Title: Armed and Dangerous
Developer: Planet Moon Studios
Release Date: 12/02/2003
Intro: From the developers that gave us Giants: Citizen Kabuto, comes a new third-person shooter delight in Armed and Dangerous. The story focuses on a group of rebels, the Lionhearts, as they attempt to steal the mighty Book of Rule before King Forge can use it for his evil schemes. Throughout the adventure you’ll be controlling the leader of the Lionhearts, Roman, as you lay a path of destruction through 21 levels of running and gunning goodness. And along the way you may even get a chuckle or two from the games oft-hilarious cut scenes.
Presentation: The developers appear to have saved some time and effort by using a graphics engine very similar to Giants. Character and enemy models are fairly well done. In-game helpers and companions Q and Jonesy run and attack with enough animation that, at a glance, looks really nice. Enemy animation varies depending on the weapon Roman uses and the resulting damage they take, the result is very convincing. Explosions have convincing amounts of fire and smoke effects
The stages consist of a stiff but glossy landscape and building structures. Some buildings can be destroyed which, later, factors into missions where you must destroy certain buildings and avoid the destruction of others. Forget about those water effects though, yikes. And what’s the deal with the cut-scenes? I’ve seen better quality cut-scenes in Sega Saturn and Panasonic 3DO games. Perhaps it was done intentionally, who knows; at least the voice work is done well enough to help us look past this…shortcoming.
Game-play: Typical third-person controls, left analog stick to move and strafe, the right analog turns and looks up and down, and the sensitivity feels just right. There’s nothing clunky about the button layout either. Your teammates Q and Jonesy (when available) can be controller with the white and black buttons to command them to either guard a specific location or guard you, simple, efficient. The frame rate stays consistent, with little or no slowdown, even during some of the more intense stages later in the game.
There are three different variations of game-play, the most common are the ground missions with (sometimes without) Q and Jonesy at your side. Other missions you’ll be given a jump pack that lets you move across huge amounts of terrain quickly and hover over enemies, giving you an aerial advantage. And lastly you’ll be charged with the defense of more than one town from King Forge’s vast army, for those missions you’ll be placed in a gunner’s station, which plays in a first-person style. These missions are a thrill as you mow down hundreds and hundreds of baddies in a matter of minutes, this helps keep the third-person missions fresh as you look forward to the next city defense.
Fun Factor: With twenty-one missions to charge through the game takes a good five or six hours to finish the first time through. Your teammates Q and Jonesy are the one line all-stars, often taking pot shots at one another or hilariously announcing their boredom. The cut-scenes are the “meat and potatoes” of Armed and Dangerous. All are equally funny, some are even gut busting. Throughout the game are 21 hidden tokens, which unlock numerous cheats such as Big Heads and Big Hands, a nice distraction from the main game.
Overall: I’ve found Armed and Dangerous to be a fun romp from beginning to end. Every single character is unique, each providing different scenes of comedy gold or story telling, forcing me to play on to see the next hilarious cut-scene. If you’ve never played a third-person shooter before you may find Armed and Dangerous a little difficult, if you have some experience then you’ll find this to be the same “song and dance”. At least the overall objective of the game is different from the other third-person shooters it’s modeled after; there’s no blood here, this is a comedy, think otherwise and you might be disappointed.
This post has been edited by Shadowland: Jan 15 2004, 11:24 AM