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Phantom Fury Review – Fistfuls of Retro Shooting Action

Phantom Fury is another nostalgic first-person shooter developed by Slipgate Ironworks and published by 3D Realms and released on April 23 on Steam. I am loving these trips down FPS memory lane with the likes of Kingpin: Reloaded, Graven and now this game which takes heavy inspiration from titles like Duke Nukem, Shadow Warrior, and Blood. This game is more akin to the early 00’s shooters that started to emphasise more 3D models and environments than their sprite-heavy 90’s predecessors. Phantom Fury throws you headfirst into a whirlwind of explosive action and over-the-top carnage.

Taking place many years after her fight against evil mastermind Dr. Jadus Heskel in 2019’s Ion Fury, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison awakes in a new world, pulled out of a coma at the behest of an old colleague, with a new bionic arm. Tasked with securing a highly dangerous artifact, the legendary Demon Core, Shelly embarks on an intense journey around the US, as she tries to overcome her own past to save mankind’s future.

The game revels in its retro aesthetic and badass comments from Harrison. Pixelated visuals burst with color, and the environments manage to create a great sense of atmosphere. From seedy hotels in Albuquerque to abandoned military facilities in Los Alamos, each level feels like a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The developers haven’t skimped on the sound design either. The soundtrack is a pulse-pounding mix of heavy metal riffs and the cheesy voice acting perfectly complements the overall experience. Phantom Fury’s core gameplay revolves around its fantastic gunplay. The arsenal boasts over 20 unique weapons, each with its own distinct feel. From the classic shotgun to the more exotic foam shooter that disintegrates enemies, there’s a satisfying tool for every situation.

You can unlock weapon upgrades and mods, and your bionic arm can also be enhanced with powerful new abilities such as punch attack and an electric shield, allowing you to modify your arsenal to suit your playstyle. Guns generally feel great though for the first couple of hours I kept falling back to the trusty pistol you get early in the game. I just seemed to have more hip fire and pinpoint accuracy for distant enemies with the pistol. Enemy accuracy is crazy good at times and often got me killed as health pickups are few and far between. Plus, there are a number of explosive objects that caught me by surprise, so I had to use cover well. Headshots reigned supreme, as they should, so I didn’t feel like regular enemies were too bullet spongey.

One of Phantom Fury’s more interesting features is its interactive environments. You’re not limited to simply blasting your way through levels. Certain objects can be manipulated, like using a computer to unlock doors or taking a joyride in a helicopter. I loved booting up old PC’s and seeing the old green and yellow energy star EPA pollution preventer logo and booting into DOS. These interactive elements add a touch of variety, a nod to nostalgia of playing these games in their infancy and keeps the gameplay from getting stale.

Overall, Phantom Fury is a fun and nostalgic throwback to early 00’s shooters with some great wisecracks from Harrison and powerful weapons to boot. I loved the interactive side elements like old DOS computers and arcade games that breaks up the craziness with some nostalgia. Weapon and bionic upgrades offer a steady power progression and a solid gameplay experience for those who appreciate the genre’s roots. If you’re looking for a blast from the past with a modern twist, Phantom Fury is definitely worth checking out, as are Slipgate Ironworks’ other recent games.

This review utilised a key provided by Stride PR and Phantom Fury is now available on Steam.


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