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Archangel, First Impressions

Myrthos, 2001-09-12

Archangel is a third person game (with first person view option) that joins role-playing and action-game genres. The action of ARCHANGEL takes place in three different epochs and in different locations, ranging from the middle-ages to futuristic Berlin. The Game combines techno-thriller, horror and fantasy styles, mixing age-old legends with technologically advanced reality.

At ECTS I had the opportunity to see an early alpha stage demo of Archangel at the Fishtank booth. As it was an early alpha stage they only showed a small demo, featuring an outdoor fight in the dark middle-ages.

The Beginning

In the intro of the game you, a young man, are driving home in the night. Snowflakes are falling down and the road seems empty. But then there is a sudden flash of light and you hit the brakes and the last thing you hear is the rasping sound of metal.
Unaware of what happens then, you are being dragged from the car by an old man....
...When you open your eyes you are in a small room.

The Game

You will soon find out that you've woken up in the middle-ages, unaware of what force has brought you here, nor who you are. In time you'll find out that you have been called by a strange kind of deity to purify the world from the evil it inhabits. For this you will become the Archangel, but you are unaware of that in the beginning.

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The story covers three totally different levels. After the dark middle-ages you will find yourself in futuristic Berlin followed by the last stage in the City of Evil. As each of these three era's are totally different it allows the developers to mix fantasy and sci-fi styles into one.

Like said before, you will need to purify the world from all evil, which will in general mean defeating any evil presence in all three of these era's. So Archangel will have a lot of action in the game and a range of weapons that you can use, each specific to the era they belong in. I'll leave it to your imagination what kind of weapons are possible here ;-)
The approach is in essence that you first think about the best weapon/strategy to follow, then fight and then of course win. The developers of Archangel claim that using your wits and intelligence is far more rewarding than just plain fighting. You will have to think about the best weapon/strategy to use in combat to kill your opponent, as not all weapons might be effective and not all strategies will be useful in your fights.

Besides using weapons you will also find runes in Archangel, which will allow you to learn the magic as described by the rune. The runes do not wear out, so as long as you have the runes you can use the magic they represent. Of course the combination of weapons and magic greatly enhances your possibilities to win a fight.

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One of the RPG elements in the game is that you can choose your character to be either a panther, a ghost or a warrior. At the moment I only saw a warrior at work and it is not clear to me at the moment, what the different characteristics are of each class.

Furthermore they claim that the NPC's in the game will act and react in an intelligence manner, but it was not possible to see any example of that in the demo that was showed. We will have to wait on a demo at a later stage to see any evidence of that.

The Looks

The presentation was given by the publisher Fishtank and featured a section in the dark middle ages. The engine for the game has been written by the developer, Metropolis Software from the ground up. Even though writing a new 3D engine is a lot of work it does give the developers the possibility to shape it into whatever they want and the developers claim that it will even set new standards.

The character animations have been done by motion capturing a real life actor and the character on the screen did move and fight in a very realistic way, so they seemed to have integrated it very well. The part which was shown covered some outside terrain, which looked really well actually, even for such an early alpha.
You play the game in 3rd person view, but you will have the option to switch to 1st person view, which is especially useful when using a ranged weapon such as a bow and arrow as you can aim much better in that case. Besides that, some people do prefer to play their games in 1st person view anyhow, so having two view possibilities might attract both type of players.

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What's Next?

The game has the promise in it to become something big and it has the possibility to attract both RPG and action style players. But there are many questions left, which might be answered in a newer demo, not only showing more of the game but also giving more information about the different elements of the game.

The release date is tentatively set at Q2, 2002. So we still have to wait a while, but we have some artwork, screenshots and videos in our gallery to let you check out for yourself what the current status is.

Average Reader Ratings: 5.17 (12 votes)
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