Wolfenstein. Doom. Quake. They're all landmark titles in the history of video games, and they defined an entire genre: the first-person shooter. The studio that created them, Dallas-based id Software, has been relatively quiet since 2004's Doom 3. But id has finally returned with Rage, and fans will be delighted to discover it hasn't lost its touch for trigger-happy mayhem.
Rage takes place in a post-disaster wasteland that has become a bit of a cliche. In 2029, the hero was put into suspended animation before an asteroid struck Earth. When he awakens centuries later, the surface has been overrun by bandits, mutants and cannibals.
Rage doesn't skimp on opportunities to fill your enemies with lead. You can run screaming into a firefight, flinging grenades and automatic weapons fire every which way. Or you can be more cautious, taking out foes with well-placed sniper bullets.
While the weapons don't get too exotic, they're well differentiated. A shotgun has a kick to it, while a machine gun is harder to control. You can also build turrets and sentry robots, which become valuable sidekicks when foes become too much for your lone gunman.
There are only a few enemy types, but they come after you in many ways. Some kill from afar. Some heavily armored guards march relentlessly toward you. And the most agile mutants jump you en masse. The animation and artificial intelligence are terrific, making all your antagonists seem like living (and dying) creatures with their own unpredictable attack patterns.
RATING M for Mature
PLOT Shooting bad guys in a wasteland
DETAILS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, $60
BOTTOM LINE Lock and load!