Abuse (video game)

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Abuse Coverart.png
Developer(s) Crack dot Com
Exakt Entertainment (iOS)
Publisher(s) DOS
Mac OS
Composer(s) Robert Prince
Platform(s) DOS, Mac OS, Acorn Archimedes, AmigaOS, AmigaOS 4, iOS, Linux
Release date(s) DOS
  • NA February 29, 1996
  • EU 1996
Mac OS
  • NA March 5, 1997
August 13, 2009
October 11, 2011
Genre(s) Run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Abuse is a run and gun video game developed by Crack dot Com and published by Electronic Arts in North America and Origin Systems in Europe. It was released on February 29, 1996 for DOS. A Mac OS port of the game was published by Bungie and released on March 5, 1997. The game's source code, along with some of the Shareware content, has been in the public domain since the late 1990s and has been ported to Linux and other platforms.


The protagonist of the game, Nick Vrenna, has been unjustly incarcerated in a prison where the staff are performing unethical medical experiments upon the inmates. A prison riot occurs and an experiment goes horribly wrong. The people inside the prison - except for Nick, who seems to be immune - get infected with a substance called Abuse that transforms them into monsters. With the water supply in danger of being infected, Nick arms himself and fights through the horde to prevent this, and then escapes from the prison complex.


Abuse resembles a side-scrolling platform game. The game is notable for its (at the time) unusual control scheme: The keyboard is used to move Nick, while the mouse is used for aiming the weapons. The basic gameplay consists of fighting various enemies (mostly the various forms of mutants, who prefer to attack in huge swarms) and solving some simple puzzles, usually involving switches.

Networked play, through IPX/SPX, is also supported. The game originally had support for TCP/IP play, but this was not present in the retail version.

Active zone[edit]

To improve the performance of Abuse's graphics engine, the code only allows objects within a certain radius of the visible game window to be active during play. This means that free-roaming enemies and always-on mechanical devices outside the radius cannot attack the player, nor will projectiles fired from weapons that ostensibly have an "infinite range" continue their journey much beyond the edge of the screen.



Abuse had a very different storyline coming out of production. The update for it replaced the original introduction with the current storyline. The original involved an invasion by an alien species called "ants".[1] The player was a special ops agent, sent into their 'hive' to covertly destroy the aliens by shutting down the cooling system. This story was alluded to in a hidden section towards the end of level 14, where a large area, full of maroon tiles, can be found.[2]


On February 29, 1996 Abuse was originally released for DOS and Linux as an incomplete shareware version by Electronic Arts in North America and Origin Systems in Europe. The game was ported to Mac OS by Oliver Yu of Crack dot Com and published by Bungie Studios on March 5, 1997. The port was largely reworked for Mac, with the graphics partially redone to work better in the 640x480 resolution.

Source code release[edit]

Approximately two years after the release of the game, Crack dot Com decided to release the game's source code, as well as the shareware release game data (excluding the sound effects), into the public domain.[3]

There has been little development based on this source release, though it did allow up-to-date Linux builds and making the game work over TCP/IP. A SDL port of the game is available, allowing the game to run in Microsoft Windows and also in X11 systems in displays with more than 256 colors. The Mac version has been updated to run on OS X.

Later ports[edit]

There are also ports available for BeOS[4] and Nintendo Wii via Wii homebrew.[5] In 2009 it was ported to AmigaOS 4.[6] The game has also been ported to the iPhone/iPod Touch under the name Abuse Classic.


  1. ^ Nathaniel Krell. "Overview and Brief Analysis of Abuse's Plot". ABUSE @ Net-Mage.Com 1.4. Archived from the original (TXT) on 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2009-05-11. The Ants were fearless, efficient killers. The Unified Underground's only opening was that the Ant defense systems were designed by engineers too arrogant to consider the threat of an individual. It was enough to justify the covert Abuse Missions. 
  2. ^ Nathaniel Krell. "The Hive in Level 14". ABUSE @ Net-Mage.Com 1.4. Archived from the original (TXT) on 2007-11-06. 
  3. ^ "Purchasing Abuse". Archived from the original on 2003-06-10. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  4. ^ "BeOS Bible - Games". Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  5. ^ "Abuse Wii". Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  6. ^ "Abuse ported to AmigaOS 4!". 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 

External links[edit]