After more than five years in development by a small, independent team, Gore should be given credit for getting released at all. A first-person shooter, it also has one interesting idea: power-ups that explode when shot, effectively eliminating the ability to camp them during deathmatches. Beyond these two points, however, there isn't much about Gore that's especially noteworthy. It's neither bad enough to elicit much scorn, nor good enough to generate any real interest. It's a just passably competent old-school shooter that sets its sights pretty low and then manages to hit that mark.
The single-player game is largely forgettable. Like Serious Sam, Gore is a conscious throwback to the stripped-down, fast-paced, generally plot-free action of Doom and the first two Quakes. Unfortunately, Gore is no Serious Sam. It's significantly less inventive. It doesn't look as good. Its combat is less tactical and less intense. It's shorter. And at a retail price of 30 bucks, it doesn't even qualify as a budget title.
The single-player campaign appears to be cobbled together from slightly reworked versions of the game's multiplayer levels, and it shouldn't take more than five or six hours to complete. It's a completely linear and straightforward run through a greatest-hits collection of commonly used shooter locales. There's a space station, a warehouse, a neon-lit urban environment, a dungeon, a Central American temple, a South American drug lord's mansion, an office, and the classic big, empty cathedral/castle with lots of stained glass. Bucking tradition, Gore also includes a Wild West town and a haunted mansion. This variety would have worked better if Gore's graphics were more impressive. The custom rendering engine produces visuals that have more in common with Quake II-powered games than more-recent Quake III and Unreal titles. There are no large outdoor scenes, and most of the action takes place in corridors or tightly bound courtyard areas.
Gore has around eight distinct enemy types, though some of them have multiple weapon loadouts. Most of them are traditional video game "punks." There's the karate guy, the spiky-blond-haired guy, the fat bruiser, and the leather-clad dominatrix. There's also a terminator robot, a guy in a robot suit, and a spawning, chain saw-wielding skeleton that usually appears in packs of five. The AI seems to be rigidly pattern-based: Enemies will run straight at you or stand back and shoot. As Serious Sam proved, simple behaviors can still provide an interesting challenge if those behaviors are varied and complementary and if the enemies attack in large numbers. Gore fails on both of these counts. The behavior mixture isn't well designed enough to promote much logistical complexity, and there are rarely more than five or six opponents in any given battle.