Total Annihilation

aka: TA, Total Annihilation: Use Your Senses
Moby ID: 904

Description official descriptions

It is 4000 years in the future, and the epic battle between the Arm and the Core has devastated the galaxy. Both sides fight on with super-advanced technology, from plasma guns to giant robots to sonar jammers. The only acceptable outcome is total victory.

You, as the Commander of either Arm or Core, must build up your base to destroy the other side, in a game developing the ideas of Command & Conquer. Unlike earlier titles in the genre, it uses a 3D world in which elevation changes have an effect.

Mission objectives range from taking out specific targets to rescuing hostages to capturing the enemy base and using it in the next mission. Usually you must construct a base, although in some missions you lead an attacking force.

Unlike other strategy games, however, you start out with the Commander, the game's most powerful unit, and must defend him at all costs. Resource collection is very quick and easy, since a single unit can extract metal indefinitely from a mine without ever having to return to your base, while options for producing energy include solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, geothermal power, and fusion power.


  • 横扫千军 - Simplified Chinese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Windows version)

96 People (88 developers, 8 thanks) · View all

Project Leader
Art Lead
Assistant Producer
Game Programming
Additional Design
Musical Composition
Sound Design
A.I. Programming
Lead Mission Design
3D Units & Buildings
Movie Supervisior
Movie Team
[ full credits ]



Average score: 90% (based on 27 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 105 ratings with 10 reviews)

An epic work of RTS genius.

The Good
Well, first the feel. From the spacious outdoor landscapes with towering heights and vast bodies of water to the stirring orchestral score, Total Annihilation feels great to play. As well, the great number and variety of units (and cool units at that) is a definite plus. And the graphics and effects are simply beautiful. But it all comes together when the mayhem starts and that is when Total Annihilation truly shines. I have never had an RTS experience like seeing my TA forces roll over the hills and crevices of the beautifully sculpted terrain and meet the enemy on the field of battle. It's inspiring.

The Bad
There are a few niggles. The biggest is that, despite the epic feel, there isn't really an epic plot to go with it. Certainly, there is a plot and the devistation of humanity (or whatever race this is, it's never clear) is a dramatic setting. But there is nothing that allows you to relate to either side or wish them to win. It is simply a matter of personal glory, which really isn't all that inspiring. Other niggles are negligable indeed. The only other one I feel I should mention is that it's hard to control when you get a lot of units.

The Bottom Line
Despite flaws, one of the greatest RTS experiences available.

Windows · by Steelysama (82) · 2000


The Good
This game was one of the first games I brought totally for myself, a very selfish thing to do yes, but everyone who has played TA will know why. When you've created your base, and got things going it becomes your baby, your child, you watch it grow and over come the bad times, see it develop through the good times, and kick some ass. When you can upgrade and get better planes, bots, vehicles, weapons, you rejoice, and yet you keep the older, more relyable technology, the stuff that has seen off everything the enemy has thrown at you. You know you can rely on it, and it won't let you down. As you progress through the missions, you see your family of colonies grow and kick serious ass, you relish the opportunity to try out your latest weapon in combat, and watch it wipe the floor with any opponant it faces. Playing TA isn't playing a game, you are the commander, watching over the whole invasion of the universe. If you haven't guessed I feel really strongly about this game, anyone who doesn't like this game hasn't played it properly.

The Bad
I didn't like the fact that the game ended, and the fact that TA Kingdoms looked so damn right crap.

The Bottom Line
GO AND GET THIS GAME RIGHT NOW!!! IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, WHY THE HELL NOT???? The possiblitlies with this game are massive, there are loads of bolt-ons for it on the net, and you can play online, what more do you want??

Windows · by David Lafferty (11) · 2003

The Best RTS game of all time!!!!

The Good
This was the most fun I've ever had with any strategy game. It has a ridiculously large number of preset units for you to explore at your leisure not to mention the host of online 3rd party sites that churn out incredibly detailed creations on a daily basis.

This game brings longevity to a previously unknown level with its online and skirmish capabilities and with so many units, telling the difference between good and poor strategies is made very transparent.

Don't get me wrong, this game is still incredibly easy to just pick up and play, the campaign mode gently eases you into this incredible world and makes you itch for more with every breath you take.

Graphically its probably was the best RTS of its time, the closest competitor was Dark Reign but the almost 3D renderings of TA (if a little blocky) blew away all competition.

The soundtrack is just as appealing, with themes to fit every situation.

What I loved most about this game was the degree of customization available, you didn't have to stick to any set rules, if you wanted to try some new strategy like bunching 20 Adv. Construction Aircraft to repair a Krogoth on a rampage, just do it, nothing to stop you!! The diversity this game offered is unheard of in previous games of this genre and set trends that all later game would well to follow.

The Bad
It would have been faster to leave this entry blank but I didn't want readers to think I missed it. Suffice to say, this game was as close to perfect as technology allowed at the time.

The Bottom Line
A MUST BUY, and once you get it, make sure to never let it go!!!

Windows · by Nick Wang (2) · 2004

[ View all 10 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Total Annihilation appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Total Annihilation was based on an idea for a game project leader Chris Taylor first thought of at the age of 14.


Total Annihilation has a massive base of users who customize and modify the game. Among these is a group called Swedish Yankspankers. This group developed an open source engine that plays multiplayer Total Annihilation in full 3D. They can be reached at


Total Annihilation was a success for Cavedog:

Seattle, WA, October 30, 1997 -- Total Annihilation, Cavedog Entertainment's groundbreaking 3-D real-time strategy game, was simultaneously launched in three languages and 14 countries on September 27, blasting more than 250,000 games into retail stores during its first month of release.


While in development, before the name Total Annihilation was chosen, the game was referred to as Really Cool War Game. This name was reused for an April Fool's Day joke in 1999, when Cavedog Entertainment supposedly had to rename all their trademarks, including the game's name, due to "a legal snafu with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office".


  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #50 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #80 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • 1997 or 1998 - Greatest Game Of All Time
    • April 2000 - #17 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games Poll"
    • April 2005 - #34 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/1998 - Most Stunning Music in 1997

Information also contributed by casimps1; Jeanne; MachTen, Maw, PCGamer77, Rick Jones and Vitarcus

Related Games

Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
Released 1999 on Windows
Total Annihilation: Commander Pack
Released 1998 on Windows, 2013 on Macintosh
Total Annihilation: Battle Tactics
Released 1998 on Windows
Total Annihilation: Kingdoms + Expansion
Released 2011 on Windows, Macintosh
Rubik's Cube Challenge
Released 2007 on Windows
Shogun: Total War
Released 2000 on Windows
Million Dungeon
Released 2020 on Windows, iPhone, Android
Total Mayhem
Released 1996 on Windows, Windows 3.x

Related Sites +

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Plix.

Additional contributors: Eric Barbara, PCGamer77, Adam Baratz, Robyrt, Maw, formercontrib, CaesarZX, dome_quest, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added February 25th, 2000. Last modified November 10th, 2023.