Written by  :  Aapo Koivuniemi (46)
Written on  :  Jul 09, 2001

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful

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It could have been so good... but no

The Good

Total Annihilation... when I first saw it, I thought it was just another C&C clone. But when I played more, I discovered that it was... well... more. The game feels good to play and there is great atmosphere of war. War with really big W. This War is played in future, and guns are now big. Really big. Graphics and sound are also very good. Units are polygon based and they look awesome. And the sound of distant explosions feels awesome. This could be the best rts-game ever.

The Bad

Unfortunately, there are millions of problems in the game. The worst is that both sides have almost identical units. There are a few differences, but changing the name and graphic doesn't make a new unit. Another problem is the resource system - the resources are virtually infinite, and if you can get enough resource input, you can, for example, put a factory creating about 100 tanks and drive them to the enemy base. Then the game balance - first it seems good. Nukes can be stopped by anti-nuke missiles, so they won't define the outcome. But then we have these cannons that can shoot from one corner of the map to another. Balanced? And the airplanes... at least they are now useful, unlike in other games, but why they must be better than land units? In a generic mission land units are for defense only - air force handles the attacking. And let's speak about defense a little more. The units can't attack what they don't see. That should be great. But radar display can be used to target and attack units unseen. So if you haven't got a few airplanes to scout out the enemy units, you'll be toast in no time. Then the difficulty level. There are missions that are way too hard. And they are not the last missions - Arm mission 8, and Core mission 6 are particularly annoying, but Arm mission 9 is then one of the easiest missions in the game. Also, most of the missions are your ordinary "destroy all opposition" missions, except a few "destroy everything but this or you'll die" missions. And "destroy all" missions tend to last long. You see, airplanes may temporarily fly out of the map - and stealth planes don't show on the radar. I, for example played a mission through in 1,5 hours. The last 30 minutes were only seeking that damn plane.

The Bottom Line

Total Annihilation had everything it needs to create awesome game, better than anything before... but it failed. It isn't a bad game, but I prefer Tiberian Sun.