Ah, Source. That venerable engine that’s the basis for so many of our favourite games and mods. Despite being a decade old, it’s still truckin’ and we’re seeing new things birthed from it on a regular basis. It has a lengthy repertoire which now includes a nugget of multiplayer goodness in the form of Fistful of Frags. It’s been doing the rounds as a mod for 8 years and is now available as a stand-alone game.
As you may have probably guessed from the title, the game is largely an arena FPS affair with an Old West theme. Games and mods of this type are not uncommon: the older among you may remember Boothill for the original DOOM games, while more recently Smokin’ Guns – a Quake III modification turned standalone game – has been doing the rounds in the freeware scene. Nonetheless, none of them have the same charm and polish that is to be found in Fistful of Frags.
It’s the old-fashioned, free-for-all deathmatch that we all know and love. Y’know, the kind that was to be found in the likes of the early Quake and Unreal Tournament games. Though one difference worthy of mention is the inclusion of a “notoriety” system, which rewards players with points depending on how they kill and how long they can maintain kill streaks. Another difference is measuring your weight: while it may sound like the bane of all you figure-watchers out there, it’s just a method of determining how many weapons you may carry before being slowed down to a crawl.
Extra consideration has been put forth in how the weapons function. In order to stay true to the realities of 19th-century ballistics, guns deliberately take a lot of time to reload and must be triggered manually. Players will have to accept that they will definitely find themselves up against an opponent whilst their barrels are empty, and they must be willing to make use of the assorted melee attacks that are provided; knives, axes and brass knuckles make close combat formidable, and the two former objects may also be thrown while the latter can be used to disarm your adversary.
There are a few drawbacks, though. Overall the presentation is great, but there are some notable sloppy spots in the models and animations. Maps are interesting and complex, but at current count there are only four of them and they got old rather quickly. The balance of the weapons and hit detection needs slight work, but despite all of these problems, it’s still a blast to play and it’s updated often.
The best part is, unlike other mods, there’s no complicated install procedure. All you need is Steam and you’re good to go. Get the goods from on yonder and be prepared for some sweet, old-fashioned carnage. Regardless if your frontiers are Windows, Mac or Linux, you’ll be able to get to shooting in no time. While you wait for your download, glance at this preview: