Review by V A G R A N T
"A Fantastic game"
Armed & Dangerous is the spiritual succesor to games like Giants: Citizen Kabuto and MDK. Its constant action broken up with some on-a-rail shooting and hilarious cutscenes. And it is, quite frankly, the best action-oriented game I've played since Half-Life.
Gameplay 9/10: The game is pretty straight-forward here. You play as Roman, the leader of a band of misfits trying to overthrow the oppresive king and find the ''Book of Rule'', which will grant them the power to do this. You run around in a third person perspective destroying enemies and buildings with your assortment of weapons and sub-weapons. The second half of the game has quite a few missions that involve a well-implemented jet pack that is much like MDK's glider, exceptyou go much higher in the air initially.
Well this sounds like pretty straight-forward stuff, so why is it so much different from your run-of-the-mill action game like Devil May Cry or the Lord of the Rings games? Well, its fun. The action is consistantly fastpaced and amusing with over-the-top weapons like the shark gun, which fires a shark underground that goes around the area picking off enemies with a hilarious animation. Other sub-weapons range from the standard-fare sticky bomb to the upside-down bomb, that literally flips the world upside down, sending all visible enemies into the atmosphere. The regular weapons are all very good too. The regular machine gun is the first weapon you get but also one that is never replaced. Sniper rifles, rocket launchers, a tuba shaped mortar; this game has absolutely fantastic weapons. I can't stress how fun everyhting is made by the excellent weapon choice.
Your 2 teamates (A tea drinking robot and a dynamite expert mole with dual magnums) follow you around providing additional fire power, and while not intrinsic to the gameplay they still add to the atmosphere and occasionally prove their worth with some cover fire or a well placed stick of dynamite. In additon to the great gameplay design the levels in which the action take place are brilliantly laid out. The action flows smoothly and quickly with no slow areas, and still providing a sense of non-linearity as you fulfill the objectives. Overall the gameplay is just fantastic and the best action experience of this generation of games.
Graphics 8/10: At first the graphics may seem bland or plain to a casual observer. But the whole game exudes style like few others (especially in the action genre) can. The game features some awesome looking models for the lead characters, as well as some great architecture for the buildings and villages in the game. Unorthodox would be the bes way of describing the game's style. Should be played on a good PC to really experience everything. The textures and animation are all good, but the metak textures in particular are amazing in this game, especially with bumb-mapping and pixel shading enabled, looks like Doom 3, oddly enough. The draw distance is also huge, allowing for good sniping and in general better experience, especially when blasting around with the jet pack.
Sound 9/10: The voices are excellent, Lucasarts always has amazing voice overs and this is no different, no character is mis-cast. And some characters, like Jonsie, the geriatric putrid-smelling blind man that accompanies Roman and the crew, are quite memorable. The sound effects are also great, a full-sounding experience. The music is equally impressive, a mix of orchestra and bag-pipes, this is anything but the ordinary techno tripe that accompanies most action outings, it is something far and beyond that. Truly excellent music provides a backdrop for the Celtic style of the whole game. Really a great job by Lucasarts once again, if its one thing they know how to do, its sound. This game is no exception.
Other: Something I haven't mentioned yet is that this game is hilarious. The cutscense are acted superbly and the gags work well more often than not. Some really great writing was done, and the characters of Jonsie and Q are an absolute blast. The on-a-rail shooting segemnts are good as well, hundreds of soldiers storm your walls as you machine gun and shell them with mortar fire. Bodies go flying everywhere, its great fun. The game is pretty long for an action game, atleast its fulfilling. It won't leave you dissapointed, although you will want more. There are a couple unlockable levels and multiple difficulties (that really raise the challenge) to keep you occupied. Oh, and the compression for the cutscenes is really bad, worse than TV resolution it seems. A bizarre fluke n the otherwise excellent presentation.
Overall:9/10: I loved the style and the gameplay. Lucasarts has a real winner on their hands, lets hope that it will build a strong enough contingent for a sequel. A must play.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/02/04
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