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Old 04-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #1
MrFlibble
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Default MARS 3D - an obscure Doom clone from China

In a discussion at the Duke4.net Forums, a user from China mentioned an obscure Taiwanese FPS game called MARS 3D he characterized as an illegal "Doom hack". After several users expressed interest in this previously unknown title, he managed to run his copy in DOSBox (albeit not without effort) and recorded a couple of videos, now available on YouTube:

Intro video and self-playing "attract mode" demos
Actual gameplay

The game obviously uses a lot of content "borrowed" from other games from that time (notably Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, but also Warcraft II), however the engine seems to be original, as it has features either not found in Doom engine games, or features that the engine itself is capable of but they aren't present together in any single official game, precluding the possibility of a resource hack. These fatures include:
  • animated cutscenes
  • mission briefings
  • friendly NPCs the player can talk to
  • grenade and flamethrower type weapons
  • fog effect
  • underwater areas with visual distortion effect
Additionally, the game utilizes certain file formats for media (e.g. sound and music) that are not characteristic of the Doom engine.

The owner of the copy was so kind as to share the image of it (just scroll down the thread linked to above).

Another user also made a video of the gameplay.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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Well the fog effect was used by the Rise of the Triad engine, and the talking to friendly NPC's was a feature of Blake Stone, which slightly predated Doom but ultimately lost to it's power when it came out.
Up-Down looking was available in Heretic, which I believe came out before Duke Nukem 3D. Weapons similar in functioning and graphic effects to flamethrower, and exploding grenades, were also present in Heretic.

I guess this Mars 3D game pulled bits and pieces from different game engines and jammed them together into this, so hack is probably a fitting word for it.
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
MrFlibble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatty View Post
I guess this Mars 3D game pulled bits and pieces from different game engines and jammed them together into this, so hack is probably a fitting word for it.
By "hack" I meant simply taking one existing game and replacing levels and other resources (like what Chex Quest did with Doom). To do what you described though, those guys had to either reverse-engineer every game they wanted to take parts of code from (because the source code of no id Software or Build game was publicly available back then), or write their own engine that imitates respective games from scratch (which is probably the case).
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Old 07-09-2013, 12:34 AM   #4
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Being IT branch, games are often rated by their technical advancement, but the game does not have to make a techno-breakthrough to be good/successful. Of course we don't want crude products, but aren't most simple Flash/mobile games like straight from 1980s?

But speaking of the engine, Mars 3D looks decent, even if it's 1997. Strife used latest Doom engine as late as 1996. I'd give it a try, but I don't read Chinese...

It makes a difference if it's just a hack of somebody's code/artwork or an imitation of best features. The latter was always done in literature, movies, cars etc... Sometimes it's about combining the right ingredients. "Other game did this first, but we did it right!"

So this game didn't have official release or what?
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRS View Post
I'd give it a try, but I don't read Chinese...
The guy who shared it gives a plot synopsis in the video commentaries. Otherwise the language barrier shouldn't be too much of a problem with this kind of a game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RRS View Post
It makes a difference if it's just a hack of somebody's code/artwork or an imitation of best features.
The problem with this game is in abundant copyrighter resources that have been used without permission. The engine certainly has some unique, original features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RRS View Post
So this game didn't have official release or what?
Apparently the developers were aware of potential copyright problems (although I'm sure those would be easily overlooked on the domestic market) and did not advertise the game too much. Or maybe they couldn't secure a publisher and self-publishing didn't work out for them. Player Lin, who shared the game, only has this to say about it:
Quote:
The problem about this bad shit is "super ridiculously rare", and like I was said, it never sold in public, not like NS:Lot7P had sold in public, or even got JF's notice and put the Lot7P Demo on his site...

I just so lucky to got a copy of image file from someone had a copy because he lucky brought this game from a sales man from the company of developer in Taipei computer exhibition about many years old(around 1996-1997), and said they secretly sold this game for some reasons... [source]
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:25 PM   #6
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Still, if packed properly, I think it would be awesome underdog for our site And it not exactly usual freeware as you would call it... so yeah
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Old 13-09-2013, 05:24 AM   #7
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So... *cough* how does one acquire this game?
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Old 13-09-2013, 06:02 PM   #8
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There should be a link in one of the posts in this thread.
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Old 13-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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Thanks!

UPDATE: omg, this game. So great, lol.

Last edited by saibot216; 13-09-2013 at 08:41 PM.
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