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Strife: Quest for the Sigil

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Strife: Quest for the Sigil (released in 1996, and re-released on 12 December 2014 by Night Dive), more usually known as Strife (or in the re-release edition as "Strife: Veteran Edition"), is a Doom engine game created by Rogue Entertainment and published by Velocity. It offered an RPG-like action game, with heavy story elements and voice-acting. Among the features were hub-levels similar to Hexen, the ability to increase the player's accuracy with most of the weapons, an item that could destroy forcefields, and the ability to raise your maximum health from 100 to as much as 200 permanently, similar to Doom. Strife is also the very last commercial game to use the Doom engine. Its source code was lost.

Story

A comet has hit the Earth, unleashing a virus and killing a large amount of the populace. A lot of the survivors started to hear the voice of a god in their heads (The Entity) and worshipped it. The Order took over the world and all women and children found were killed, forcing the survivors to go underground, while the men became peasants. The Order's rule is brutal and oppressive to the extent an underground resistance is formed. Calling themselves the Front (although in the shareware version it is referred to as 'The Movement'), they struggle to free themselves from the Order. However, the Order's technological advantage has damped the Front's efforts.

The following is as it is explained in the manual of the game: "You are a wandering mercenary, led to the small town of Tarnhill by rumors of conflict between The Order, a well-equipped religious dictatorship, and The Front, the rag tag resistance movement. While searching for The Front you decided to take a brief rest somewhere that you thought was safe. The Order acolytes have been rounding up all suspicious characters in the area. Yes, you happen to be one of them. What they didn't expect, though, is the knife you keep concealed for situations just like this one..."

Gameplay

Strife is far more hub-like in its maps than Hexen, in that you can go back to nearly any of the maps you've been to before (with few exceptions). It is the most non-linear of the Doom-based games, with the possibility of doing several things out of order coupled with multiple endings.

Unlike most games built from the Doom engine, Strife allows for conversations with other people in the game (with voice acting for the more important ones) as well as a special "Query" key. This button lets the player know how long they have been playing Strife, as well as the current mission that has been given to the main character. There are also decisions that the player must make in order to progress through the game that change the ending of the game. There are three such endings as a result: the "good" victory ending (aka the "best" ending), the "bad" victory ending, and the failure or "worst" ending.

Strife is one of the few Doom-engine games where what you do in a level can directly affect other levels; this is most drastically seen when the Programmer is killed, which replaces the Castle with the New Front Base and causes several other changes. See the latter article for details.

Another innovative feature is that trigger linedefs are sometimes marked; those which operate lifts or open doors by yellow and black stripes, and alarm triggers in doorframes by yellow lights (activated unless the player is wearing an officer's uniform) or green lights (activated regardless). There are also forcefields, in green or orange (though there is no other known difference), which must be disabled in order to progress.

On modern machines, Strife is best run using a source port such as ZDoom. One thing to beware of is that sometimes "Falling Damage" is set to "Off" by default, even for Strife (and Hexen); for these two games, you should set Falling Damage to "Strife" or "Hexen" respectively, matching the way the original EXE worked, so that if you fall into a deep pit you don't have to restart the level manually.

See Strife on the Doom Wiki for more in-depth information.

Trivia

  • "Tarn" means a lake, particularly a mountain lake created by glacier action.

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