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Who games on Linux? #0: HROT

HROT is a boomer shooter taking after the same style as Chasm: The Rift. It is an enjoyable FPS with the brown aesthetic of Soviet Czechoslovakia. It is also software rendered, giving it a unique appearance.

Game info

- Name: HROT

- Genre: Boomer Shooter

- Games most like it in my experience: Quake, Dusk

- Demo: It has a demo on Steam, go play it. It uses V0.2.9

- Linux: It works. Needs an additional commandline to run with audio. Command line argument is

WINEDLLOVERRIDES="openal32=b" %command%


This weekend, I purchased and completed all of Episode 1 of HROT. A fascinating game that nails the boomer shooter genre pretty well- despite some issues. I will say firstly, it runs well under Linux, but with the Software Renderer you do run into some framerate issues every now and then. I don't know if there will be a Linux-only version in the future, I certainly do hope there will be one as it will be very interesting.

Anyway the issues I found with the game? Firstly, the sound effects. A great deal of the sound effects aren't suitably meaty. Secondly, the "Super Shotgun"(I say in quotes as I don't know its proper name in the game), is great, but it has an issue with the model where it violates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. It also is a bit too strong in the game, which leaves the normal shotgun retired by the time you get it unless you run low on ammunition(which doesn't happen for your bread and butter Shotgun ammo).

Now that I listed my gripes with the game, lets get into what's weird that may irritate some people. Firstly, it's very brown. Really brown. This isn't an issue to me, but it may be an issue to people who the constant monotone brownness of everything isn't interesting. Despite this, brownness which some may think is a parody of Quake, I think it's for the purposes of aesthetic and ambience, setting the game as very brutalistic much like the architecture of the same name. Oh and god-damn! That's a lot of sewer levels or levels with sewers.

In fact, the 2 games this reminds me most of, are STALKER and Quake, but the movement is not at all Quake-like. There's no bunny hopping or rocket jumping or anything hyper fast of the sort. It's all relatively toned down. The STALKER influences are definitely from its russian influences. I say Russian influences, but from what I am aware, the game is set in 1980s Socialist Czechoslovakia. The tones throughout the game hint at some external event that changed things within the slavic sphere of influence(Likely chernobyl in this game's case), but it certainly makes a good parody of the Czech politics of the 1980s.

Moving on, the secrets are good. I didn't 100% each level, but there'll be plenty here for people to play. Some enemies in my opinion saw too little use or didn't seem to do very much in the way of attacks: the Pedros, little walking pig-like spitters weren't seen very often, but seemed pretty cool(I think there's more rats than Pedros in the entire game). There's also the Gas Mask Horse which saw only 3 appearances. 2 in the Castle and one in the final level. One of those in the castle will literally drown, so there's just 2. Regardless, this is just a minor gripe with regards to some enemies not being used enough and some being used a lot. 3 are pretty simple, you got shotgunners, SMG/Pistol users and a fatass police offers. The latter is almost definitely just a copy of the Ogre from Quake but the rest are pretty good.

The maps are also very well made. I only had to go door hunting a few times after I acquired a key, to find where it was used, that's the only issue there. It's certainly not like in some maps of Blood or DOOM 2 where it devolves into a switch/key hunt.

There's also a motorbike. I'd like to see a motorbike sequence, as in its current state it's not really usable. Maybe we'll get one in E2 or E3, who knows.

As a software developer myself, I will also note something of interest about this game. It uses its own engine written in Pascal, with both software rendering and openGL rendering available as options(though the openGL options looks ugly at the moment due to texture filtering). This is a fun curiosity as you don't see many games using Pascal or any non-C-based engine these days.

The selection of weapons are alright, nothing spectacular or lame. It's the arsenal you'd expect from any boomer shooter to be fair. You have a sickle(Not as a Dusk throwback, but because of the Sickle and Hammer). You have pistol which you can upgrade to be akimbo. You have an SMG, Pump-action shotgun, Doubled Barrelled shotgun, rocket launcher, grenades, land-mines, lightning gun and some other weird BFG-like gun. The latter I didn't get until the last boss and didn't use it. The lightning gun is like Quake's Lightning gun and is suitably badass. Land-mines are pretty mediocre, didn't use them much. Kind of mirrors my use of similar mines in Half-Life. Also Grenades are bound to right click. Weird change, I did accidentally trigger it a few times, but it's alright.

My final verdict on this is that it's a fun game. Certainly a change of pace from your classical highly polished boomer shooters like Ion Fury, or Amid Evil. It's quite inspiring actually, making me want to return to my game Quiver and rework the entire thing to be a Quake-Style variant of Teleglitch. It will certainly keep you entertained in its current state for a few hours. Give it a year or less, and it'll probably entertain you for a good 10 or so hours. I suppose Teleglitch also has a similarly brown aesthetic.

I'll leave this short issue of "Who Games on Linux?" here, answering that question with "I do".

Final information

- Played Version: V0.3.0

- Linux Compatibility: Proton-5.21-GE-1

- Hours played: 2.6 hours

- Will I return to it: Very likely if I don't forget

Published on 2021/02/28

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