Armed And Dangerous - Ntsc
Posted 02 March 2004 - 06:50 PM
There aren’t any games revolving around a ragtag group of rebels made up of a warrior, a robot, a giant mole, and a smelly, old, blind man, and if there was one, it’s wouldn’t be as good as Armed and Dangerous is. This is the second game from the relatively new Planet Moon Studios whose only other game was Giants: Citizen Kabuto. The game’s introduction doesn’t reveal very much of the back story in the beginning, oddly the manual reveals more. Armed and Dangerous takes place in some sort of alternate medieval universe as it has the medieval setting, but it also has guns and robots. The story is somewhat of a Robin Hood style one, as it involves an evil king and his oppressive army, lots of peasants and villages, and the group of rebels (your group) known as the Lionhearts who saves the peasants. Your main goal is to get back the Book of Rule, which is an all powerful book that you need to stop the evil king. Unfortunately, when you get the book back, it’s transformed by Rexus’ power in the Book of Basket Weaving, and you can’t transform it back without help. The Lionhearts consist of Roman, the warrior leader whom you control, Q the tall, goofy tea drinking robot, Jonesy the sarcastic giant mole, and Rexus, the smelly, old, blind man, with “powers”. You find out more about the story through cutscenes, which happen at the end of each level, and also happen to be some of the funniest moments in gaming history.
At its core, this game looks like your generic third person shooter, but it’s a lot more than that. In the game Roman is mostly running and gunning, but sometimes he is in a turret and defending a base against swarms of the king’s army flooding towards him. You’ll mostly find yourself busy shooting as many enemies as you can, while switching guns on the fly, and deciding when you use which weapon. The shooting is solid, and sometimes requires you to think, as to not destroy peasant building, or kill animals, both of which hurt your score. Unlike other games such as Medal of Honor, the turret based shooting missions in Armed and Dangerous are incredibly fun, mostly due to the sheer amount of enemies you must repel. You are not in some slow moving vehicle shooting a slow, boring machine gun at stupid troops, you’re stationed in an unlimited ammo turret defending against a literal ocean of enemies, which makes the gameplay that much more hectic and fun. In some of the later levels you also take control of a jet pack, which helps you get across some of the more massive maps much easier. You get various objectives in the game, some of them involve just getting to the end of the level, others require you to blow up something, or drop off peasants at their houses, which should not be confused with the horrid escort missions that plague other games.
The level design usually consists of a fairly wide open level, in a different environmental setting, such as a snow covered winterland, the tops of mountains, mines, forests, and many more. Despite the different environments, the objectives remain largely the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The levels are covered with enemy grunts, snipers, jet pack toting humans, barracks which release many enemies, missile launching structures, and even giant robots, which all serve to make your mission all that much more difficult. The level design and structure will change as you progress through the game, which adds variety to it. Each level also contains a pub, which is where you go to get health for you and your crew, get new guns, and more ammo. The AI isn’t the best, but it’s nothing bad, as you will sometimes see enemies dodge and use tactics against you. You do have help in some missions from Q and Jones y who provide cover fire for you. You can tell them to defend an area or defend you by the push of two buttons. Sadly, those simple tactics alone are better than all of the tactical attempts made by Brute Force, as they work the way they’re supposed to, and they work well.
The unique and varied weapons are probably the best part of the game, next to the frequent humor. The game contains the generic machine gun, rifle, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, and even a cannonball launching mortar, but those have been used for ten years, and hardly need an explanation. The first obscure weapon you receive is a giant corkscrew known as the Topsy Turvy bomb, which you jam into the ground, and hang on as the world turns upside down sending the enemies falling into the sky, and then falling back to the ground when things turn right side up again. One of my favorite obscure guns you will receive is a Shark Gun. The Shark Gun fires a shark which travels through the ground, and then comes up and eats an enemy, and then moves on to another. I just wish that there were more of these weapons as around halfway through the game, you don’t get any new ones, which makes it only about four obscure weapons.
Solid is one word to describe the graphics in Armed and Dangerous. They hardly utilize the full extent of Xbox’s power, but they look decent enough to pass for an Xbox game. The textures are pretty Dreamcast-like, and the color seems sometimes washed out and muddy. The characters themselves don’t look too spectacular either. There is a wide variety of well designed, creative characters, but they don’t look very nice at all. The draw distance and the sheer scale of everything going on simultaneously more than makes up for the lackluster graphics thankfully. Cutscenes are presented in real time, rather than CG, which allows you at certain points to see how ugly some characters really look. The graphics are disappointingly average, when compared to the rest of the game which is all above average. The best part about the graphics is the explosions which are lavishly detailed, and look great. Luckily though, graphics do not make a game good, gameplay does, which Armed and Dangerous does very well.
