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AAARGH! (DOS)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Terry Callahan (62)
Written on  :  Oct 04, 2008
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars

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Summary

One of the first games I played

The Good

Well, the single largest factor for me (and I have to admit, this is a bit biased) is the nostalgia factor. When I was a very young child, barely starting kindergarten, we had a computer at home and one of the earliest games I remember playing are Airborne ranger, Eye of Horus (which seemed like something out of this world to me at the time), and of course, Aaargh.

So other than simply the joy of remembering those old days, what else did this game have to offer? Well, to be frank, it's still a lot of fun! Even in today's world with huge, multimillion dollar games, computers and consoles that are 500 times more powerful than anything in existence at the time, this game fulfills the single most fundamental rule that any game should have... it's fun, and it's challenging in a way that you return to play it and beat the game from start to finish in one sitting, which isn't too particularly long, so it's a good way to relax your mind... and it achieves this even though it has a lack of a real save feature (there is one in the game, but I'm not spoiling it for anyone). Any game that pulls that off is OK in my book.

The second good thing about it is the simple fun of running around various villages and cities from varying points in history and laying them all to waste... I mean, you play a godzilla like dragon or a giant cyclops for crying out loud! Is there anything cooler than fighting giant rampaging monsters is BEING a rampaging monster wrecking havoc as the denizens try to flee, but end up being dinner for something a 100 times their size!

The other good thing is the settings. You're not restricted to any one kind, but throughout the game you rampage on everything from Ancient Egypt, Medieval China, some African village, Adobe Native American dweller, Old West American frontier towns/forts, And even a 17th or 18th century style port... all of these beauties are to be laid to waste by you. If bashing Tokyo or New York is getting old, this is the one for you.

The graphics and the gameplay are fine for the time, the details are well done on the scenery most of all, though the damage models are highly simplistic (the just show a few cracks after a few hits, then they collapse when you'd damaged them enough), and there is actually quite a variety of enemies, even if they are all fundamentally the same, you the have annoying buzzing insect thing, the catapult (or wagon, or cannon) that would keep harassing if you didn't put an end to it... and the dive bombing bird... you will HATE the dive bombing bird, I assure you! But it's the only real difficulty in the game, so I guess it's a good thing.

The Bad

Well, where do I begin on this one? Well for one thing is the uneven difficulty in the game... the truth be told, with the sole exception of the dive bombing bird that I mentioned earlier, there's not much else in way of difficulty and you'd probably breeze through the entire game barely getting hit (the catapult/wagon/cannon is so easy to destroy that in later stages they put you in a confined area directly in the line of fire, assuring at least one or two hits. That's how ineffectual it is), this is why, with only a little practice, anyone can defeat the game with relative ease... the challenge level is not too high at all.

The second problem with the game is apparent lack of story, origin, or motive for the two monsters. You're going around collecting these eggs... and there's no indication why they're doing it or even the whole point to the game. While you could argue that the game was an old school action/arcade and that none of the games of the era had any real plot, or that the main selling point of the game is simply to have two giant monsters going on a rampage (seriously, most Japanese movies feature giant monsters have little appeal other than seeing a monster or three duking it out), but in my own opinion, and finally is that the whole thing could have had a story, but it wasn't revealed save for the manual (which I never saw... or even think existed!) or an 'inside' deal where it wasn't too simple to figure out for the general public, like many of the games of the era (such as Double Dragon).

So other than being a fun way to spend a few hours, there's not really much else this game has to offer. The main reason why I remember it is due to the nostalgia factor.

The Bottom Line

Describing this game to others is simply saying that's a fun little game, with only a narrow learning curve and nothing else. It was a fun game like any other at the time and if those people born at around my time and had similar experience with computers at an early age, you'd remember it, like dozens of other games you played throughout the formative stages of your childhood simply because it was there. Though it does have that odd memorable quality to it, it isn't anything too spectacular that would make it worthy of anything other than a smile.

This game, if adapted for mobile phones, would make for a nice way to kill time. Nothing more, and nothing less.