Developer(s) – Megaware Games
Released back in 2002 as a PC exclusive, Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace is an isometric top-down turn-based RPG similar to the original 2 Fallout games following the story of an elite army of soldiers known as the Arcangels sent by the titans of the Earth to protect themselves. It was developed by an independent Dutch company called Megaware Games, which were most active throughout the early 2000s and made promises that they couldn’t effectively deliver. The way it went with Megaware is that they would go from one extreme to the other, by either releasing mediocre versions of other people’s games in an attempt to modernize them, or coming up with a few of their own cohesive video game concepts, but never developing them to the best of what could’ve been.
Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace falls into the second category. It’s a game that attempts to perpetuate new ideas, albeit not without its influences, but fails miserably. It’s a far worse game than what it was billed as by the developers, and very much deserves its place in video game obscurity.
Graphics – 3/10
The thought process behind the visuals was to deliver an experience like the original Fallout games that looked more like a 3D game to fit in with where the market had been going at that time, and what it was still steering towards. But the problem being with that is that although the intentions were there, the developers neglected to focus on the conceptual aspect of the visuals as well as the technical aspect, and as a result, pretty much every level in the game looks like it was recycled from the previous. At least with the original Fallout, whilst being a 2D game, it still had its distinct charm and contemporary setting that did exceptionally well to separate it from other RPGs at that time. But with Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace, that quality is severely lacking.
Gameplay – 2/10
Likewise, the gameplay is also as bland as the visuals. It’s turn-based, so it focuses on the player using action points to do things like move around and battle enemies. But it’s a very linear experience with extremely little to play for with the exception of getting from A to B. And again, both Fallout and Fallout 2 offered far more than that 5 years prior to the release of this game. In every aspect, but particularly in terms of gameplay, it needed much more of a push than what it got to make it as great an experience as it could possibly have been, and the developers didn’t deliver. They would’ve clearly been banking on games like this and Alien Logic (another abysmal Megaware game that I will have to tear into another time), to be their breakout hits. But it wasn’t to be, and for good reason.
Controls – 3/10
In my review of the original Fallout, I commented how difficult I found the control scheme was to come to terms with, but in this game, it’s even more of a problem. There’s the traditional fog of war effect found in other strategy games such as Civilization of Age of Empires, whereby players must traverse through in order to navigate their way through each level or to find secrets. But again, it’s not implemented properly, and simply serves to create confusion among players. Likewise, even the combat system is not the most well thought out.
Lifespan – 5/10
For those diligent enough to bear with the many, many flaws that this game suffers greatly from, there are actually around 60 hours of gameplay to be had. But given how much is wrong with this game, 60 minutes would be a test of endurance on its own. If there’s anyone who has actually been inclined to spend 60 hours playing this game, I’d to speak with him/her to find out exactly what the appeal is, because I couldn’t see any appeal after 10 minutes.
Storyline – 0/10
The story involves the Arcangels, a group of soldiers out to protect a race of titans that rule the Earth. You would have to question exactly how powerful these titans are if they have to have a bunch of regular-sized people with guns protecting them, and why they’re incapable of protecting themselves. If any of the story was perpetuated throughout actual gameplay, I missed it; that’s how difficult it is to become emotionally invested in it. It’s like the developers went back to the NES days whereby you had to read the manual to find out. Unfortunately for them, the times had very much changed by then, which for a gameplay experience that was supposed to be retroactive to an extent, is somewhat understandable, but players wanted the story to be implemented within the game in a meaningful way at this point, and that wasn’t the case here.
Originality – 0/10
Although Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace was one of the more original experiences to have come out of Megaware, there’s still nothing original about it. It’s a mess of a game that is best left forgotten. The developers haphazardly attempted to make this game seem bigger and better than what it actually is, and it turned out to be one of the worst and most humiliating titles of the sixth generation.
In all, Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace is one of Megaware’s biggest failures. It’s a joke of a game, and nowhere close to topping the titles that it was influenced by.