3D Mark’s Fire Strike is one of the oldest and most common benchmarks in the gaming industry. If you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know that it features two hybrid rock-cyborgs fighting to the death. It’s riveting stuff, but is there more to this battle of wills?
As I watched this battle over and over while testing the latest Razer Blade Stealth 13, I wondered just what I was watching. Who were these robots? Did they have names? What were there motivations, and how did they get here? Could they feel pain? Or happiness? The internet refused to answer any of these questions, so after many slow hours of benchmarking, I created my own.
Editor’s Note: This story has been retimed as it was all I could think about while benchmarking Nvidia’s RTX 3080 card. Enjoy.
Our protagonist — let’s call her Maria — is alone travelling through a hostile world. The streets she travels are dark. She’s not supposed to be here. Out of the corner of her eye, she spots a sign — “only humans allowed”.
She huddles closer into her dark cloak.
There are only a handful of clues in the Fire Strike demo about Maria’s world. We know it’s populated by fantastical rockbeasts and robots. Despite this, humans rule the streets. Or perhaps the “Only Humans Allowed” sign indicates a society segregated by species, in which case, Maria might be a fugitive from this oppressive law. She seems keen to hide her physical form, so we can assume she’s a rebel in defiance of the law.
Her peace doesn’t last long, though, as she’s soon hunted down by a towering rock golem.
What crime has Maria committed? Perhaps she’s a rebel faced by an oppressive government regime. Perhaps she’s an assassin, hiding from swift retribution. Maybe she’s just minding her own business. Maria is clearly trained in some kind of subterfuge, because it’s not long before she’s whipping out her own swords and fighting back, revealing her robotic tatas and badonkadonk in the process.
Maria’s a bit of a bad arse, spending a lot of the demo pulling off some high-flying ninja moves that I can only assume comes from years of training as a metal bad-ass.
But the golem is ruthless and Maria is nearly defeated when she drops her guard for a mere moment. The golem flings her off a cliff, nearly sending her into the lava abyss, where I presume the remainder of the humans and the robotic lower class live.
But when all seems hopeless, Maria unleashes a mysterious power that blows through the golem, knocking him back and shattering him into a hundred pieces that crumble around her.
And with that, the golem is banished.
Where did this power come from? Is Maria some kind of ethereal being saving the humans from their own destruction? Or perhaps there’s a more logical explanation. Maybe I’m just descending further and further into madness as I replay this demo for hours on end. Does Maria’s story really matter? Likely not — it is just a benchmarking demo. But I need to know who she is, and where her power comes from. I want to know how this robotic society functions, and why Maria is a fugitive.
There has to be a reason. The truth is out there, somewhere.