Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M.

a game by Acclaim

Platforms: PSXNintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Action

Overview

Join the Army! See the world! Wage war against interstellar invaders! Can you stop the Bug threat?

Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M., one of the latest releases from Acclaim, is a story about bugs, war, and the gimmick of putting characters into powered armor. As Private Tony Lewis (or Private Myra Lane for you ladies out there), you’ve been chosen to wage war on the bug invaders who have taken control of most of the planet.

Long ago, an alien race fearing overpopulation and extinction fled their homeworld in search of another world -- one prosperous and ready to colonize. You know this species as the Bugs. Landing initially in Siberia, they bred a strike force and overwhelmed the Asian continent, quickly moving on to secure the entire planet. Conventional forces have proven useless, forcing the government to field the Armorines, power armored troops that were originally designed for battle after a nuclear war.

Can you win against the greatest enemy that humanity has ever known?

Gameplay

Armorines is a FPS, or "First Person Shooter." A 3D environment, seen from the viewpoint of your character’s eyes, allows you to move around in a 3D world and interact with it as if it were our own. Normally this kind of game would be relatively boring, save for one thing: firepower. Overwhelming firepower and overkill weapons have become a staple of the FPS genre, as blowing things up proves to be one of the most entertaining things to do.

Armed with three weapons to begin with, you’ve got the formidable task of killing lots of bugs. Normally, on a PC a FPS is controlled with the keyboard and mouse, an ideal combination. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible on the Playstation and it shows, since the gameplay suffers horribly. Movement is awkward and jerky and aiming would be nearly impossible if it weren’t for the autoaim feature of the guns.

Beyond that, once you’ve started the game from a ridiculously simple main menu, all you really need to do is shoot, run, turn, shoot some more, and occasionally press a button. So simple even a trained monkey could play. Gameplay travels through four separate ‘worlds’ -- each comprised of different levels, usually short and blindingly frustrating in their difficulty.

Graphics

Armorine’s graphics are subpar for a Playstation title, with blocky and pixilated graphics. The design of the enemies is relatively interesting, but once you get a good look at them in the game, you’ll probably want to look at the online shots of them instead (high quality renderings, don'tcha know). Reminiscent of the original Quake, it appears that the designers of Armorines weren’t able to design the graphics engine to Year 2000 PSX standards.

Audio

As far as I could tell, this game doesn’t have a soundtrack and it has got even less in the way of sound effects. With that in mind, I can only say that this game doesn’t have very good audio.

Bottom Line

Armorines is a good effort at making a FPS for the PSX platform, but ultimately falls short in several important categories. First, the PSX was never really designed to handle FPS games, as the amount of controls and movement options make it a formidable task. After my look at this game, I must conclude that it really has no good points. Clunky controls, poor graphics, abysmally simple levels, and no soundtrack to speak of combines to make Armorines painful to play.

Ultimately, this game is going on my ‘give away’ list, as I don’t think I’d ever want to play it again. Completely unsuited for the PSX platform, perhaps they’ll think a bit longer before creating Armorines 2.

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