The sound in this game is very well done. Everything from the gunshots, to glass breaking, to wildlife, to the explosions sounds great. The footsteps reflect what surface you’re walking through, whether it be snow or water, which is a great detail. The music in the game mostly consists of what seem to be Irish ballads, but they all have a distinct European sound to them, which add to the immersion factor of the game. The voice acting is very British, as is the humor, which is good news for Monty Python and Mr. Bean fans. It’s clear the game is in a European setting due to the dialogue, in addition to the scenery. The game is loaded with hilarious moments, which is almost every cutscene and sometimes in game as well. Some funny instances in the game occur when you return peasants to their home and they’ll have a conversation with the life whom they’re returning to such as “Honey, guess what happened to me today!” “You turned gay?”. It’s rare that you find a game this funny thanks to real humor, as most games are loaded with unfunny, and just downright stupid things resorting to failed attempts at humor with stupid gross-outs, sex jokes, and other stuff of the sort. The game is genuinely funny, with excellent voice which just improves upon the experience.
The controls are great because they follow a formula that works, set up by Halo. They are responsive and fluent, which help aid the impressive gameplay experience. Since it uses an excellent and already established formula, it’s very easy to pick up and play. The controls have two settings, but my preference and the default are as follows:
Left joystick - Move
Right joystick - Aim/Look
D-pad left/right - Switch guns
D-pad up/down - Switch grenades
A - Jump
B - Grenade
X - Reload
Y - Action
L - Zoom
R - Shoot
White - Have Q and Jonesy defend area
Black - Have Q and Jonesy defend you
Start - Pause
Back - Nothing
The game’s replay value is put a bit into question, due to the somewhat odd choice of keeping this a one player only game. This game just begs for co-op play, and it would’ve significantly added to the replay value of it. It seems a bit odd with 3 characters (including you) going at once that this game doesn’t feature some sort of co-op play. Armed and Dangerous is average length for this type of game (10 - 15 hours), which is good, but more couldn’t hurt, since the game seems to be over too soon. There are unlockables which can be achieved throughout the game, when you pick up tokens, which add new levels and cheats such as big head mode. Unlockable levels is a good idea as they are very fun to play through, and more just extends the replay life. The game also supports downloadable content for even more levels, which is a beneficial thing, and can add hours to play. Even without downloadable content, the game is still a solid affair, with many fun levels that you will play again. The replay value is an overall good affair since it adds unlockable goodies as well as many new levels, but being more than one player would’ve helped even more.
This game is what Brute Force should’ve been, fun. Armed and Dangerous is an excellent third person shooter, that’s funny, contains many unique weapons, and is a joy to play. The gameplay is varied and thus doing its best to stay fresh. The unique weapons themselves are great and make this title separate from the rest of the genre due to their uniqueness. While the game isn’t anything special to look at, it sounds great, and is absolutely hilarious to listen to. The controls are easy to pick up and play, thanks to using an excellent control setup, which has withstood the test of time. The replay value is exceptional as well, and since the levels, fun factor and gameplay are so excellent, you’ll probably be replaying multiple times. Armed and Dangerous is a superb game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet it retains all the qualities that a good game needs to possess. I didn’t test any of the downloadable levels or secret ones, and even without those, this game was a joy, all the way through. This is a great game, that’s unique, funny, and a joy to play, and it’s sure to please anyone who enjoys comedy or just like shooting and blowing stuff up.
Posted 23 March 2004 - 04:28 PM
First impressions: my eyes weren't visually assaulted (that's a good thing) and i have a weapon I can use as a sniper rifle which I just love. I'm glad they keep track of how many head shots u make hehe
Killing more baddies, blowing stuff up.. woo hoo.. My favorite gun, aside from the sniper rifles, has got to be the shark gun hehe As I stated earlier I haven't explored this game deeply so I haven't had a chance to try out the rest of the weapons or different sort of levels.
I like the turret guns. Too bad all the ones I've used don't rotate as far as you'd like; they're usually facing away from where the baddies are coming from :\ I thought the level where u shoot a bunch of well... dots was interesting.
This game totally reminds me of serious sam. Only difference between these games is there's dialogue cutscenes and some semblance of a story with goals you've got to do.
After a while of playing I got bored with the game. The cutscenes sometimes are too long; like they are trying to be humorous in that monty python sort of way but it seems they're trying too hard to be silly.. failing miserably.
But if you like blowing stuff up with lots of people to kill with interesting weapons, this game just might be for you.
Posted 25 March 2004 - 03:09 PM
Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:49 PM
|QUOTE (pxpx @ Mar 25 2004, 05:09 PM)|
|i agree with the mag 3/10 there are many better shooters out there|
Thanks for your valuable in-depth insight.
The shooting part isn't so great, but the rest of it is excellent.
Posted 26 March 2004 - 12:44 PM
BTW, awesome review Barnolde.
Posted 27 March 2004 - 10:55 PM
Posted 02 April 2004 - 07:07 AM
|QUOTE (pxpx @ Mar 25 2004, 05:09 PM)|
|i agree with the mag 3/10 there are many better shooters out there|
Its not meant to be a shooter as such... more of an action/adventure, with shooting. I love the game, I've yet to finish it, but I've never played a game so much in a short perios of time as I have with this. I hope LucasArts throws up some more games like this.
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