F.E.A.R.-inspired retro shooter Selaco comes out blastin’, covered in early access dust

By admin Jun2,2024

There is a time for perfect clarity in a shooter, for clean walls and clear-cut character silhouettes. But this is not it. Retro first-person gunwaltzer Selaco is a messy machine gun dash through an office exploding with glass, concrete, splinters, and sparks. The glock-toting wreckage ’em up first hit our radar when it was announced as a modern combination of F.E.A.R. and Doom, promising both the fiendish AI enemies of the former and the satisfying blasting of the latter. Well, it’s out today. Bursting forth into the corporate lobby of early access with uzis akimbo, peppering the walls with angry bullets. Good, I say.

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You play the security captain of Selaco, a vast facility housing the last refugees from a fallen Earth. You’re being invaded; time to shoot. The early access version includes the “entirety of the Base Campaign and covers the majority of the game” we’re told in a recent news update on Steam. There are 11 weapons, plus a “Kit System” that lets you mix and match firearm attributes to create, let’s say, a frightening nailgun with a shotgun’s hefty spread. The big boasting point, however, is some clever F.E.A.R. style enemies, who shout out to each other, remark on your actions, and generally react to your behaviour in a challenging, pressurizing way. “The enemies will communicate, provide cover fire, flank, rush, defend and much more,” say developers Altered Orbit Studios. A wonderful promise I hope it can keep.

The shooter has been designed using GZDoom, a source port of great-great-grandaddy shooter Doom, which is still enjoying the attention of modders and mappers to this day. But Altered Orbit have gone much farther than mere tinkering, pushing GZDoom to lunatic extremes. As a casual dabbler in Quake mapping I can only look at the disintegrating props and smoking rubble of Selaco with a kind of terrified awe. It is, in more ways than one, a hardcore FPS. For one thing, it’s releasing with a bonus difficulty mode “designed to make Selaco nearly impossible.” Gauntlet thrown, folks.

“There are still many ideas we want to explore, systems we want to flesh out, and game modes we want to add to make it even more replayable,” say the devs, talking about the decision to launch into early access. “With our roots being in video game modding, we feel perfectly comfortable releasing something big and making it bigger over time at our own pace.”

Heck. It’s been a decent few months for boomer shooters. Phantom Fury was another setpiece FPS inspired by Half-Life era blastin’, and Mullet Mad Jack was and ultra-stylish corridor crash, according to Ed’s review. We might be reaching a point of retroshoot saturation but, if I’m honest, one more homage to F.E.A.R. will not go amiss. Trepang2 came out last year with the same love for the much-lauded 2005 psychological bulletdrama, and we quite liked that too. “Oh, I do enjoy shooting these faces!” wrote Alice O (RPS in peace) in her review. For fans of this type of game it truly has been good eatin’. You can pick up Selaco on Steam for £21/$25.

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