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Iron Angel of the Apocalypse (3DO)

Posted: March 13th, 2021, 9:36 am
by goldenband
Iron Angel of the Apocalypse, a 3DO exclusive, has been on my "to-play" list for years now. I'm fond of the mid-1990s "robots moving slowly through mazes of corridors" sub-genre of FPS games, like Kileak and Robotica; they don't usually make me motion-sick and their slow methodical play works for me. So last night, I sat down with it at last and played through the opening set of levels.

That said, it's kind of a disappointment so far. The gameplay is repetitive, the controls are clunky (you can't turn and strafe at the same time), and despite the heavily windowed gameplay (i.e. all the action takes place in the center part of the screen), the framerate is low. I hope things pick up after the initial group of levels, but I'm doubtful.

However, it has what may be the best FMV intro I have ever seen to a game -- at least, to a mid-1990s game. It's genuinely atmospheric and creepy, but also understated, and seems more like a fragment from an arthouse film than typical mid-1990s cheese.

Kudos as well for being one of the first games I've seen to use subtitles for the Japanese-language dialogue, rather than overdubbing it in a quickie session with a bunch of bored, underpaid, undertalented voice actors. And at least loading times are nil, the map is decent, and the UI for saving your game, etc. is crisp and responds instantly.

Glad to be playing this at last, even if it's not really crackling with exciting gameplay. And if it turns out to be a dud overall, it's also got a sequel that might improve on its flaws.

Re: Iron Angel of the Apocalypse (3DO)

Posted: March 13th, 2021, 2:53 pm
by ThePixelatedGenocide
Spoiler warning: the game doesn't redeem itself.

But yes, those FMVs are just as stylish as the name.

Fortunately, the sequel improves things with the frame rate, by using pre-rendered sprites. I won't say any more than that.

But I look forward to your review.

Re: Iron Angel of the Apocalypse (3DO)

Posted: March 14th, 2021, 1:27 pm
by goldenband
Beat this today and, yeah, the game doesn't really "improve" so much as become more complicated (i.e. more of a hassle) in the usual ways.

I did a small amount of mapmaking in the last levels but it wasn't really necessary, since the upgrades I was worried about missing were more or less handed to you, not hidden out of the way. One of the boss fights is sort of clever but the controls are too clunky to make it enjoyable.

Still, I'm glad to have played it, and I appreciate the really stylish storytelling -- it's refreshingly free of cheesiness. Too bad the game it supports isn't exactly a technical or gameplay masterpiece. But man, is it nice to play a 32-bit game with zero loading time and zero "attitude".

Critic, if you're reading this, definitely review this one! Iron Angel of the Apocalypse is not a great or even average FPS -- some have argued it's really a dungeon crawler in disguise, which has a grain of truth -- but either way it's a memorable and stylish game that can be beaten in under 10 hours.