Selaco is a phenomenal new shooter built on the retro Doom engine

June 6, 2024
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Behold, the beauty of destruction: as enemies home in on your position, you pull the trigger and marvel as the screen fills with particles, smoke and destruction… and as the air clears, you’re left with an eerie calm. This ebb and flow between the quiet and the loud serves as the fabric of Selaco, a new FPS developed by a small team and derived from 26-year-old technology.

The game’s technically in early access, but you’d never guess it – the included campaign has a lot of meat and the experience is impressively polished. It’s also more distinctive than most modern boomer shooters, almost a union between Monolith’s seminal FEAR, Irrational’s System Shock 2 and id Software’s Doom. It’s that latter point that is so crucial. Selaco is built on GZDoom, a fork derived from ZDoom, which itself was created thanks to John Carmack’s release of the original Doom’s source code in 1997. This makes for a fascinating game, with creative use of older technology combined with flow and design that we haven’t really seen applied to a sprite-based shooter before.

Arguably the most impressive aspect is the sheer volume of interactivity and destruction. Each level is packed full of surfaces and objects designed to be shot or interacted with, with the game inviting you to play with its dense environment by destroying smaller objects outright with gunfire or progressively damaging larger voxel-based objects. This is all accompanied by impressive and often unique sound effects, layered on top of the game’s soundtrack, which moves from atmospheric exploration to the driving beats of combat. There are neat visual effects here too, with fire extinguishers releasing powder that’s lit by nearby light sources for example, and there’s even the option to have destruction persist through loading screens. It’s satisfying to be able to tell where you’ve been through the trail of destruction that you’ve wrought.

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