Armada could be said to be 2 parts Asteroids & 1 part Populous. Unfortunately, it's not quite the sum of its parts.

User Rating: 7 | Armada DC
Overview: No genre goes back as far as the shooter. The first computer game, the 2 player Space War, was a shooter, with subsequent titles, such as the classic Asteroids, being more complete versions of that original concept. In many ways, Armada could be seen as a successor to those two titles. Indeed, control is handled much the same way, as is the perspective, but Metro3D intended for it to be much more. In essence, Armada could be said to be 2 parts Asteroids & 1 part Populous. If this is the combination Metro3D was going for, they did not entirely succeed.

Graphics: There is nothing all that spectacular here. While everything looks very crisp and clean, nothing ever really looks quite good enough to impress the fact upon you that you're playing a Dreamcast game. There's nothing here that couldn't be done on the Playstation, albeit with a bit of texture warping. That said, the lighting and translucency effects are easy on the eyes, and the textures are clean. Add to that the fact that there are quite a few enemies on-screen at any given time, and you have a game that looks good, even if it doesn't exactly tax the Dreamcast hardware.

Sound: Armada has an adequate sound package. The music is quite good, consisting of the usual orchestral science-fiction scores, that stack up quite well. Whether you complete a mission, get your ship upgraded or get defeated in space (at which time you're transported back to Earth) you are awarded with appropriate music, fitting each particular mood, as the soundtrack tries its best to give the game an epic feel. Voice acting is also quite competent, and in most cases sounds better than 90% of the B-Movie dialogue most companies seem to be going for (probably by accident). As far as the usual bells and whistles, there all there too. Explosions, weapons, alien screams, etc. all sound very good, not to mention quite loud. Another invaluable aspect is that allies can and will make themselves known, at which point you can choose whether or not to assist them in their mission (you will be awarded appropriately with a sum of credits). Whenever you manage to get the audio aspects of a game to assist in the actual gameplay, rather than just supply a mood, you know you've done something right. Armada delivers on both counts.

Control: Armada's controls are simple and straightforward. You use the Analog stick to rotate your ship, and the analog triggers for acceleration (energy-draining warp engines, or standard sub-light engines). The D-Pad also is used, but not for out and out control. By pressing down on the D-Pad over an appropriate site (planet, space station, etc.), you will enter other areas for combat, or in the case of Earth, refuel and rearm your Power Pods (smart bombs). Pressing up on the D-Pad while in these sites will of course cause you to blast back out into space. While the system quickly becomes second nature, and is never too cumbersome to drain from the game, the amount of actions is probably a bit too limited (scan/converse, shoot, smart bomb, accelerate) for a game trying to be a "Shooter RPG."

Gameplay/Theme: Armada falls a bit short in this department. While not a bad game by any means, the promise of a "Shooter RPG" seems to get hopes up a little too high, because when all is said and done, Armada is basically just an overhead, mission-based shooter with a few elements of role-playing, such as conversing with NPC's and levelling-up thrown in for good measure. The multiplayer aspects of the game add some much-needed life into a game that can get extremely repetitive rather quickly, but oftentimes it also can become frustrating when you have players who choose not to cooperate. Another downer is the open-ended gameplay, because as soon as every mission is completed, you basically have nothing more to do, and it seems more like a way to cheat the player out of a proper ending, than a "feature." As a shooter alone, Armada would have been a passable title, but throw the letters "RPG" in there, and you have a game that cannot possibly live up to the hype.

Overall: 7.0 Armada, if a bit of a let down, was and is a good idea in concept, if falls a bit short in execution. Don't get me wrong, Armada is an enjoyable game, especially if you like shooters, but it simply doesn't deliver the role-playing experience Metro3D seemed to promise. Multiplayer is a nice touch, when used properly, but the open-ended game cheats the avid gamer who completes the game, from a more fulfilling experience. As it is, Armada is a welcome, if somewhat disappointing addition to the US Dreamcast library.

Final Grade: 72%