Have you ever wondered what goes on when you run your antivirus? No? Well, you should. It doesn’t just make your computer run slower, but protects it from viral uprisings that occur throughout your files. Their evil bits slowly integrating themselves within your registry and private folders. That’s when you really have to think about what you’re downloading. You give popups a second look before you click the red X in the corner and wonder why that popup looks like it’s up to no good. Checked your task manager yet for suspicious processes? Maybe you should be looking a little closer. Now that I have you checking your CPU for viruses, Retrovirus takes you into the action of working as an agent of the antivirus program. What is Retrovirus? It’s a freedom shooter reminiscent of first person shooters from the 1990s, like Descent. I used to be slightly addicted to Descent, and played it on my Packard Bell which had 64MB of RAM. And yes, it had a 14.4kbps modem.
There is a single player campaign and multiplayer as well as a challenge mode. For multiplayer, you can play via LAN or Internet. I wasn’t been able to join a match, because there weren’t many people playing and ended up shooting bots in the Deathmatch room by myself so I just continued on with single player. In the campaign, you are the antivirus program and you’ve just been dispatched to eradicate a new worm that has infected the system. It begins as an infected email file, but soon it’s everywhere. Throughout your mission, you find lost emails that give a backstory about your user. You'll read emails that chronicle her life, issues and spam. You slowly get to know each section of the computer as you join forces to clear out each area. It makes the fight somewhat more personal as it gets tougher. The Oracle is your main source of information as she guides you throughout the system. Objectives are listed on your screen as you progress through each area. By clearing each level of the purple invasion, you free up memory and can use it to upgrade your weapons and capabilities. The worm reminded me more of a purple fungal growth with annoying spores that love to let loose when you get near them.
I felt a bit lost not having an onscreen map, but you can use the Hint button to gently direct you to your next objective. It was helpful, but annoying when you’re right side up and the arrows are under you. The camera goes along with the movement, but it can throw off your vision if you're flipped upside down and suddenly hit an area where it makes you flip right side up. The ammo for your weapons is unlimited but powered by cycles and can only be powered for a short time. Cycles and health are scattered throughout the areas and are sometimes dropped by an exploded enemy. Scanning the area allows you to open ports and assist some weapons. You can hold the scan button down for a few seconds and release to point out the infection throughout the area.
I had something weird happen during a boss fight, where I somehow was able to glitch through. I kept shooting at the reaper and died, but when I reloaded the level, the objective to beat the reaper was completed. I was able to advance without having to beat him, and continued with the game. I may have used more obscene language for the other boss fights than usual. I simply didn’t care for them, since I used the same tactic each time. I flew around in circles dodging worms, defectors and the reaper while shooting all I had at them. Sometimes, I’d forget to cycle my ammo out and get stuck with a click rather than a grenade or laser.
Zooming past enemies and virus strongholds all while shooting was fun. I loved flying through a few times in a single area just to eliminate all of the enemies, because they sometimes follow you to the next area. I enjoyed playing this game despite its annoying ammo cycles and weird camera movement, and I finally defeated the damn hydra. Search and destroy the virus before the kernel is completely corrupted. Retrovirus is a great adventure and it gives you some insight into what your computer could be dealing with each day you use it. Maybe next time, you’ll give that email a second look or thank your antivirus for slowing down your computer to scan. I just hope that the community can join the multiplayer rooms more often. The developers have been trying to community play dates, so keep an eye out for their Facebook or Twitter pages for more information on available dates.