In fear of this being lampooned as clickbait, I will follow through with 6, not 5, reasons why RAD is bodacious. But first, an origin story.
I’ve been writing for yonks now (scientific term), and my priority has always been you. Not him or her, or even that creep watching you now from your webcam (it’s not the FBI, that’s for sure), but you and only you.
Alas, science is cruel, and that means no matter what I say, I might as well be dumping in a snowstorm as nobody will find or read it. Or the log. Therefore, I’ve opted for a new and improved review format.
Whether it works or not, my ol’ mate Google will be the judge of that.
Without further ado, here are 6 reasons why RAD is bodacious.
All this talk of the old school or old skool for the illiterates (I needed a spellchecker for that) these kids don’t know the meaning of it as ‘rad’ or radical was the coolest thing to say.
As a product of the 80s, I’m very familiar with the term ‘radical’, but nobody said it. At least in Blighty. It was reserved for stoners, skaters and Denver The Last Dinosaur.
Words like gnarly, dudish and wicked were what the kids were saying, us ‘cool kids’. Therefore, us BIG cool kids can verify that RAD is indeed rad, bodacious and non-heinous.
The kids in RAD can say whatever the hell they want as there are no stinkin’ adults to tell them what to do. In the RAD world, it’s a somewhat post-apocalyptic environment for the majority, a utopia for the weirdos. There aren’t many people occupying this world, let alone adults.
You see, the world has witnessed some extreme fallout which wiped out most of the world’s population. Over time, civilisation was able to rebuild, and through that reconstruction, they created the Menders.
Menders fix stuff. Their sole purpose is to help restore mankind and ensure that the air is breathable again. They were doing a top job, then there was another fallout. Society rebuilt again, as it’s pretty hardy, but when we join the story, the power is down, and it’s the kids that need to save the day.
Reason # 2
RAD embraces 80s nostalgia: VHS, floppies and hairspray
Stop laughing at the back. Floppies is the affectionate term for floppy disk used in a computer.
Back in the olden days, a lot of computers used these to store data before the introduction of CDs. If you need an explanation of what a CD is, get stuffed.
In my day, the 3.5″ floppy disk was common but before that was the 5 1/4″ floppy, a beast of a medium storing up to 360KB. Put your jaw back. Well, RAD uses these in-game to unlock lots of loot. Still, they’re a bit tricky to locate, so you have to explore the wastelands, or Fallow, to find more so you can unlock more chests and receive some nice presents.
The more common currency is the VHS cassette. These can be found all over the place and later banked to be used back at your base so that you can purchase items from vendors. It’s a good way to stack up on buffs or health as it’s quite scarce in-game.
RAD is heavily stylised and replicates the 80s quite well, even though the game isn’t set in the 80s. Still, the characters, effects and synth-wave score are highly influenced by the period.
Speaking of style…
RAD understands neon. Look at those colours. The filter effect is a bit iffy, though.
I know you’d never in your right mind dream of playing an emulator, but my good looking friend that isn’t me, has played emulators and said that that the scanlines are a bit like Retroarch or a bit like those old FMV’s from games like 7th Guest or Wing Commander. I threw those in there as I’m sure most of the people reading this will be familiar with titles from the days of the x486 Pentiums.
Stop naysaying about the effects and go back to the positives. I’ve not seen neon this good since Sharpies were in a 2-for-1 sale in WH Smith or when Laser Quest was popular. Surely you remember that? They were those dark maze-like play areas where you would think all your Call of Duty training would give you the skills of a top-notch sniper. In fact, your point of advantage would be a fanny magnet for headshots and double taps to the sternum. That’s right; there was a time when I was absolute pants at holding a pretend gun. Still am.
Reeling it back in, RAD has an awesome neon colour palette, so if you like your purple, pink and cyberpunk, you’ll be in your element. Speaking of which, here are three of my picks for similar coloured games that are fab:
They’re all cyberpunk-type games, and coincidently, I’ve reviewed them here, so click on those ruddy links, and it will give you infinite lives.
Reason # 4
You So Fine, You Double Fine
The attention to detail here is excellent. From 80s paraphernalia such as the VHS cassette to the sound of synths, the atmosphere in RAD is a delight.
Double Fine makes some great games, Brütal Legend also being a favourite, but ignoring the setup for the RAD story, I was a little disappointed with the development of this.
I expected more background info on all the characters and engaging a bit more with NPCs. Sure, each character in your safe haven has something to say, but other than a few side quests, there wasn’t much depth. The Elder was cool, though. It would have been good to see more of him. Not naked, mind.
Unless you like nuts and bolts.
The humour is on point, but the biggest highlight is the presentation, as I’ve covered already.
Procedurally generated. Go home, cartographers
Life is like a box of chocolates. No, it isn’t, it’s mostly complicated but on good days a cakewalk. RAD is like that; it mixes it up with procedurally generated maps – you know, like Bad North or Streets of Rogue. Hint hint.
