Phantom Fury might not offer anything unique, but when it comes to satisfying old-school gunplay, it certainly delivers plenty of thrills. Following her escapade in Ion Fury, Shelly ‘Bombshell’ Harrison is back with another adventure that once again embraces an old-school shooting approach, albeit a few years further ahead in its presentation than her last outing.

Oh, and she has a bionic arm now too, which instantly makes her ten times cooler than before.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Whilst Ion Fury tried to replicate the original Duke Nukem 3D, Phantom Fury takes things a couple of years further with its boomer-shooter action. It feels more like Half Life (and, in some ways, its sequel) than anything else in design, both with the visuals and the feel of the gunplay. Of course, that would typically be seen as a good thing, and for the most part Phantom Fury really does feel like an exciting blast to the past.

Visually, it captures that early noughties vibe perfectly, with the varied sci-fi locales managing to… well… look like they’ve come straight out of Half Life. It feels lazy to make the comparison twice already, but it was the vibe that hit the most when going through the mixture of claustrophobic facility-like locales and the more open areas. It’s certainly not a bad thing, whilst some modern tweaks with the visual effects and lighting manage to add an extra bit of oomph to the overall presentation. And those somewhat blocky yet detailed character and enemy models? I adored them. I was a big fan and, if I’m being honest, I think I preferred this style more than the visuals in Ion Fury.

When it comes to the combat, Phantom Fury certainly delivers. Whilst the range of guns is impressive and spans across the likes of your typical revolver, shotgun, and machine gun to more ‘elaborate’ weaponry, Shelly also comes equipped with special abilities that ensure she is extra formidable in a showdown. It’s one of the benefits of having a bionic arm, right? Weapons bring with them their own unique touches too, with Shelly’s ‘Loverboy’ revolver from Ion Fury making a return and allowing her to lock onto multiple targets at once. Admittedly, the aiming could feel a bit fiddly at times, so abilities like those were handy when it came to getting out of sticky situations.

“It’s just good, dumb fun, and whilst it’s far from perfect, it’ll keep fans of boomer-shooters happy.”

My only real problem with combat was that it could feel a bit by the books. Nothing was wrong with it at all, but it never felt like I was doing anything that I hadn’t seen in a first-person shooter before. It makes sense in some ways, especially since Phantom Fury was designed to act as a homage to those shooters that came before it, but it would have also been nice to see it expand on the formula a bit and utilise some modern ideas to spice up the action. Whilst there’s plenty of excitement to be found across the set pieces and levels are well designed to offer an enjoyable amount of variety, there wasn’t anything that stood out to me as being particularly memorable or unique.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t try to introduce some ideas that weren’t so common back in the early noughties. Getting to upgrade your weapons and abilities is cool for example, whilst the sheer variety found in the level design will constantly keep you guessing as to what you’ll do next (although a bit more sign posting would have been appreciated). The amount of interactions you can have within the environment is insane too, with Phantom Fury full of surprises that’ll certainly catch the player’s attention. There’s no denying that the game has a lot going on, but it’s a shame that nothing ever feels too unique from a first-person shooting perspective.

I ran into a few issues when playing too, with random frame rate stutters the most noticeable. I’ve got a pretty decent gaming rig, so the issues seem to stem from the game itself, but they were problematic during some of the game’s busier sequences – not game-breaking by any means, but definitely noticeable. The difficulty could be a bit all over the place too, with some encounters proving especially tough (some enemies take a stupid amount of hits to die). Whilst I don’t mind a bit of a challenge, it could be frustrating dying because I’m dealing with bullet sponges, with the difficulty spikes coming from nowhere instead of being built up steadily through each level.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Phantom Fury might not feel unique and it has its technical issues, but it’s still a whole lot of fun to play. Once I’d souped up some of my weapons, I started to feel unstoppable, with the game giving players plenty of creative options in disposing of foes. I never felt like I was going to run out of ammo so the action always kept flowing, whilst the variety offered across levels feels like it captured some of the best bits of the shooters from the era. It’s just good, dumb fun, and whilst it’s far from perfect, it’ll keep fans of boomer-shooters happy.

Phantom Fury Review

Phantom Fury is far from perfect, but it still offers a satisfying boomer-shooter experience that feels like it has come straight from the noughties. The weaponry on offer is a lot of fun to use (especially when upgraded) and there’s plenty of variety to be found across the game’s levels, so you certainly won’t tire of the action. Just don’t expect anything unique, with Phantom Fury not offering anything that you wouldn’t have seen before.

It does have a few technical issues, the difficulty could be better balanced, and there were times when I got completely lost in levels, but I still had a good time with the game. It’s silly, it’s over-the-top, it looks great, and it features some great weaponry – it gets all of the basics right to ensure fans of the genre will enjoy this blast to the past, even if a couple of patches would probably make it better (and knock my score up to an 8).

Developer: Slipgate Ironworks
Publisher: 3D Realms
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)