Armorines Review

There are so many problems with Armorines on the PlayStation that to discuss them all would be like flogging a dead horse.

There's a reason why Acclaim has never brought Turok, its well-known first-person shooter series for the Nintendo 64, to the PlayStation. Why? Because the system doesn't handle the 3D world very well, and the company cares enough about the brand name of line not to malign it with a clearly substandard effort. However, that's not the case with Armorines, another of Acclaim's first-person shooter releases for the N64. On that console, the game is widely acknowledged to be "all the things that you didn't like about Turok 2 and little of what you did." On the PlayStation, it fares even worse.

What's it about? It seems that Acclaim must have noticed that Microprose had neglected to properly exploit its license for the giant bug-filled sci-fi film Starship Troopers for the console systems, because the inspiration behind Armorines is crystal clear. Though the title comes from a little-known Acclaim Comics property wherein the members of a military unit possess futuristic suits of armor along the lines of Marvel Comics' Iron Man, the alien race that you clash with in the game is totally dissimilar to the one found in the comic book. However, it does bear more than a passing resemblance to the swarm of creatures found in Paul Verhoeven's cinematic ode to fascism.

The inventive weapons, well-designed monsters, and challenging enemy AI found in Turok 2 are all missing here, and the only scripted events you'll come across are an onrush of monsters after you've opened a door or acquired an item. Remember the big levels in Turok 2 where you had to backtrack for half an hour just to find a key or kidnapped child? Do you recall how your enemies disappeared after they died so you didn't have a clear indication of whether you'd been in that area before? Don't have an N64 and haven't played it? Don't worry, both of those elements are well represented in Armorines, with a dash of poorly explained mission objectives tossed in for good measure. For example, in one of the Jungle missions, you're charged with destroying 34 alien eggs before they hatch. Expect to run around the level looking for all the batches for quite some time, all the while wondering how many you have remaining because the only indication of your progress is an open checkbox on your mission list (indicating you haven't completed the lot and likewise the mission). "What do I do now?" and "Which way am I supposed to go?" are questions that come up far too often in this game.

Elements that were bland and boring in the Nintendo 64 version are downright offensive here. But beyond the sparse environments, pathetic monster animations, and dismal soundtrack, the PlayStation port has a set of problems all its own. The game's control scheme is one of the worst you'll ever encounter. There are four configurations to choose from, all of them equally bad. In one, for instance, forward and back movements are assigned to the right shoulder buttons, the camera direction to the left directional buttons, and strafe to the square and circle buttons. And there's no analog support. It's true that the control scheme in Dreamworks' FPS game Medal of Honor took some time to get used to, but in Armorines it's the worst enemy you'll face. One of the game's few plusses is its two-player cooperative version of the main game. It's a nice gesture, at least, as the main game isn't very fun. A stripped-down no-frills two-player deathmatch is available as well, which is comparable to playing tag in an open field with blinders on.

There are so many problems with Armorines on the PlayStation that to discuss them all would be like flogging a dead horse. Simply put, it is not a good game. The quality level clocks in somewhere between Rainbow Six on the PlayStation and Superman on the Nintendo 64, two games whose names should be infamous enough for you to be able to put Armorines in its proper context.

The Good

  • N/A

The Bad

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