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Games I Own: Requiem: Avenging Angel

Posted on 13th Feb 2011 at 10:02 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

Joe Martin
Requiem: Avenging Angel is a classic example of a game that should be very well known, but isn’t. In fact, it’s more likely that you've never heard of it, which is odd considering that it was the first ever game to feature bullet time, while having similar gameplay to Jedi Knight. That sounds like a winning formula, right?

Requiem has more going for it than just a single feature and a passing similarity, though. It was also one of the first modern games to tread in Half-Life’s shoes; trapping players in a first person perspective and allowing players to travel back and forth through some levels.

Unfortunately, Requiem had a whole heap of problems, which outweighed these strengths and stopped it from collecting acclaim of either the critical or commercial variety. Firstly, the levels were incredibly boring to fight through and, while Requiem opens strongly with a few gory levels in hellish Limbo, it eventually descends into a blocky romp through generic sci-fi locations. The obligatory sewer section doesn’t help either.

Requiem’s biggest problem, however, is simply the subject matter; Catholicism.

Games I Own: Requiem: Avenging Angel
It's dangerous to go alone...to the blood bank!

Requiem isn’t a strictly, devoutly religious game; it has more than the usual level of violence, guts and gore. It casts players as a warrior angel, Malachi, who tries to sabotage the plans of a sect of fallen angels who have infiltrated human government and begun planning a war on heaven. On your way through this quest you end up slaughtering untold hundreds of souls, using both secular weaponry and angelic powers that let you boil enemies’ blood in their veins or turn foes to salt.

Despite trying to liven up the game with an injection of blood and bullets, however, Requiem always feels like it’s held back by its subject matter. Like it or not, religion just isn’t cool, meaning that the violence and gritty edges bolted onto Requiem feel try-hard and at odds with the rest of the game design.

It would be really difficult to make a decent first person shooter with a religious premise. I honestly have no idea how you’d do it.

Games I Own: Requiem: Avenging Angel
Possessing enemies and making them do squat thrusts is fun

Requiem’s religious veneer means it isn’t all that surprising that the game failed to find a market either, in my opinion. Generally speaking, you won’t find all that many teenage gamers interested in playing a messenger of God, regardless of whether he has a gun or not. At the same time, those who are attracted to the game because of the religious wrapping will likely be put off by the level of violence.

That said, though, I bought the game back when it was released in 1999, so maybe there was an audience for it after all. Of course, I only bought it because I liked the cover art.

I’d love to say that Requiem is an underrated shooter and that, if you can look past the religious trappings and hokey level design then there’s a solid and interesting shooter underneath. Sadly, that’s just not true – Requiem is average at best, despite a plethora of industry firsts and clever ideas. Looking back on it now my response is one of pure ambivalence.

Times Completed: Twice. It was a long, boring summer.

Random Trivia: Requiem: Avenging Angel was Cyclone Studios’ last game before closure – unfinished projects included BattleSport for the Nintendo 64 and a sequel to Requiem called Wrath of the Fallen.

13 Comments

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Pete J 13th February 2011, 13:42 Quote
I remember this game! It'll always stick in my mind for some reason, probably the fact that it struck me as very depressing. The game was also b*st*rd hard - most of the bosses required a few attempts and the final boss I couldn't do (my brother managed to finish him off in the end).

Possessing was good fun. Simply find the biggest human soldier using the 'out of body experience' and then go nuts.
chrisb2e9 13th February 2011, 16:11 Quote
was there a demo? i think i remember this game. of course in 1999 i was most likely too busy feeding my descent addiction.
Optimaximal 13th February 2011, 21:33 Quote
One of my favourite bits was the 'Too Salt' power. It was amusing to watch legions of enemies slowly dissolve to nothing.
Tyr 13th February 2011, 22:52 Quote
I quite liked the game because it was challenging. Story wise I didn't mind the religious background as it reminded me of the background to Vampire the Masquerade (pen & paper RPG). A lot of stories, novels, games, etc. borrow from well known religions as it is an easily identifiable background that doesn't need much explaining as most people will know something about it.

Powers were cool and the game was hard, I like challenging games and this one was very tough and long.

It tried to set some high standards and tried at a story but was not successful. Can think of a few other games in that category, VtM:Bloodlines being one.
mute1 14th February 2011, 02:07 Quote
There is nothing wrong with a religious background for a game, it's just that they're hardly ever done well. Usually this is because of a poor understanding of the subject matter and too much effort to make it 'cool', 'edgy' or 'updated'.
Dante's Inferno was a pile of dung, for instance.
And then there are the Japanese games with pseudo-Christian plots....... the less said the better.
Zurechial 14th February 2011, 04:46 Quote
I've been trying to get my hands on this game for years. I never got to play it, but always thought it looked interesteing after seeing a review in PCZone years ago.
SMIFFYDUDE 14th February 2011, 11:00 Quote
The only reason i've heared of this game if because it was listed in a "Creative Environmental Sound" publicity booklet that was included in game boxes at the time. I don't remember actually reading a review of this game at the time or seeing it shops.

Messiah was another great game where you could possess people. I love that game.
Th3Maverick 14th February 2011, 14:06 Quote
painkiller was a great game with a religious premise. never played this one, though...'99 would have been perfect timing for me, too, having just beaten Shadow Warrior (I was a little behind).
azrael- 14th February 2011, 14:18 Quote
FWIW, I loved this game. Much more so than Shiny's Messiah.
WildThing 14th February 2011, 15:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb2e9
was there a demo? i think i remember this game. of course in 1999 i was most likely too busy feeding my descent addiction.

Yes there was a demo. I got mine with my copy of Heroes and Might and Magic 3 that I bought years ago. I think because they had the same publisher, 3DO?

I can barely remember anything about the game tbh. All I do know is that at the time I had 2 demo's on my PC, this one, and Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, and it was the latter that got played over and over...
phinix 14th February 2011, 22:35 Quote
I loved that game! I remember I had Gravis Ultrasound card, sound it that game was fantastic! I had 4 speakers plugged and loved to keep them on very loud when was shooting with rifle. Brilliant game, but like someone mentioned pretty depressing:)
Repo 15th February 2011, 11:43 Quote
I definately played the demo of Messiah and wasn't too impressed. I can certainly remember this game but can't think if I ever played it. Such is old age
Hrodwulf666 19th February 2011, 22:10 Quote
I always wanted to play this, I could never find a copy. I remembered it a little while ago but couldnt remember the name until I saw this article. Flaws aside I would have just liked the chance to play it.
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