31, 1999 (USA)
> Utilizing the Windows CE operating system, Armada is Metro3D's first
effort for the Uberconsole. It's a tough game to categorize, because
it has elements from a lot of games. I would say it combines the
melee and strategy aspects of Star Control (Genesis), the
RPG and coordinate system of Starflight (Genesis), and the
non-stop shooting action of Sinistar (Arcade, Saturn).
Basically, you are given various missions to complete, like destroying
an Armada capital ship, or delivering supplies. Along the way, you
can also help allied formations that request your assistance (as a side
mission). All these activities earn money, gain experience points,
upgrade your level, and upgrade your ship (once you return home).
In a world of copies and sequels, Armada is a refreshing hybrid to add
to the Uberconsole's quickly expanding library.
> Armada's graphics aren't the most technically advanced for a Dreamcast
game, but considering the genre, they're very good. You spend your
time in space stations, planet atmospheres, and deep space. As you
know, space is three dimensional. However, Armada represents space
on a single plane of flight with the ability to descend into planets (also
a single plane). This is good, because your tactical situation is
much easier to assess this way when compared to a fully 3D environment
with a first/third person view. At any rate, what you see is completely
rendered in 3D polygon beauty.
> Each of the 6 races has different ships, and the Armada (the enemy) has
tons of different ships including fighters, capital ships, and phase change
capable vessels. The weapons are represented by balls of energy,
electric bolts, laser beams, and gigantic explosions (power pod).
Once you've successfully destroyed an enemy vessel, be prepared for a glorious
lighted explosion. When moving from place to place, you'll use warp
drive which is shown by speed and the blurring stars (a cool effect).
> You start the game on the Allied planet, which is your base of operations,
information, repair/reloading, and receiving missions. Armada offers
complete freedom of movement throughout the galaxy. Space stations
have shops with various items to purchase, like weapons, shields, scanners,
and materials. The controls are steering, ascend, descend, warp thrust,
normal thrust, scanner, shields, power pod (smart bomb), and standard weapon.
Everything works great and has excellent response.
> The gameplay includes space travel (via coordinate navigation), talking,
scanning for power-ups
and status, space
melees, shopping, and arranging inventory. You are given unlimited
ships, but you can only lose three ships at a time before being placed
back on the Allied planet to continue. Earning credits, power-ups,
and experience is as simple as destroying Armada ships, completing allied
missions, and completing side missions. You can even enlist other
allied ships to help your cause.
> The music in Armada consists mainly of subtle orchestral melodies.
The volume is low -- making it truly background music. Nothing wrong
here, it just gets the job done well.
> The sound effects are quite good and include speech, laser blasts, explosions,
thrusters, monster shrieks (which the Armada makes), and various cues.
> Finally... a four player simultaneous game with a storyline I can
get into. Trust me, this game is no pushover so the assistance of
friends will go a long way to ensure your success. No two games are
ever the same, as enemy positions are varied. As mentioned before,
you choose from six races, each with pros and cons, plus individual ships.
The coolest feature is the ability to store and trade items via the VMS/VMU.
You can also take your saved character(s) and join other games in progress,
or begin a new game with a well-developed character! Long, different,
fresh, repetitive, and awesome.
> If you think Star Control, Starflight and
Sinistar combined into one game would be good, then look
no further. Armada features missions, power-ups, melees, and non-stop
shooting action. It's endless space shooting mayhem combined with
RPG elements. Get something different, get Armada!
9.0 | Graphics: 8.5 | Control: 9.0 | Sound: 9.0 | Fun: 9.5