A review of Red Eclipse

Note. The high-resolution images of the game visible by clicking on the small versions included in this page are in high quality PNG format but for that reason their average size is over 2 MB.

Some years ago there was a good FPS game called Blood Frontier. Due to disagreements within the developing team the project died but luckily in the free / open source software world at least part of a project can be reused to create a new one. That was in 2010 Eclipse Red was born and saw the release of version 1.0 in 2011.

Red Eclipse has a very clear and simple philosophy as it's oriented to pure fragging. This means that players need to search for weapons but not their ammo because they have infinite ammo available and they don't need to look for medkits because their wounds heal automatically gradually recovering health. Red Eclipse provides the classic FPS modes such as deathmatch and capture the flag with some variants. These are multiplayer modes that allow you to challenge other players in the local network or on the Internet but you can play offline against bots driven by the PC.

A particular Red Eclipse feature is that in matches you score points, not frags. For a frag you can earn up to 4 points but if you would an opponent who is killed by another player you earn 1 point anyway. As a consequence, you should try to hit an opponent even if he's far away because you can earn extra points.

Mutators have become increasingly common in FPS games and Red Eclipse has several of them, well-presented in the context menu of the game mode choice with the explanation of each of them when you hover your mouse over its box.

The Red Eclipse package includes dozens of maps of varying quality which however improves with each release. The settings of the maps are very varied and range from the classical ones in castles, palaces and cities to those in closed environment, space and / or surreal:

Red Eclipse map 'Delicatessen'

Red Eclipse map 'Dutility'

Red Eclipse map 'Foundation'

Red Eclipse map 'The Longest Yard'

Red Eclipse map 'Ares'

Red Eclipse map 'Forge' with Vampire mutator

These are just some of the maps included in the standard Red Eclipse package but thanks to the fact that this game uses the Sauerbraten graphics engine you can also use that game's maps. Red Eclipse automatically detects a Sauerbraten installation and in that case provides an option to show its many maps:

Sauerbraten map 'The Carebbean'

Sauerbraten map 'Ruine'

Sauerbraten map 'Campo'

Sauerbraten map 'Hallo'

Red Eclipse is a strongly multiplayer-oriented game so there's no single player mode. There's a "Campaign" mode like in Sauerbraten but in Red Eclipse that's about facing a horde of monsters alongside a team of players. Of course you can play offline for fun on your own or to train for the matches against other players.

If you're using Linux, you might find Red Eclipse in the repositories of your distribution, for distributions that don't include it, for Windows and Mac OS you can download it from the the project site, where there's also a forum for those who want to find other maps but also other players to exchange views and fight them online.

The graphics engine is lightweight so Red Eclipse can run on computers that aren't brand new and / or not very powerful. Despite being relatively new, being derived from a previous project means that it's already quite mature so it's a game to try to alone or in company for those who like fragging without complications.