience that, in fact, is perhaps among the oldest at this point, while still remaining perfectly valid.

Everything is inserted within a rather small production which leads to a limited number of contents, which however lend themselves to being replayed several times following different paths.

Story of a strange government agent

Kingdom of the Dead, a game scene outside The threat we are dealing with in Kingdom of the Dead is Death himself, in a somewhat peculiar context. We are in 1867 in America, just after the end of the Civil War and in a country still devastated and to be rebuilt and re-assembled we also find ourselves having to face a metaphysical threat which, in some areas of the east coast in particular, seems to have also become definitely physical. To cope with the invasion of strange and disturbing presences that occurred in various areas of the country, the United States government created a secret program called Gatekeeper, also hiring various ex-soldiers who distinguished themselves during the war to act as an armed wing for this. section that must remain top secret, for obvious reasons. The protagonist of Kingdom of the Dead is one of these: the agent Chamberlain is a professor who became general of the army and immediately recalled to service after the end of hostilities to take part in another even more demanding war, this time against the armies of Death.

Supernatural entities penetrate physical reality through portals, which appear suddenly and without apparent logic in some areas of the Earth and in particular in North America, it seems.

The mission of the Gatekeeper program is precisely to explore the areas, find the portals and close them permanently, in the meantime trying to eliminate all the nightmare creatures that have invaded the territory starting from the interdimensional gap. Agent Chamberlain is called to take part in various missions of this type, guided simply by brief letters from the government and by a bizarre talking sword which, in addition to dispensing advice and indications on enemies, has a marked tendency to comment in a manner sarcastic the various situations in which one finds oneself during the missions, giving a humorous tone to the action which, in its own right, is decidedly dismal and violent.

Gameplay of yesteryear

The sword, visible in the image, is a sentient weapon that characterizes Kingdom of the Dead Kingdom of the Dead is a first person shooter in the most classic sense of the term, proudly returning, and just as the concept behind the project, in the most traditional styles of the gameplay of the genre to which he belongs. In fact, all we have to do is move within the three-dimensional environments and take out everything that comes at us in a threatening way, collecting weapons and ammunition from killed enemies and crates arranged in the scenarios or occasionally interacting in various ways with others. elements but always in a very elementary way (opening locks, freeing hostages or something like that). The nine levels that make up the game don't seem like many, but they can be covered in different ways offering a certain freedom of exploration and also allowing you to modify part of the missions according to different objectives established at the beginning.

In the demo proven, a letter invites us to explore a mysterious mansion in search of a portal that seems to have been opened inside it and, responding to the request, we can choose whether to undertake the mission as "Agentis" or as "Special Agent" and this choice changes considerably the development of the action: in the first case we simply have to locate and close the portal, with the second option, on the other hand, various secondary objectives are activated, such as finding and returning the documents relating to the ownership of the building and avoiding civilian losses.

An image of Kingdom of the Dead with standard creatures attacking in the first level There is also a third option that is activated only later and further increases the difficulty level, but this first example already does understand how the Dirigo Games team intends to structure the various missions, allowing different layered runs that exploit the openness of level design through secondary roads and alternative objectives.

The action is typical of the FPS, with the possibility of using a limited number of weapons but able to offer different approaches: mainly, the service pistol to hit from a distance with a certain accuracy, the shotgun to inflict scattered damage at short range, dynamite to hit in the area and the trusty talking sword with which to slice enemies that get too close. The latter are of different types and follow different patterns between normal zombies capable of crouching or running, others equipped with firearms, winged creatures that attack from above, monks (or something like that) that cast spells from afar and real and their own demons able to attack particularly heavily. A bestiary capable of offering a rather standardized variety but still sufficient to force you to vary tactics and weapons with a certain frequency and dynamism.

A unique style

The Worm in the Image and the Cultists present reminiscent of some Lovecraftian influences in Kingdom of the Dead horror As can be easily guessed even just looking at the images, the aesthetic element on which Kingdom of the Dead leverages to impose itself in a panorama that on the FPS front is fairly stocked, to put it mildly. The effect that the game causes is really very particular and gives the feeling of being inside a horror comic with a somewhat ancient but definitely fascinating style. Obviously the graphics do not appear very complex, taking advantage of this particular stylization to be incisive in any case and to be clearly disconnected from any realistic representation. On the other hand, the performances are acceptable even on rather low configurations and the fluidity and speed of the action are important elements in the game action, which requires a certain basic clarity as a few shots lead to the game over and therefore it becomes necessary to distinguish well enemies and opposing fire.

Black and white and hatching, from this point of view, sometimes tend to confuse the view a bit, which could be resolved through the additional chromatic customizations that should be unlocked in the full game, therefore the question must be evaluated more precisely in the future. In any case, the horror comic effect halfway between gothic and splatter, like Tales from the Crypt interactive, is certainly the driving force for the Kingdom of the Dead gaming experience and also represents a perfect context for recovery. of an extremely elementary gameplay, compared to the latest FPS drifts. To all this is added the basic irony that permeates everything a bit, between the dialogues and the general presentation, including the original horror soundtrack that mixes theremin and various organs.

It's not easy find a game that is both weird and traditional but Kingdom of the Dead is precisely that. Among the many indie experiments on Steam, Dirigo Games' bizarre FPS easily attracts attention due to the graphic style drawn and the particular setting between Lovecraftian horror and pulp comics, then holding us back with a basic but irresistible gameplay, which returns to the classic roots of the first person shooter. The demo released for the Steam Next Fest is intriguing and if the full game manages to offer a good variety of environments and enemies, with the particular replayability that it already seems to have, Kingdom of the Dead could be one of the indie surprises of early 2022.


Really fascinating and bizarre to see The gameplay works well, based on the classic foundations of the FPS Levels that allow you to go through different paths following various objectives DOUBT In its traditionalism it is also very basic, how to play The graphic style drawn is beautiful and distinctive, but it can be a bit confusing Have you noticed any errors?

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