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Armada for the Dreamcast is an interesting space shooter in the style of asteroids combined with an RPG which is in the style of Diablo. The idea on paper at least sounds like a recipe for a truly awesome game but ultimately it's all about how all the ingredients are mixed and how well it all turns out after being fully baked. Unfortunately Armada doesn't quite meet the quality of excellence such a bold concept deserves though it may have been unfairly panned by the video game critics and generally ignored and left unnoticed by gamers at the time of it's release.
The back story to the game is that sometime in our near future humans begin to spread across the galaxy in order to help preserve their species should anything catastrophic happen to Earth. Over thousands of years adapting themselves in the environments of several different worlds the human species begins branch into six sub-species which are known as Terrans, Nomads, Eldreds, Scarabs, Drakkens, and the Vorgans. While humanity had found many life bearing worlds with ecosystems of plants and animals much like Earth apparently there were no other intelligent beings or civilisations to be found. That is until one day contact was established with a mysterious alien race that had construct bizarre bio-mechanical ships. At first this new contact was course for celebration but this was not to last as it turns out that this alien race was thoroughly hostile and bent on wiping out all the human tribal species from the galaxy. Having suffered grievous losses the six normally independent human species form an alliance together in attempt to survive this alien menace. This all sets the scene for the space shooter/Diablo style action to take place and the premise is a very interesting one overall and sets the scene for the action of the game.
Unfortunately the plot doesn't particularly advance on from this and you don't particularly play that great a part ion the story. It really just there to explain why you are in space and shooting aliens in the Asteroid style and buying various upgrades and weapons for your ship. This was a missed opportunity as a great story full interesting and so on could have been told. Also there is no way to communicate with the aliens of the Armada they're really just there to shoot at and remain they faceless adversaries throughout. Their motivation for wanting to wipe out the human race is unexplained and unclear as they apparently are going to a great deal of effort to do this. A faceless and mysterious alien threat could work if the human side of the story and drama was well presented but this is really just a game where you shoot alien ships in space, buy stuff in space stations and that's that. Perhaps the developers had in mind more of a Gauntlet arcade style game in space where plot doesn't particularly factor much into the equation but the quality of the material they had to begin with demanded they do something more with it.
The graphics are set in an overhead 2D style plane which given the given the premise of a Gauntlet/Asteroids in space is very appropriate. Though fairly basic everything is neat, clean and well presented with a smooth frame-rate and all the stars, asteroids and nebula are well detailed. The ships of the alien Armada look good as well, they are well animated with plenty of variety, different designs are encountered in different regions of space. There are also some nice lighting and particle effects from weapon fire, engine exhaust ports, shield flare and explosions.
Sound effects in the game are very limited to weapons fire and the same sound used for the explosions over and over so this can be repetitive. Not of course that there ought to be any sound in space at all but no space game will ever depict this accurately. Voice acting on the rare instances when you do interact with another character, generally back at your home planet/base is surprisingly very good. Again the developers missed a great opportunity to tell an engaging story given the quality of the resources they had to work with. The music is well composed with a grand space operatic feel very appropriate to the setting of the game though the number of tracks is very limited.
Armada is a very simple and easy to control game and will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played the classic arcade game Asteroids. Warp and thrusters are activated with the L and R trigger buttons, the four colour buttons of the face of the Dreamcast controller are used for firing weapons, activating smart bombs, scanning and shield restoration.
There are various human manned bases scattered throughout the game. Landing at these will enable you to purchase weapons and upgrade your ship. Money is attained from the bounty paid from each alien ship killed and completing missions such as escorting human ships to various points on the map and defending them from attack. Up to a maximum of four items can be used at any one time so you must carefully decide on the best combination to suit your style of play.
The play area is utterly massive and as you progress and level up your ship enemies and missions become progressively more challenging so even if there is somewhat of a lack of story arc or a character development or any real role-playing there is a still a compelling reason to keep playing and explore deeper out into vast reaches of space. Unfortunately there aren't really any secrets, extra, exotic items and ships, nor is there at any point a massive mothership to destroy or anything of that nature. There was a great deal that could have been implemented but is sadly lacking in this game. But there are at least plenty of planets and interesting locations to explore.
To conclude then Armada is a fun entertaining arcade style space shooter that while it doesn't deliver quite the experience it ought have done is nonetheless a fun game and is well worth a look if this kind of game appeals to you and you're not expecting intricate RPG plot which the game does at first give you the impression from the opening FMV that it has. Perhaps the developers had intended for the game to be a little more fleshed out than this but had to rush the game out the door for the time of the Dreamcast release as it was intended. A little extra time and work could have resulted in a truly great and unique game.
This game is very cool. 2d mabe even 3d not sure. Yes this is a RTS and yes it is a very cool game. The fact of the matter is No one plays DREAM CAST we just want a PC version. I played the game and I give the game a 4/5. The object of the game is to pick like one race out of five. Then you get a ship you fly around at lvl 1 and get a feel for the game. Then you gain levels 1-30 i believe its been almost four yrs since i played and I am sadend that there is no a PC VERSION. Well anyway back to the levels every five levels your ship gets bigger and more powerful. I dont think that is proper english but hey no one is perfect. So anyway The fact of the matter is the game has a slew of crazy Task to be done for multiple planets... Yes your in space and you only control one ship. I like this game because in the end you get a cool side kick ship that rocks out with you. WE NEED A PC VERSION PLS for the insanity of all Heck ya know what (Talk To X-BOX if you dont want to go to PC) this is my AMAZAING REVIEW good luck BUYER.
Armada is a cross between a space shooter in the style of asteroids and an RPG. The RPG element is not very strong, there is a weak story through the game and the normal experience. The shooting is in 2D, you have an energy bar which decreases as you shoot and if you use the quicker engines (it recharges quickly), you also have power pods which can be used in two forms, as a smart bomb that does damage to all onscreen enemies or as a shield that will recharge your armour. The story is that thousands of years ago Earth was invaded by aliens called the Armada, since then humans have been scattered and slowly destroyed, now six human races, diversified by millennia of separation, have joined together to fight back. There are 31 missions in the game which are either boss fights, delivery missions or go to point X and do something (eg a scan). The enemies are generated in real time and will keep coming meaning that the action is fast, different areas of space have different Armada species, each species is very different and individual ship types use different tactics. When enemies are killed they drop credits which can be used to buy technology for your ship like stronger weapons. The NPCs on the home planet will give you more power pods (max of 3 at a time) and repair you, they also tell you your missions. But you don’t have to do you missions as they come up, you can just go off on your own and fight some enemies or escort many of the ships that need defence. On the underside there is no end to the story, after defeating the final boss the enemies get harder but it goes on, this is annoying as you fight the enemies, are told you are doing well and then nothing changes, you fight indefinitely which gets boring. It also needs more planets and variety. Despite these shortcomings it is a good game that will keep you going for a while at least.