Description official description
In the mid-24th century, a virus of unknown origin wiped through the Velian civilization. It affected only the women, twisting them into brutal killing machines. They modified their bodies, enhancing them with cybernetic and bio-engineered parts. The male population was enslaved, used for genetic experiments and food. The previously democratic society became a matriarchal ant-colony; a hive-mind focused on one thing only - Domination. All-out war erupted between the Velians and their former allies, the Federation of Earth.
The game begins seven years into the conflict. The Federation have gained ground, managing to push the Velians back to their home system. But when a number of colony ships go missing, apparently attacked by the Velians, the Federation sends in a military operation with the aim of wiping the aggressors out for good.
You play the part of a Federation soldier - Senior Sergeant Paul Armstrong - a regular grunt whose ship is attacked and who finds himself taking on the Velian mutations alone. Your mission: Destroy the enemy and save the missing colonists.
Operation: Matriarchy is a first-person-shooter that is set in the same universe as the Echelon games, though a knowledge of the series is not required. You will blast your way through 19 levels in a wide variety of locations, from a starbase to a swarming alien hive. The game features an arsenal of 14 hand weapons and two mech suits that you can climb into (with optional flight module). The enemies you will face are mainly female - or at least, they were once female. The story is developed through pre-mission briefing screens and in-game communications from Federation HQ.
This is a DirectX 9 game, using MADia's own 3D engine, developed specifically for this title.
- Велиан - Russian spelling
Credits (Windows version)
148 People (76 developers, 72 thanks) · View all
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 31% (based on 7 ratings)
Average score: 2.3 out of 5 (based on 9 ratings with 1 reviews)
Operation Matriarchy is a rare example of a game that was released in an unplayable state, ignored by its publisher/developer, then finally saved by a fan-made patch.
Even with the patch, though, it's not something I'd recommend to anyone. It plays in the manner of a generic first-person shooter and it's hardly the best representative of its genre. But if you are a shooter fan, who looks beyond the AAA titles and has played and enjoyed the likes of You Are Empty, Hellforces or The Stalin Subway, I think you will like this too.
I really love the style of the game; its visuals and environment design. There are a lot of levels to blast your way through and, after you get past the first few, each feels and looks very different. The material is familiar - sleek spaceship interiors eventually give way to Giger-esque biomechanical nightmares - but there is real artistry here and settings you've encountered so many times before in games and movies are given a novel spin. As an example, take a simple deck-lift: In pretty much any other game, it would just go straight down. But in Operation Matriarchy, as it descends, it first revolves in a surprising corkscrew motion, then carries on down. It doesn't serve any useful purpose and may not sound like much, but it's one of many things that is just that little bit different; that shows the designers thought about what they were doing and put the effort in, instead of taking the easy and well-travelled route. These small touches are everywhere; go into a crew cabin and you'll see a tube-like column in one corner. If you go over to it, a door slides open and inside you'll find a wash-basin and toilet that slide in and out of the wall; a space-saving design that makes a lot of sense on a spaceship. Once again, extra thought and effort was involved in doing this.
Those are the small points about the level design, but there are big moments too - things that literally made my jaw drop. About 3/4 of the way through, you are dropped on an alien planet which looks a lot like Dune. This in itself is pretty amazing, after running round space-station corridors for so long. The first thing that surprised the hell out of me was when a huge transport ship passed over my head. But the level's big surprise came after I had fought my way across the sands and into a cave. A lift took me down below the surface, into an underground complex. Suddenly, I stepped out into a huge room with a domed ceiling rising several hundred feet above me, with walkways all around the sides and 5 or 6 levels - a vast area. As I looked up, it may sound stupid to say it, but I was honestly awestruck by the scale of the place, and that feeling only increased as I got on a lift and travelled upwards. As the game goes on, the level designs seem to get more audacious and these 'wow' moments pop up at least once per level. The art design in this game is a thing of beauty. Nearly every room, particularly when you get to the 'alien' levels, has something memorable about it; some intricate piece of design that you'll appreciate if you stop to look. For example, I lost count of how many different door mechanisms there were; some of them incredibly elaborate. The textures are crisp and hi-res and everything is bump-mapped and incredibly shiny... some people would say too shiny, but it looked damn nice to me.
The creatures you'll face are pretty ridiculous, but that adds to the fun factor and they are definitely different to anything I've seen before. There are some memorable designs, like the frantically wobbling ball-shaped monsters, the woman riding inside the belly of a hollowed-out behemoth, the alien exo-skeletons and the mechanical spiders (Doom rip-off, but cool nonetheless).
The game play is fast-paced, really simple, and just plain fun. It's a frantic blast-'em-up which chucks enemies at you in long waves yet also knows when to let up the pace and it can become almost creepy in its emptier sections. There is a nice selection of weapons, though you can only carry four at a time, a design decision which seems to work well. An extra twist is that sometimes you come across a suit of powered armor, which you can climb into. There are two different suits, each loaded with weaponry, which turn you into a clomping, walking death machine that's pretty much unstoppable. This is even better when you get the flight pack and start flying around, blasting the enemy.
Another thing to note is that the levels are full of explosive barrels, and I don't remember a game where I had more fun blowing these things up. Ragdoll physics are exaggerated but great and I never tired of seeing twisted bodies flying through the air after a barrel explosion. It's also quite impressive that some of these creatures have six or more limbs, each of which is articulated properly.
The levels are varied and I enjoyed every one of them. The game can be completed in a few hours... Not a bad point, in my opinion, as it's a lot of fun while it lasts and doesn't outstay its welcome.
