Rogue Entertainment

Reinstall: Strife, merging shooter and RPG elements years before Deus Ex

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Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Paul returns to the ambitious Doom-era FPS/RPG hybrid, Strife.

Article by Paul Dean

Strife did Deus Ex before Deus Ex – sort of. Released in 1996 and powered by id’s Doom engine, it didn’t manage to pull off that same fusion of roleplaying elements, stealth and freedom of choice that made Deus Ex great a few years later, but it certainly took one of the first stabs at it, and 17 years after its release it still does a pretty fine job.

Strife was one of the first games to take an engine used by first- person shooters and to bolt all kinds of extras onto it, showing that it could be used for far more than just blasting away at monsters. It’s a Doom-a-like set in a hub-based persistent world where you can talk to just about anyone, albeit through terrible, cheesy voice acting. It’s an ambitious last hurrah for the Doom engine, following more simplistic games such as Heretic and Hexen, and it wears that heritage proudly: you get to do a lot of shooting with a lot of novel weaponry. And people explode.

Reinstall: American McGee's Alice

Logan Decker at

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has spent the past 150 years casually batting aside just about every attempt to reshape its capricious, meandering story into a logical narrative. Tim Burton gave it a crack last year with Alice in Wonderland, tossing 19-year-old Alice back into the phantasmagorical fantasies of her childhood to ditch the hoop skirts, confront the Red Queen, and transition to spirited, headstrong womanhood while name-checking Carroll’s cast along the way. The result was charmless and distasteful. So what a coup it might have been if EA had re-released American McGee’s Alice at the same time, and showed how a young PC game developer had taken a suspiciously similar approach ten years earlier—and made it work.


EA bundling American McGee’s Alice with the PC version of Alice: Madness Returns exclusively through North American EA Store

Logan Decker at

Imagine piling your family into the station wagon and taking them to see the magnificent Grand Canyon, only to find that there’s no actual canyon there anymore, just a few rocks and a small kiosk manned by an elderly gentleman reading a paperback book. You ask him where the Grand Canyon is, and he squints at you and replies, “the what?”

That’s what it’s been like for fans of American McGee’s Alice, originally released to effusive praise in 2000. We played it, we dug it, we lent it to our friends, and we never saw our discs again. But unlike other classics from the era, Alice never showed up in digital stores or GOG.com. Even used copies start at around $50 on eBay. “Why, EA?” we lamented, “why won’t you re-release this beloved PC classic?”

And EA not only heard our lamentations, but went above and beyond by including the original American McGee’s Alice with Alice: Madness Returns in a bundle called Alice: Madness Returns – The Complete Collection, available exclusively through EA Store in North America.