What was once old is now new again as Voidpoint and 3D Realms have returned with a new game called Ion Fury (previously called Ion Maiden). While Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior had spawned sequels and remakes using modern gaming features and graphics, Ion Fury takes a step back by giving gamers the look, sound, and feel of a game from the 90s. Playing as Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, players must take on the evil Dr. Jadus Heskel and his army of Cyber-Cultists.

While the look of the game may be retro there are many features that were not possible back in the day, including auto saves, improved physics, headshots, and more. The game is a fast-paced and action-packed shooter that more than holds its own with any of the recent entries into the genre.

While I had played the preview mission about a year ago, the full game did take a bit of adjustment as some things simply do not play like a modern game would. There can be some clipping issues, and enemy A.I. can be erratic – but the awesome array of weapons from your Loverboy pistol to shotguns, machine guns, chain guns, and grenade launchers are more than enough to cut enemies down to size. You will need this and more such as as the game throws lots of enemies at you. As you progress. they become more abundant, varied, and vastly more dangerous.

Ion Fury is filled with numerous secret areas and pop culture references, from the lines your character says to all sorts of locales and situations you encounter during gameplay. There are also some clever call backs to earlier games. I noticed the bloody handprint from Blood, the Ying/Yang symbol from Shadow Warrior, and Duke’s atomic symbol at various times.

The game mixes indoor and outdoor scenes well, including an academy, subway, mansion, and of course there’s a secret lab filled with all sorts of evil experiments.

The game is also filled with several puzzles, as well as a few very annoying jumps that had me cursing at their difficulty on more than one occasion. There were also plenty of long levels where you had to find alternate ways into rooms to obtain the key cards to unlock other areas and keep the action moving. There was a decent supply of health and body armor along the way, never unappreciated as enemies would either swarm or attack from hiding frequently.

As I played the game I moved past the nostalgia and became really focused on the story and the action. I was able to look past the older graphics and gameplay and remember just how fun this type of game was and how we would spend hours online playing games like this with friends.

Sadly, that isn’t an option with Ion Fury. So far, the game doesn’t have a multiplayer option. I had interviewed the developers more than a year ago, and at the time they said that multiplayer would be in the final release. They may release it as a patch or update later. They may not.

The game is affordable at $19.99. Considering I put in 14 hours of gameplay to complete the game, that’s a lot of game play per dollar. The game more than delivers, and I didn’t even find all the secret areas offered in each level.

If you are in the mood for some retro action, then Ion Fury is one that you won’t want to miss.

4 stars out of 5

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