Hello all! Last week’s title was a creepy game that watches you play. If you play the PSP version in the bathroom, it watches you poop, technically. Think about that.
This week’s game is much lighter. It’s a comical shooter that features some of the most ludicrous weapons in gaming. But is it any good? Well...
Armed and Dangerous is a third-person-shooter published by LucasArts and developed by Planet Moon, who created the excellent Giants: Citizen Kabuto. AnD casts you as Roman and his band of bounty hunters (Jonesy and Rexus) as they plot to stop the villainous King Forge (voiced by Tony Jay!)
The game is an out-and-out comedy, so the plot is more or less a collection of jokes. It’s hit-and-miss, really. There’s nods to Star Wars, Monty Python, etc., and some of it will have you laughing hysterically while other moments fall flat. Nowadays, some of the humor is dated, but the game is twelve years old now, so that’s to be expected.
AnD plays as a standard third-person-shooter. You have basic weapons like a machine gun, rocket launcher, and sniper rifle. There’s not a whole lot to do except shoot bad guys.
It’s in the crazier weapons, though, where AnD starts to show it’s potential. Being a screwball comedy, AnD features insane weapons like the Land Shark Gun, which does exactly what it says it does: fires a massive shark that “swims” through the ground and eats hapless enemies. There’s a black hole that you carry in a cardboard box-perfect for crowd control. And then there’s this:
That’s the Topsy-Turvy Bomb in action. It’s more or less a giant corkscrew that you drive into the ground. This causes the world to flip upside down, causing your enemies to, um, fall. Up, that is. Of course, Roman holds on for dear life. Then the world flips back, and your enemies then plummet back to Earth.
Now, the best thing about the Topsy-Turvy Bomb is, it’s the game’s defining feature. The worst part about it? It’s the game’s defining feature.
See, AnD gives you these hilarious weapons, but only sparingly. That’s probably because they’re overpowered, but the problem is the machine gun. Your basic machine gun is overpowered as well, and comes with a ton of ammo, and so there’s no need to use these other crazy weapons, aside from a laugh. The dev team had a vivid imagination, but made the most basic weapon so ubiquitous.
And it speaks to the concept that a good game needs more than one gimmick to succeed. I think that Topsy-Turvy Bomb is hilarious, and it never really gets old. But even when you factor in the Land Shark Gun, it’s not enough. As it is, AnD is a painfully basic shooter, even by 2003 standards. It’s got some laughs, a very talented voice cast, and funny weapons. But when your gameplay is so one-note, why would we care about all that? We won’t stick around long enough to see past the endless machine-gunning.
Still, AnD was an interesting game to revisit. That’s mostly what this article series has been about; revisiting older games to see how they hold up now. AnD didn’t hold up too well from a gameplay standpoint, but I got a couple of laughs during my playthrough. What’s really crushing is, you can see the potential this game had, buried under a pile of machine gun bullet casings. Alas. The game’s only six bucks on Steam, so if you can look past the endless machine gun use, there’s a giggle or two to be had.
Next week brings us to a classic shoot-em-up courtesy of Treasure. You know the one.