Review by Pilgrim Shadow

Reviewed: 03/04/04

A Decent Game

Armed & Dangerous is a decent game, well worth the fairly cheap pricetag.

Basically, this is a typical 3rd-person shooter. Mission objectives, sadly, are extremely limited, and fall into one of 4 categories:

-Kill X enemies of a given type.
-Blow up buildings marked by a bull's-eye.
-Blow up X objects using time bombs.
-Find X peasants and return them to their homes.

Making the missions feel even more thrown-together is the fact that mission objectives rarely have anything to do with the game's story. Often you'll see a cutscene involving a search for ancient relics, then be handed a mission where you need to rescue peasants and blow up buildings. Every now and then, you'll be handed a turret-style first-person mission where you'll hold off a massive army, which helps to break up the monotony somewhat, but for a game with only 20-some levels, it gets surprisingly repetitive.

The game offers some very fun weapons, including a quadruple missile launcher, a mortar gun, and - best of all - a land shark gun (!), plus an array of secondary bombs that includes the Topsy-Turvy Bomb (which turns the entire screen upside-down, making enemies fall into the sky) and The World's Smallest Black Hole. That's all well and good, but more ammunition for these might be in order, because all too often you'll find yourself falling back on a plain old machinegun (a weapon which may as well have infinite ammo, since you'd have to hold it down for more than a minute to drain it completely). Your two partners - Q, the machinegun-toting tea-drinking robot, and Jonesy, a moleman with double pistols and a fondness for explosives - provide you with backup, and you have the ability to give them some simple commands, but their AI is limited. You often are forced to babysit your troops to keep them from charging head-on into turret guns and masses of soldiers.

One of the more interesting - and subtle - features of the game is that after each level, a reward is calculated based on the amount of damage you've done to the enemy. Then, in the next level, the wanted posters all show the bounty you've earned.

Now, up to this point I've described the game in less-than-glowing terms. In fact, based on gameplay alone, it's probably not worth your money - it certainly brings nothing to the third-person shooter genre that wasn't there before (except, of course, the ability to use land sharks as weapons, which is a feature mankind has been clamoring for since the days of Pong). However, and I can't overstate this enough, the game's cutscenes are really, really funny. They aren't all gems, but it's well worth playing through the (admittedly short and relatively easy) game just to see what happens next. It's fairly cheap, as well (I picked my copy up for around $30), and while the graphic quality of the cutscenes could have been better, for that price, they definitely make up for the shortcomings of the gameplay.

All in all, Armed & Dangerous is a solid, but unexceptional, game with a hilarious movie attached at no extra cost. (Did I mention the cutscenes are really funny? Let me restate that.) It won't be winning Game of the Year, and it won't keep you occupied for long, but if you're looking for a cheap game with a lot of laughs and some decent action, it's worth a look.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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