Archimedean Dynasty review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti, 03/16/97
Microsoft delivered a Deadly Tide of hype followed by a Deadly Tide of disappointment. AMOK was vastly overhyped by Scavenger and GT Interactive. Deadly Tide and AMOK were underwater Doom games which did not prove that popular and now we have Blue Byte's entry into the underwater game arena.
Contrary to previous entries into this race, most people should like Archimedean Dynasty. Since its release AD has garnered several awards, including 1996 game of the year from on of the electronic magazines. Blue Byte seems to be shaping up as a force to be reconed with.
Company LineDuring the 27th century, greed and man's lust for power lead ultimately to an all out nuclear war and the total destruction of the earth's surface. The survivors withdraw themselves to the depths of the world's oceans where they begin the painfully slow process of building a new world.
After generations of stagnation, human endeavor and activity have now reached a new peak. Gigantic submarines plow the oceans in the service of a planet-wide trading network. Yet as new empires emerge, the old human traits and power struggles return. Peace is under threat once more-and the future of mankind is in your hands.
You are a mercenary and take on missions for organizations of your choice, be they powerful corporations, the Navy or maybe even pirates. You may even choose to be a double-agent working for various groups at the same time.
You must work to equip your own submarine as you see fit. Of course, the better weapons systems are quite expensive in the 21st century. You'll need to make the right friends-and avoid all enemies-to successfully complete your missions. But exercise good judgement as all is not as it appears and everyone may not be completely honest.
You'll meet a variety of amazingly detailed characters and discover their true past. Visit foreign cultures, try your luck in the Malayan red light district or dare to enter the immense pirate fortress of Gibraltar. Immerse yourself in the action and watch it unfold under your control.
The Game, Archimedean Dynasty, is a challenging, action packed submarine simulation. Audio-fitted SuperVGA film sequences in cinema format with orchestral sound make you feel like you are a part of the action.
The game provides an extensive dialog system with which you can communicate with the other characters you'll encounter. You'll need to talk to the right people to get the right missions.
Equip your submarine with over 30 different weapon systems such as torpedos, water bombs and gun turrets with kinetic weapons. You'll need good weapons, along with your skill in piloting your submarine, if you are to survive Archimedean Dynasty.
Like an adventure game Achimedean Dynasty has an environment of a detailed whole world to explore. The advanced dialog system has some multiple choices and digitized speech which lets you decide the next course of action, and whom to trust. You interact with over 100 characters. You can get the information you need, make the right decisions, equip your ship, then take the controls and navigate to the necessary coordinates.
You have to deal with political elements, opposing powers, companies and religious groups. You can choose who to ally with but the choices have their consequences. Hints in the game and from the way they talk and act should help you to decipher who is to be trusted and who is not. Moving about is by mouse, where you click on hot spots which lead to other locations in the game.
Combat and exploration in the underworld is pretty straightforward with the similar elements of a cockpit viewport, damage on enemy systems and all the trappings of a flight simulator. Money gained from successful missions is used to upgrade your present submarine. There are two dozen torpedo types, decoys, a dozen guns, several shield types, and other devices that you can outfit the ship with. The combat simulator is very similar to a flight combat simulator with joystick control. Currents and reverse thrust are two differences however. Currents can and do carry the craft about without any controls being activated and Reverse thrust will actually allow you to back up.
In many ways the game represents Privateer the Darkening without the million dollar budget and star laiden cast. You can roam around and do what you like accepting contracts or not and you get to explore the entire underwater world.
A electronic notebook of happenings is another device that helps you keep track of the game. The notebook has a world map, a map of the local zone you are in, the conversation hints gathered, and also keeps track of present tasks and missions, just like a Might and Magic quest sheet.
The 27th century is brining in a damp day for mankind. Five hundred years ago, the nuclear holocaust killed all life on the surface of the planet and only those who sought refuge far under the sea have survived. Under the earth life does exist and man has managed to survive here as well. Man now calls the living part of the sea Aqua.
There are now five major power stuctures below the waves: Atlantic Federation, Clans Union, EnTrOx Corporation, Shogunate, and Tornado Zone. Each of the five powers is trying to achieve supremacy over the other powers and will pay mercinaries to fight their battles for them. You take the role of Flint, a mercenary submarine commander, who runs escort missions for convoys and other under water missions similar to those in a flight simulator.
At the beginning of the game you work for El Topo, who gives assignments at his Office in the underwater city Asylum.
AnimationGraphic frame rate can be improved by adjusting gouraud and flat shading, toggle perspective correction on or off, and even turn off or on some graphic animations.
Voice ActorsVoice actors provide the voices for the advanced dialog system digital speech where you can listen to the people you interact with.
Music ScoreA full original musical score pervades the game and helps to create the dark and suspense of being on the ocean floor waiting for combat, at other times the music adds to the excitement of combat.
Sound EffectsThe sound effects make up a part of the game. Allowing you to hear things coming at you cues you to respond. Many of the sounds are crisp and clear.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
ReferencesGordon Goble, Computer Gaming World, issue 153, April, 1997, pg. 86 - 88, 90%.
Kevin Perry, HAPPY PUPPY (preview)
Steve Wartofsky, Computer Games online (preview)
PC Multimedia & Entertainment (preview)
S. Puckett, All About Games
Frederick Claude, Coming Soon Magazine
Leandro Asnaghi-Nicastro, Gamesmania
Digital Entertainment On-line
Steve Wartofsky, CD Mag
S. Puckett, AllAbout Games
Ken Baumbach, The Cheaters's Guild, 90%
Shawn, The Adrenaline Vault, 90%
Chuck Miller, Game Briefs, 90%
Editors, Next Generation, issue 28, volume 3, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 126, 80%.
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