Monday, September 12, 2005

Armada 2250: The Rebellion Review

Armada 2250: The Rebellion, developed and published by Walter O. Krawec Games.
The Good: Easy to learn, various multiplayer modes, can be fun
The Not So Good: Outdated graphics and sound, can be repetitive
What say you? A simple action-adventure game: 5/8

Arguably, the action-adventure game is responsible for the popularity of console gaming (see Super Mario Brothers as my evidence). Simple games where you run, jump, shoot, and solve were easy to learn and appeal to all skill levels. Armada 2250: The Rebellion hopes to recapture some of that magic, featuring an action-heavy adventure game where you, as a member of the U.S. Navy in the year, oh, 2249 (approximately), go around and shoot stuff. Sounds fun!

Armada 2250: The Rebellion has some really, really old school graphics. The entire game is played from the top-down perspective, and all of the levels are tile-based arrangements representing realistic landscapes. There are also very few animations for the characters; for example, death is a quick, abrupt transition from a standing bitmap to a dead and bloody bitmap. I’m willing to give leeway in the graphics department for games made by a one man army, but you won’t be purchasing Armada 2250: The Rebellion to justify that new video card. The sound is along the same path; none of the on-screen dialog is auditory, and just basic sounds of shooting guns and death grunts are heard. Again, the sound is not one of the highlights of the game.

Armada 2250: The Rebellion features fourteen single player missions arranged in a story-driven campaign. Most of the levels are short, and the game does not take long to thoroughly complete. Along with the campaign, Armada 2250: The Rebellion has some multiplayer modes of play, including capture the flag and deathmatch for people on a LAN or through Direct IP. This is rare for a title of this genre, and is greatly appreciated to extend the value of the game. It was a pleasant surprise when I stumbled across this little addition, and is good, quick fun to be had.

Each of the missions follows the same basic design: you must shoot enemies on the way to turning some switch, whether it is a computer or a different kind of computer. Most of these enemies spawn in the room you are currently in (how convenient that they can “beam down” into any location) and you have to use some cunning and/or strategy in order to defeat them without being killed. There is a normal range of arms at your disposal, ranging from machine guns to pistols. You can also engage the enemy in an assortment of vehicles, if they are present on the current level; these provide a little more variety in the missions. The location of your objective is displayed by holding the “C” key, so most missions it’s a matter of walking or driving to the checkpoint, taking out all of the enemies, and throwing the switch. You can’t complete an objective until you have destroyed ALL of the enemies that spawned, even if they run off to some random location and you have to hunt them down like the dogs they are. In order to assist you when cornered, you can call down super weapons once per mission to obliterate the enemy forces.

Armada 2250: The Rebellion is fun to play, albeit a bit tedious. There is not too much variety in the different missions, although you do tend to get more powerful weaponry as the game progresses. The game is not bad, as the design of the levels and overall difficulty of the game come in to play. The game can and does require some thought in approaching the different rooms, as running around with guns blazing will usually result in untimely death. It’s the slight tactical edge to Armada 2250: The Rebellion that makes the game enjoyable, and counteracts the sub-par graphics and sound. Armada 2250: The Rebellion is something to look for if you enjoy action-adventure games and don’t mind a slightly challenging game with archaic graphics at a discount price ($10). Those interested should check out the demo to see if Armada 2250: The Rebellion is right for you.