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After the world as we know it today had plunged into chaos and destruction, it is in the vast uncharted waters, deep beneath the surface of the oceans, that what was left of humanity found a shelter. With the progressive depletion of raw materials on the Earth's surface in the first decades of the 21st century, several nations had started to explore ocean floors in search for new ore deposits. As the political, economical and environmental situations were getting worse, the construction of deep-sea extraction stations intensified. The following years saw the Earth's surface ravaged by climatic catastrophes, consequences of mankind's irresponsibility towards the environment, but the worse was yet to come. By 2050, there were over 100 conflicts on Earth with most of them involving nuclear weapons. The nuclear winter that ensued, turned the planet into a frozen wasteland where life could no longer be supported. It became clear for the survivors that their only hope was in the oceans, but it was also evident that the entrance of this new Eden, christened Aqua, wouldn't be opened for everyone. Not surprising, the poorest were condemned to die on the surface.
During the period that followed, it seemed that what should have served as a lesson had remained a vague memory. Several political and economical powers rose, pursuing each their own objectives, which lead once more to divisions and minor conflicts. After a period of isolation in which time new technologies allowing faster transports were developed, a new world trade quickly appeared. However, protectionism was still very tenacious, and new discords happened again. Finally, in 2650 at the Peace Conference in New Bombay, a peace treaty was signed by the three power blocks, announcing the advent of a new era.
After the Battle Isle and Settlers series in which the German developer Blue Byte showcased talented and innovative designs applied to turn-based and real-time strategy games, the company was willing to give the action/simulation genre a try. This is now done with a title that not only asked over three years of development, but also reveals itself to be a tremendous game. Although it can't be compared to any other games, Archimedean Dynasty could be seen as a mix of Privateer from Origin and SubWar 2050 from MicroProse; Privateer for the underlying plot in the game, as well as the mission system, and Subwar 2050 for the theater of operations on the floor of oceans. However, the comparison stops here, as there is much more to discover in the game.
Archimedean Dynasty (AD) starts eleven years after the signature of the peace treaty. As the game begins, you incarnate a mercenary pilot, Emerald "Deadeye" Flint, who survived an ambush in which he lost the ship he was escorting. Your first mission will be to explain to El Topo, your client, how it all happened, before you can scour the seas and have your revenge. On the station where you were brought by the ore freighter that picked you up, you will be contacted by El Topo's secretary via the EnCom communication system, urging you to head towards El Topo's Asylum. Once you will have talked to El Topo, he will give you your first assignment, cleaning a debris field around his base. Looks like you will need to regain El Topo's trust before he will take you in a more challenging mission.
|In the docks|
In the 60 underwater cities of Aqua, there are more than 100 characters you can talk to. Dialogues will often take the form of multiple-choice answers that will condition character's reactions towards you, so choose wisely and try not to make new enemies, you have enough of them! As you speak with people, additional pieces of the plot will be revealed, therefore speak to everyone just to be sure you don't miss something. Depending on the size of the station, there will be bars, docks, weapon stores, halls, dancing and residential areas where you can meet characters, but be sure to come back from time to time to see if there are new areas available.
Concerning the missions themselves, AD offers a great diversity and a progressive difficulty that walks the player from a simple routine to the nearly impossible mission. A few missions indeed will be very difficult to complete, but since you can always repeat the one you just failed, it is only a question of perseverance before you finish it. The particularity of AD is that besides the missions you will need to carry out to reach the conclusion of the game, there are side missions you can take or not as mentioned above. From the 60 missions included in the game, 40 are obligatory, leaving 20 at your discretion, should you want to earn more money. However, you will need to talk to the right person each time to get the job.
|One among the numerous bars of Aqua|
Visually, AD is like watching Sea Quest or Abyss on TV. AD's submarine landscapes can pretend to be the best ever made in a computer game featuring real-time generated graphics; thanks to the SVGA mode and to the realistic textures, the aquatic environment looks authentic. You will even see air bubbles, and also floating cadavers of your enemies once their ship has been destroyed! The graphics for the underwater buildings, other ships and structures (missile towers, gun turrets, controlling devices, pipes, etc...) are not left out with an excellent 3D, augmented with Gouraud shading and perspective correction. If only the game had support for the new 3D accelerator cards, it would have been perfect! Dozens of cinematic sequences will mark transitions throughout the game rewarding the player with aquatic scenes of a rare beauty that they can watch later with the movie player in the video options.
Written by Frederick Claude
Click here for screen shots.
IBM PC 486 DX4/100 or higher,
MS-DOS 5.0 or higer or Windows 95,
Min 8MB memory,
Hard disk with 35Mb free,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
VESA or PCI Bus Graphics card (Resolution 640 x 480 pixel, Hi-Color 65,000 colors),
Microsoft mouse compatible,
Sound Blaster family or 100% compatible sound card required.
Pentium 90 or better,
Hard disk with 30Mb free,
Sound Blaster 16,
Blue Byte Software,
870 E. Higgins Road, Suite 143,
Schaumburg, IL 60173.
Web site: Blue Byte USA
Blue Byte Software Ltd.,
22 Billing Road,
Northampton, NN1 5AT.
Web site: Blue Byte UK
Blue Byte Software GmbH,
Eppinghofer Strabe 150,
45468 Mulheim a.d. Ruhr,
Web site: Blue Byte Germany
28, rue Armand Carrel
93108 Montreuil sous Bois Cedex
Web site: Ubi Soft
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