Unlike life, however, the difficulty is pretty consistent: hard. The first world (there are six) gives the illusion that it’s pretty manageable. Enemies are frequent, but if you play a decent strategy of ranged attacks or hit and run with your trusty baseball bat, you shouldn’t be dying on the first world/level. Even the first boss is easy to deal with.
But get a little further, and the pace picks up quick. The likelihood of finding health is slim, so you have to use your tapes at a vendor to stock up. But as soon as you do, you’re either attacked or having to trawl through toxic waste to get another tape.
To say it’s frustrating is an understatement.
The enemies are plentiful though and look the part. Each has its own behaviour, so RAD doesn’t really get old in that respect.
As for the characters you play, there are eight I believe – I haven’t got them all yet. At first, I thought it mattered. Still, the random abilities you get mean that other than appearance, it doesn’t matter who you choose. You can select a new character by manually starting a new game.
Once you’re dead, you go back to the beginning with the same character. You can change to a new character if you like by exiting out of the current run. When you restart you have access to your bank of tapes, if you’ve been stashing them between runs, so can get a bit of a headstart should you decide to visit the vendors beforehand.
Additionally, you will respawn but possibly with a new mutation. New mutation you say?
Mighty Morphin’ Extra Torso
Unlike the Fallout franchise, RAD has your characters taking on full blown mutations. Fallout could never do that. Instead, it was insinuated, and poor old Vault Boy had to take the flack on that one. Bloody racist that is. Vault dwellers are such pigs. I should know, I used to work as an overseer.
Instead of levelling up, the more you’re exposed to radiation, i.e. by defeating enemies, your character mutates one step further. Although each playthrough usually offers a new iteration of mutation, I mostly got crab legs so that I could dig underground and ambush enemies. Another was a little growth appearing out of my back that could take the offensive, or do their own thing if I ejected them out of my body. Sexy.
One of the coolest mutations was having your head turn into a skull that could be thrown at mutants which would explode. A few seconds later, it regenerates. The only thing with that was it was slow to ‘reload’. Having a detachable arm that could be used as a boomerang or arm embraced in a fire that could shoot fireballs was equally cool. I mean, rad.
It’s a good addition to the game.
Not a reason, but worth noting. Not everything in RAD is awesome. I already mentioned that the video filter was a bit naff. Blurry even.
Sure RAD looks pretty, but in terms of gameplay the worst thing about it wasn’t the repetition or deaths, it was the difficulty. I found this a little too hard.
From the main menu, you can add a few training aid type perks to your game without being deemed a cheat. Some of these features are pretty cool:
- No damage from cliff falls
- Increased attack power
- Extra starting health
I switched them all on and still struggled from level 2.
What really is a kick in the nuts is you can’t replay the level if you die. You respawn and start over again, though the levels will be structured differently. Procedurally generated maps, I told you earlier. There’s a test at the end of this review.
There wasn’t any evidence of any slowdown for me, but the game has crashed on me. I forgot to screengrab it, but it was a black screen with something about ‘due to an error’.
I rebooted and had to restart the same stage again. Bugger, I was doing well.
So there you have it: officially licensed facts by yours truly, so that can’t be wrong, can it? It doesn’t matter. The point being, I believe that all of the above is factually true. If you don’t agree, I guess I’ll be crying myself to sleep.
While I’ve revamped the review layout, I’m still shying away from a rating system as I still don’t entirely believe in it. If I go and give this a 4 out of 5, you might say
“No way! This is easily a 9.63.”
“No your wrong brah. This game sux, and so do you.”
To which I reply:
“You’re entitled to your opinion, as am I. This is a buyer’s guide from my perspective, and if you don’t agree with it, then that’s unfortunate.
However, I opt-out of giving it a score and hope that my write up provides enough transparency if I think something is good or not.
Also, you suck, and so does your dad”.
I don’t mean that last bit, but everyone’s been saying it. It was on the internet.
In conclusion to that fantabulous rhetoric above, RAD gets a thumbs up from me, but be forewarned that it’s a permadeath vehicle which can be a bit of a ballache. Also, the graphics are a bit ropey at times. I don’t know if it’s just the filter effects they use or whether the Switch was having an episode.
Repetitive gameplay, ‘meh’ main character models and permadeath aren’t really the selling points, but RAD is still fun. It’s a straight-into-action-shooter that has a good range of loot and levels if you like old school games like this.
Sure, RAD is a fun shooter with RPG elements, but like the word bodacious, it’s a little dated, other than being a rouge-like which most games are these days <yawn>. I would have liked a multiplayer option. I won’t waste your time with the online side of things as I didn’t bother – a leaderboard and daily challenge. Unlocking everything is my priority.
I reckon I misinterpreted it a bit as was expecting an open-world type game. Perhaps I should have done my research. RAD isn’t bad, it’s just not what I had hoped it would be.
It’s still worthy of your time if you’re up for a little repetition and more deaths than a lemming convention during Groundhog Day.