Strife: Quest for the Sigil is a hybrid first person shooter and role playing game built on the Doom engine, created in 1996 by Rogue Entertainment and published by Velocity Incorporated. Uniquely amongst Doom engine games, it contains heavy elements of plot and story within the gameplay itself, supported by interactive characters with professional voice acting. Choices are given to the player through a dialogue system, some of which can impact the ending of the game. Among its other added features were hubs similar to those found in Hexen, an inventory, the ability to increase the player's accuracy with most of the weapons, an item that could destroy force fields, and the ability to raise the player's maximum health from 100 to as much as 200 permanently. Strife is the very last commercial game to use the Doom engine. Its source code was lost.
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..."
- ― Strife instruction manual
A comet struck the planet, unleashing a virus and killing a large portion of the populace. Many of the survivors began to hear the voice of a malignant god in their heads (also known as the Entity) and formed a militant cult known as the Order dedicated to its worship. The Order swiftly takes over the world using advanced technology which far surpasses that otherwise known, and, opposed to natural procreation, begins killing all women and children found. The survivors are forced to flee underground, while the men become peasants. The Order's rule is brutal and oppressive to the extent an underground resistance is formed. Calling themselves the Front (referred to as "The Movement" in the demo version), they struggle to free themselves from the Order.
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 changes the ending of the game. There are three such endings as a result, with only one being the "best" ending.
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.
Strife began as a project by Jim Molinets, Rich Fleider, and Steve Maines at Cygnus Studios, expected to be published by Apogee Software. When Cygnus owner Scott Host decided to move back to Chicago and cancelled the project, there was an internal revolt. Most of the staff of Cygnus quit, leaving to found Rogue and continue work on the game there. id Software helped the company get set up in the same office building, and helped fill out its staff with programmer James Monroe, a longtime friend of John Romero, and level designer Tim Willits. A new publisher was found in San Francisco-based Velocity. The project suffered a total delay of around a year due to this transition, extending its development from 1994 all the way to 1996.
Strife failed to gain traction in the market due to its exceptionally untimely release, hitting the stores between Duke Nukem 3D and Quake. Reviewers were particularly harsh on its "dated" graphics and level of detail in the environment. Still however, the game has a 71 out of 100 MobyScore, based on accumulation of reviews from its time period, so the decisive factor in its failure may have been insufficient promotion on behalf of Velocity, which was already in financial trouble. The added stress of Strife's failure caused that company to close its doors within the same year, leaving Rogue Entertainment in need of a new publisher.
Unique amongst Doom engine games, Strife's plot is carried out in real time using a conversation system built on the Doom engine's menus. A character's portrait may be shown in the background, subcaption text can be toggled on or off, and most characters include full voice acting. Characters are conversed with by approaching to within melee distance and pressing the "use" key. The player and character will face each other and dialogue will begin. The player may be asked to make choices, be offered to buy advice or items, or make a trade of one item for another. Besides these characters, various antagonistic entities such as acolytes and templars will also converse the with player - so long as he has not yet alerted them to his hostile intentions. These enemies rarely have anything to say other than gruff dismissal and the inane cult-like banter of the Order's propaganda.
|The Front||Beldin | Blackbird | Geoff | Irale | Macil | Strifeguy | Quincy | Richter | Rowan | Worner|
|The Order||Governor Mourel | False Programmers | Judge Wolenick | Warden Montag|
|Neutral||Keymaster | The Oracle | Weran|
|Civilians||Derwin | Harris | Ketrick | MacGuffin | Sammis | Ulaine|
Strife's enemies include the various denizens of the Order, all with suitably religious titles, and the army of robots they have created to guard their fortresses. While an alarm is not raised, the organic enemies will generally not attack unless attacked first, and as mentioned above, may even converse with the player. Robots on the other hand attack on sight, as they can tell that the Strifeguy is not authenticated with their controlling systems. Living enemies are particularly weak to poison and fire attacks, and are instantly vaporized by the Mauler.
Strife has multiple bosses. Upon defeating most of them, one of the mysterious spectres, who have been sent out by the Entity to possess important members of the Order and cause them to covet the pieces of the Sigil, will emerge.
|Monsters from Strife|
|Acolyte | Bishop | Ceiling turret | Crusader | Entity | Inquisitor | Loremaster | Macil | Oracle | Programmer | Reaver | Rebel | Sentinel | Spectre | Stalker | Templar|
|Punch Dagger||A katar-like dagger attached to the player's right glove. Its strength increases with stamina implants.|
|Crossbow||Can fire two types of bolts, electric and poison. Poison bolts are instantly deadly to living targets.|
|Assault Rifle||A standard automatic rifle with a high rate of fire. Initially very inaccurate and requires use of short, controlled bursts.|
|Mini-Missile Launcher||Fires small rockets that are less damaging than Doom's.|
|Grenade Launcher||Fires two types of ammunition, high explosive rounds or phosphorous grenades. The latter cause raging flames to spread out.|
|Flamethrower||Built from parts torn off a downed crusader. Immolates living enemies; less effective against robots, which take one fourth damage.|
|Mauler||A dual-mode energy weapon created by the Order; the weapon of choice of templars. Capable of instant vaporization. Its alternate firing mode unleashes a huge burst similar to the BFG9000.|
|Sigil||Also known as "The Sigil of The One God," a sentient weapon composed of five parts which is worshipped by the Order. The player must assemble it and use it to challenge the Entity.|
- MAP01: Sanctuary [registered version]
- MAP02: Town [registered version]
- MAP03: Front Base [registered version]
- MAP04: Power Station
- MAP05: Prison
- MAP06: Sewers
- MAP07: Castle
- MAP08: Audience Chamber
- MAP09: Castle: Programmer's Keep
- MAP10: New Front Base (replaces MAP07 after the Programmer dies)
- MAP11: Borderlands
- MAP12: The Temple of the Oracle
- MAP13: Catacombs
- MAP14: Mines
- MAP15: Fortress: Administration
- MAP16: Fortress: Bishop's Tower
- MAP17: Fortress: The Bailey
- MAP18: Fortress: Stores
- MAP19: Fortress: Security Complex
- MAP20: Factory: Receiving
- MAP21: Factory: Manufacturing
- MAP22: Factory: Forge
- MAP23: Order Commons
- MAP24: Factory: Conversion Chapel
- MAP25: Catacombs: Ruined Temple
- MAP26: Proving Grounds
- MAP27: The Lab
- MAP28: Alien Ship
- MAP29: Entity's Lair
- MAP30: Abandoned Front Base (replaces MAP03 after the Programmer dies)
- MAP31: Training Facility
- MAP32: Sanctuary [demo version]
- MAP33: Town [demo version]
- MAP34: Movement Base [demo version]
|Source code genealogy|
|Based on||Name||Base for|
|Doom II v1.666||Strife||Chocolate Strife|