Laura Truchon's "Pressed for Time" will explore the options for those who do not have a whole lot of time to devote to gaming, but need that regular "fix". Games that you can learn as you go, games you can start and finish while your mate is brushing their teeth, games that pass the time when the time is less than a standard television commercial break.

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind of day that begins a chain reaction of one bad thing after another that progressively get worse until you have a mountain of stress and anxiety built up. And this mountain is gradually crushing you until you are just about to give up and lay flat and accept it freely. Yeah. I've been having that day over a period of ... oh, three months now.

So, you may as well call me Miss Tapeworm by now because the mountain has pinned me to the floor and I was on the verge of giving up. But, I got to thinking. Life could be worse. I just need to find an outlet, a place to release all of that pent up stress and aggression. Yeah, that's it! Let's see... Yoga and Tai Chi? Nah, I already do some of that once a week and I doubt more ois going to help that much. Meditation? I can't keep my mind quiet enough as it is. Attempting to focus more right now is only going to make me go more nuts. Alcohol? Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream? Eh, one can only have so much escapism through drink and food before it catches up to the hips and butt and head and just makes things worse.

Yessireebob! There is only one thing left to do to remedy this stress in my mind and in my soul. It's healthy and fun! And I can do it before work, during lunch, or have a quickie at night!

The time has come to ...blow  ...things  ...up!


(You pervs! Did you really think I was talking about, you know, doing IT? Geeesh!)

When days like this roll around, it's time to turn to my DOS days favorite Rise of the Triad: Dark War, or ROTT for short. With as much  blood and guts and violence available today, I still find that ROTT brings me the most satisfaction when it comes to cool and deadly weapons and fire and eyeballs flying around! EYEBALLS!!!! Really, I'm not a violent person, but when you have a drunk missile waiting to be used and three bad guys standing around, how can you not get satisfaction from letting them have it? I get giddy just thinking about it!!! Body parts galore. Not for young children, but the game even has settings to tone down the gore level.

The irony here is that as much as I love this game, it used to be such a pain in the ass back on ye old 486. Talk about sucking up some time and memory and energy. I remember fighting with the software to recognize my sound card and having to minimize to the smallest screen just to get some decent game play out of it. But as time has gone by and we approach the 10 year anniversary of the game on nice new faster and shinier PCs, we can enjoy the game in all its glory without most of the hang-ups.

The beauty of the game is that you don't even have to go through every level to enjoy it. A traditional 1st person shooter, the game allows you to just go in full force and blow the crap out of everybody without getting too deep into the game. Very satisfying indeed.

Just in case there is anyone who hasn't played Rise of the Triad at some point over the past 8 or 9 years, here's the basic summary. Your character is a part of the High-risk United Nations Taskforce aka HUNT and has to go after a super psycho maniac in a really big monastery who wants to kill a heck of a lot of people. The game was originally published back in December of 1994 by Apogee and was often compared to the other well known 1st person shooter of the time period DOOM.

I always preferred ROTT because I just felt it had more sophistication. Some of the things that made it remarkable were the attention to detail, down to the bullet holes in the walls. You could pretty much shoot everything and get some level of damage out of it. There were 10 different Nazi-esque bad guys and plenty of obstacles to work your way through.  And let's not forget the huge gaming area on each of the levels! Of course, the additional fun came in when you could play multiplayer Comm-Bat games online, assuming your computer and modem could keep up with it. The graphics and the game was really decent for it's time.

Okay, that's enough of your run of the mill overview. You can find plenty of them online and one of the most common words used to describe the game is "underrated," which I can't agree with much anymore. The game has developed a robust following and I feel has earned quite an amount of praise, aside from the gamers who still call it a DOOM wannabe. There is enough uniqueness surrounding the game that I believe it stands alone quite well and can be called it's own game and not a knock off. Never mind that the plot is pretty non-existent.

So maybe you have ten minutes and want to unleash some massive destruction. You do fairly well at the game, but can't quite get past some of the puzzles or booby-traps. What is a missile minded person supposed to do? Seek the Holy Grail. Seek the ever magnificent Cheat Code. No Game Shark required.

I've utilized the cheat codes shamelessly and gleefully quite often while playing this game. I have no regrets. Unlike a lot of the games I attempt to play on current consoles, I don't feel I have to cheat to get further in ROTT. I simply do it to have some extra fun and to utilize all of the available goodies. The codes themselves are actually intuitive and easy to remember once you see them and offer a little bit of extra humor. Just remember the main magic word DIPSTICK and you'll be set to become invincible, get all weapons, change the weather, take a bad head trip, or even get a little extra furry in dog mode among plenty of others. I personally enjoy the ability to ride the missile. Stop it, you're reading that in the wrong context again.

The full version of the game is still available through 3drealms at for a relatively cheap $15.00. The current CD version is also called "Super Triad" by the company since it includes all of the original game levels, all of the shareware levels, 40 Comm-Bat levels, and few more extras. The page here also offers a number of downloads for anyone with the registered version of the game including numerous add-ons and the ROTT source code. Pretty much anything you want to know about the game you can find reference to it here.

I never thought I'd see the day where I began to miss DOS games so much, but I spent so many afternoons on the 386 then 486 while I in between jobs. They have their own special place in RetroGaming circles and fortunately there has been a nice increase in web sites supporting and providing some of the classics.

Some of the main DOS related sites only offer those games that have been released to the public as freeware or shareware versions of popular games including ROTT and the original 1st-person shooter Wolfenstein 3D and later favorites like Duke Nukem 3D (which is also available on from 3drealms).

Other sites tend to cross into that grey area where copyright issues come into play. Abandonware has become a well known term in regards to older games that are no longer sold yet still under the ownership of the publishers and have not been released into the public domain.

For more information on Abandonware and older or underrated games, one of the best sites and my personal favorite reference is . They provide in depth information and technical how-to's on playing these DOS games on current PC systems (which can sometimes be as frustrating as setting them up on old DOS boxes from years ago.) They also provide access to plenty of games that maybe didn't get quite the attention they deserved at the time of their original publication.

Here are some other resources to catch up with some old favorites:

Well, I guess I've gotten some of that stress out of my system by now. Maybe I can only set so many people on fire or smash through so many plate glass walls. It never takes very long to get out all of that aggression and nobody actually gets hurt. Win win all around!  But don't just play it because it beats any form of therapy. Play it because it's fun and deserves the recognition! I think I'll go eat some mushrooms now and relax.

For more opinions on ROTT, check out this classic article from  Don't forget to read "ROTT in Hell: The Article" which was originally published in 1997, but has some of the most detailed information on the game anywhere!  



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