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Armed & Dangerous Review

publisher: LucasArts
developer: Planet Moon Studios
genre: Shooters

PIII 750, 128MB RAM, 32MB Video Card
ESRB rating: T

release date: Dec 02, 03
» All About Armed & Dangerous on ActionTrip

Death to the Salad Eaters!

My dear readers, I consider you to be an honest and educated bunch. No, really! I do! And as such I'm sure you could tell me what the hell is so funny about a smelly old blind midget who'd dearly like to be a woman, flying through the air and French kissing a retarded heir to the throne dressed as a Rastafarian while little sheep float around them and flap their soft brown ears in excitement. WHAT THE F-CK IS FUNNY ABOUT THAT? And also, what in the bleedin' hell is so funny about a bunch of gardening robots that have been hotwired to act like 'Nam soldiers and defend all vegetables. Sure, they cry out "Death to the salad eaters!" every so often and pull crazy stunts just to save a petunia, but are those things really funny?! Are they? ARE THEY?!?!?

Oh crap... I just described what is all about in a single paragraph! Damn those people at Planet Moon stealing our thunder! (But don't get us wrong, the fight against veggicide is a hard one; we appreciate the help. - Ed.)

And now that I think about it, that bit with the fluffy round sheep was pretty damn funny... and that time when Jonesy's mother bonked that Indian farmer... Hell, there's no use fighting it, Planet Moon Studios has managed to cram more sheep, gay and bell end (tip of a man's beast - Ali G) humor in A&D than we've had on in years! It's really rare that a game would have me laughing out loud, but by God, I laughed my hairy ass off while playing this game. It's totally insane, but in a very good way. Sometimes, just sometimes it might seem a bit over the top, but that's what makes it special. This game's got more character than John Cleese in a cheese shop shouting at the Bouzouki player. The actual plot is flakey at best, but it clearly takes a back seat to all the crazy skits and wonderfully entertaining dialogue that makes Armed and Dangerous just as good as any animated movie I've ever watched. I'm telling you, people, if you're looking for a good laugh, Planet Moon Studios has your number. Granted, the style of humor in A&D is very similar to that of Planet Moon's first big title, Giants - the game is brimming with thick Scottish accent, just like in Giants - but I'm sure that I've never laughed as hard while playing Giants. Planet Moon went all-out this time, A&D is even less politically correct and it's just damn funny. It's the kind of humor we all love, cherish and support here at, and if you don't like it you probably secretly want to make love to Justin Timberlake. (I know I do. - Petro)

Just as the humor carries the overall tone set in PM's first title, the gameplay in A&D strongly resembles that of Giants. Once again, the core gameplay can be described as fast-paced arcade action played from a third person perspective. The way the main character Roman moves (especially with the jumper pack on his back) reminds me of how the tech savvy race of Meccs would fight the huge giant in Citizen Kabuto. You run around levels often accompanied by your two teammates: a tea-drinking robot by the name of 'Q' and a temperamental dimwitted mole called Jonesy. The three of you are known as the 'Lionhearts' and you're out kicking butt in the name of the oppressed masses. Your ultimate goal is to kick the ultimate butt and defeat the army of the evil king bent on unleashing the power of The Book of Rule. But where A&D clearly differs from Giants is in its gameplay variety - or the lack of thereof. In Giants: Citizen Kabuto, you had three races to play with; consequently, there were more enemy models, more boss creatures, varied action, and, most importantly, you had the multiplayer mode.

Sadly, a lot of that has been severely trimmed down in A&D. In fact, if this game were a shrub, Planet Moon would have the Shrubbery Patrol on their ass! (Better than Justin Timberlake... - Six) Because this is a cross-platform title, the designers have opted to leave out the multiplayer mode. What's more, it took me about a day to finish the whole game. Yes, I unlocked more levels of difficulty and some bonus maps along the way, but that was hardly enough to give the game some significant replay value. Armed and Dangerous starts off with some rather linear and claustrophobic game maps, which get much better as you acquire the jumper pack and get further into the campaign, but I must say the action never really grabbed me in that right way. The main reason why I kept on playing was because I wanted to see the next cut-scene. Seriously, the cut-scenes are so good they literally make this game.

To be honest, there were times when I enjoyed the action and it mostly had to do with the wacky, yet well-balanced arsenal. There's just loads of fun weapons to be fired in this game: guns that launch great white sharks that spring from the ground and tear enemy soldiers to shreds with their jaws, a trombone grenade launcher and of course, the topsy-turvy and black hole mines - one turns the world upside down and the other creates a black hole rift that sucks all surrounding enemies into its black void. (Just like our forums! - Ed.)

However, fun weapons and average (but not in any way flawed) AI can't really compensate for the sheer lack of more variety, both in terms of mission design and enemy models. I truly expected more outrageous bosses, and definitely more imaginative missions. There's like three basic mission types that keep repeating throughout the game: save a few peasants, mount a turret or just go around wreaking havoc. For such an inspired game in terms of dialogue and humor, A&D's gameplay lacks a lot more range. Not only have I finished the game in a single day on normal, but also I almost felt cheated when I saw that the very last mission has you mounting the same looking turret that you manned in like three or four earlier missions. All the while having the same type of enemies attack you that you encountered in the very first mission of the game. Compared to Giants, the five or six enemy types in A&D really seem feeble and inadequate. Kind of like Jonesy's testicles, ask Rexus...

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7.2   Good

Hilarious, very nice visuals, excellent soundtrack and voice acting, some really fun weapons;

Gameplay needs more variety, campaign too short and linear, lack of multiplayer.


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