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a game by Metropolis Software House
Platform: PC (2002)
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Action Games, Action Adventure Games, Hack and Slash Games

Hmm. Let’s run off the requirements for an average fantasy action-adventure and see if this one fits the bill, shall we? First off, a village with less than four houses and inbred villagers with nothing more than one line of speech repeated over and over. Yes, Archangel has these. A plot that involves a muscle-bound man seeking to fulfil a destiny foretold by crusty mystics. Yup. Bad speech, bad animation, no attempt at proper lip-synching. Uh-huh. Featureless caves, swamps and dungeons. Undoubtedly. Quests to retrieve pointless items, boiling down to killing things, picking up items and bringing them back. Of course.

And just when you’re getting tired of it, it turns into an average sci-fi fantasy action-adventure instead, what with the requisite mix of corrupt corporations, hi-tech corridors, angular cities with no visible exits and next to no citizens. Fancy that.

Lacking In Spirit

It looks like Archangel does the lot in the face of averageness. But wait. It adds its own special sauce to the recipe. The Spirit Meter is a horribly bad idea that should have been stifled at birth. It’s rubbish. It’s the only source of energy for your magic weapon and spells, but it takes an achingly Igng time to replenish.

Worse still, it’s the only way of dispatching some enemies, so you end up hiding in a corner waiting for it to fill up again. Not much fun to be had there then.

Angel And The Ape

Archangel doesn’t have huge levels, but they’re big enough to wonder why they didn’t include an easy teleportation system. Instead you wind up having to trudge round the map from one end to the other (presumably they think this will make the game seem longer). Worse than that though is the abundance of large empty areas which yield nothing when explored. There may be a little extra ammo hidden in a corner, yet there's nothing else to reward searching. For example, one area set in a hotel replicates the exact same floor three times with only one room of importance. It’s just one of the signs of limited interactivity. Apart from a smattering of switches, ammo and medikits, there’s nothing to do. Look but don’t touch. Richard Garriott must be spinning in his beard.

It’s also a linear game. Some quests can be done before others to a certain extent, but it’s usually just easier to follow the storyline; a filler of a plot cribbed from similar past games that all did this ten times better. Enemies don’t make the grade either. Running at you with little to no grace, they make easy-to-kill experience fodder for a weak upgrade system.

Archangel is a game of two k halves, a fitting clichd for a cliched game. It tries half-heartedly to be too many things, and ends up spreading itself thin. At best it feels like an extended mod, but most of the time it’s just going through the motions.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Like it or not, we all have to die sooner or later. For some of us, this signifies an absolute finality, the inevitable snuffing out of a fragile and largely wasted existence; for others, there is the promise of eternal paradise and/or damnation. Michael Travinsky, hero of forthcoming action RPG Archangel, has a different idea - how about returning to life as a vicious, homicidal warrior out to slaughter as many servants of darkness as he can lay his blood-soaked hands on? All in the name of the Lord of course.

It all starts one cold, dark night in the mountains of Poland. There he is. driving along a snowy road in his piece-of-shit car, hair down to his arse-crack, when he hits a stray log, careers off the road and crashes, dying. (Which is OK, because it’s the only career he was ever likely to have anyway.) After a bit of wandering around and being drawn towards a mysterious light, he wakes up in a dank cell, completely unhurt. He’s also travelled back in time to the fantasy-rich, pseudoDark Ages setting of the 'Old Age’. Never mind though - a quick chat with God and he’s off on a grand quest: to restore the balance of good and evil and become the Archangel, Warrior Of Light. It's kind of like The Crow meets John Travolta’s Michael.

Armed And Godly

However, before we get struck down by the church for supporting another evil, blasphemous game, we should point out that the God in question is not any of the existing Gods, but a new, freshly invented one. He’s called the Lord Of Light, and though he doesn’t have many followers yet, this could change with the release of Archangel, as he’s clearly quite a cool God. For a start, instead of giving you a harp and asking you to join the celestial choir when you buy it, The Lord Of Light gives you a big, glowing sword and a licence to smite. As you travel through the game’s three epochs (the others being a ruined, futuristic Berlin and the hell-like City Of Evil) you can supplement these basics with everything from crossbows to heat-seeking rockets. While a loose RPG structure means that the game is based around quests and exploration, the combat is very much action-based.

Nodding its head to the likes of Soul Reaver 2 and Zelda 64 (right down to magical fire and ice arrows), the action is quick and focused, though the developers are also trying to push the strategic side of things. This means you’ll have to apply your various special abilities carefully and exploit an enemy’s weak points to the fullest - you’ll have to think a bit, basically. There are also two character classes to choose from - Ghost and Warrior - each with their own skills and strategic advantages.

Vengeance Most Holy

At this stage Archangel is looking like a fairly well-balanced brew. It’s heavy on the action, but the RPG influence is far from token, with plenty of emphasis on developing the character of Michael as he slowly transforms into the Archangel. Due attention is also being given to the Al to ensure that enemies can communicate what they see and hear to each other, and work together in groups to bring you to your knees.

Last time we looked, the game was very nearly complete, and we should have a review for you next issue. Until then, go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Just go easy on the holy wrath.

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

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