The 600MB fan patch adds the thing that was really lacking: Music. With the patch installed, there is a great soundtrack which keeps the adrenaline pumping and complements each level perfectly. The patch also improves the (previously very bad) sound effects, rewrites the nonsensical mission objectives and fixes some bugs and issues along the way. You may not think a lack of music could render a game unplayable but trust me; in this case, it did.
I still can't believe this game shipped without music (well, except for one catchy tune on the main menu screen). I know that games don't need music, but if they're going to take that route, they need to have strong environmental audio instead. Operation Matriarchy, until it was fixed, had neither.
Instead, what did it have? Total silence, a lot of the time. Enemies that made strange, almost inaudible gurgles when they felt like it. Some silent weapons. A knife that went 'click.' When you jumped, you heard a 'click.' Most of the time, there was almost nothing to hear, but then you'd step into an area with machinery in it and suddenly you'd have your ears blasted by horrible grinding noises that were about 50 times louder than anything else in the game. That was what passed for 'environmental sound.' You'd play through a level in near-silence, then have to turn off your speakers because the next level sounded like an electric sander dueling with a circular saw. It was ridiculous and the effect was that the game felt dull, amateurish and lacking in any kind of atmosphere.
There was also the worst use of voice acting I've ever heard. The original intro has to be seen to be believed. Honestly, I can't do it justice by quoting it here. It is quite hilarious, but it makes absolutely no sense. The patch replaces this with something that may not sound 'professional' but is infinitely better.
The story is pretty silly, and confusingly told, mainly via reams of badly-translated text on the loading screens between levels. The patch doesn't change these, but it does re-write the objectives that pop up in-game and uses them to flesh out and clarify the story (what little there is of it).
Even with the patch applied, there are still problems, though...
The enemies have no AI. They have no tactics (except for the occasional sidestep) and will just rush around madly, blasting away at you with strangely pin-point accuracy. Their stupidity is is so severe that they will often stand behind objects, not moving, as they can't figure out the route around them.
Also, the game is too easy. Level one (when I only had a knife and a pistol) was a mild challenge... level two had a ton of enemies and was actually really challenging... and exciting... but from that point on, I had access to some better weaponry and the rest of the game was a walk in the park.
Admittedly, I'm talking about a very violent, frantic, explosive, action-packed walk in the park. And it was a hell of a lot of fun. Just not much of a challenge. The number of enemies and their dead-eyed accuracy is offset by a combination of plentiful health packs, some very destructive weapons and especially, the powered armor you can climb into. You become almost unstoppable once you're inside one of these things and have engaged the suit shield. I felt there should have been less of them in the game, though it is your choice (most of the time) whether you want to use them or not, and if I replayed it, I'd probably use them less.
Also, one weapon in particular - the chaingun - is so much fun to use, but it's a beast that can cut through anything in seconds and carries stacks of ammo. Again, it's your choice whether you use it or not.
Speaking of weapons, they are rather unbalanced and some exhibit strange behavior, like the plasma gun (I think it's the plasma gun) which appears to do zero damage if you use it at close range. This game was clearly rushed out the door.
The Bottom Line
So in summary, what we have here is another obscure Russian shooter that is rough around the edges, has some flaws yet is a lot of FUN to play.
Yes, it's fun. That's the bottom line. Even with the lack of AI and easy difficulty, this was a BLAST. I had a great time with it, from start to finish.
And as I said earlier, I really love the visuals in this one. In fact, I think it's a tragic shame that such a lot of effort was put into this game, only to have it basically ruined by what must have been a rush-release before it was ready. It's good, but it could have been much better with even a month or two of extra work spent on it.
And it shipped with no music... I still can't believe that.
So my advice to you is, if you like these kinds of games, track down a copy, download the patch and give it a go. As far as I know, it was released in Russia, France and Germany. The French version is in French (I think), but the German version is 100% in English, and is what I bought. It should be pretty cheap on amazon.de.
And to answer one final question which some of you may have:
Is the game sexist? Well... no. I don't think so. I'd accuse it of being... silly... but no more sexist than any other PC game that features gratuitous flashes of female flesh and ridiculously over-sized breasts. Besides, anyone who finds the monstrous women in this game 'sexy' needs help! And one of the developers had this to say in an interview: 'We have a very good attitude towards women! We love them! It’s not our fault that such a terrible disaster has happened in the colony based on the planet Velian...' Fair point. These things happen.
Windows · by xroox (3892) · 2009
The game as it was originally released contained almost no sounds. Fans created a 600MB sound patch In September 2009, a second fan-made add-on was released, this time even more extensive than the first. It provides a complete (optional) translation to German, greatly enhanced sound effects, another new music score and a serious overhaul of the graphics, with enhanced lighting, bump-maps and many new and upgraded textures (For both patches, check the related links section).
Among the game files there is a 3D model including skin texture called "dubinkin". It's an green-skinned goblin-like creature, but it is not used in-game.
- PC Powerplay (Germany)
- Issue 02/2006 - Worst Game in 2005
Related Sites +
Madia Entertainment: the developer of the game Operation: Matriarchy
Developer's product page for the game
Operation Matriarchy - Unofficial Music, Sound & Re-Localization Patch!
Unofficial music, sound & re-localization patch
Operation Matriarchy Enhancement Addon
Unofficial German translation and enhancement addon
- MobyGames ID: 29947
- Steam App: 435420
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Game added by xroox.
Game added August 27th, 2007. Last modified July 19th, 2023.