Developer Lost Toys
Publisher : Encore
Release Date : October 27, 2003
Battle Engine Aquila is a console port that has just recently hit the PC. The game takes no time at all to throw the player into a gigantic planetary battle between two factions looking for victory. You’ll step into the roll of Hawk, a member of the Forseti given the order and honor to pilot the Battle Engine Aquila. This proto-type mech is the Forseti’s super weapon against the Muspell army. Once starting a new game the player is required to play through the tutorial so they can grasp the basics of controlling the Battle Engine Aquila.
The controls are certainly not hard and feel just right. Much like any first-person shooter the WASD control scheme comes into play with the difference being that once you tap the space key you will become airborne. The mech’s legs fold up and you will take off into the air for much faster travel as well as dog fighting with Muspell forces in a hope to stem their attacks. When in Walker mode the Battle Engine assumes a spider-like tank appearance that allows you to stomp down trees, circle strafe tanks and dodge missiles that are raining down at you from the sky. The effect of flying the Battle Engine is really well done and pretty cool to play. You have an energy meter that will slowly deplete the longer you stay airborne, but thankfully, once you land it recharges very quickly. Not only must you watch the energy meter, but you must also be mindful of your health as you take damage. Nothing’s worse than nearly winning a mission only to suddenly blow up…
During the single player game completing missions will unlock items that you can view in the game’s Goodies section. You’ll unlock 3d models of enemy and friendly units that you can rotate to your heart’s desire. You’ll also see concept art, character models and things like that. Another feature during the single player campaign is unlocking the expert missions. These are usually the exact same mission that you just played, only much, much harder. While not a huge reward, it does help add to the replay value of this game a tad. Battle Engine Aquila also has multiplayer features, but, not online. You can play on the same computer screen with a split keyboard control scheme, co-op being my favorite feature. They also have death match options but not much else.
Before each mission you will see a full motion video sequence, which in my opinion aren’t very good-looking. Low quality with lots of defects and semi-poor animation coupled along with poor voice acting really doesn’t help build any sense of urgency. Later on in the game you’ll also have the option of a load out screen where you can choose different weapon configurations and also later on you choose a LT that will fight along side you. Weapons differ for both walker and jet mode, ranging from missile weapons to lasers. All of which require little skill since they all have some sort of auto-aim. The worst offender is the Vulcan cannon, where the gun basically follows the target extremely well.
While in game you will also receive communications from your commanding officers telling you what your next objectives are. They’ll also let you know when you are doing poorly. The greatest part of Battle Engine Aquila is the sense of a gigantic battle. You will feel like you’re just a single soldier (because you are) taking orders to help further your allies in the battle. At any given time you’ll see hundreds of units friendly and hostile all firing from all fronts and exploding everywhere. Being able to go from fight on the ground alongside friendly infantry and tanks, to dog fighting in jet mode with your fellow pilots at the touch of your space button is a great feeling in BEA.
One of the downfalls of Battle Engine Aquila is the fact that it has console graphics from being ported to PC. The textures are blurry and bland as far as ground textures go. One cool thing is being able to step into and knock over trees with the Battle Engine Aquila, but, the trees themselves look like cardboard cutouts. Game models such as the infantry units are pretty uninspiring with few frames of animation and plain skins. I understand that anything too detailed would mean less units on screen, but perhaps better skinning on the models would have given them more ‘oomph’. Besides the infantry, the rest of the war machines look really good. The tanks roll about the terrain and the airborne units zoom across a decent-looking sky, all the while firing hundreds of rounds. The game’s water isn’t spectacular, but it is bumpy and when the sun hits it from a certain angle you’ll be treated with a pretty nice-looking effect.
You’ll also encounter some of the enemy super weapons, some of which must be taken down in sections to be destroyed. I thought of these like boss fights in certain games. These giant machines of war are well animated, textured and pack a ton of lethal firepower. Speaking of firepower, the weapon effects leave a lot to be desired. The most impressive-looking weapon effect is your augmented default pulse cannon. It’s massive blue plasma explosion looks awesome but still seems lacking. Other weapons just feel like they have no power behind them at all, mainly the Vulcan cannon.
The game’s sound is also pretty standard. Your Battle Engine sounds like you’d expect one to, as do the weapon sounds. The voice acting isn’t terrible but it could have been a lot better. You won’t even notice the game’s music much when in the heat of battle, but it is the usual mix of techno with rock elements.
Overall, I really did enjoy Battle Engine Aquila and suggest it to any non-stop FPS action game fan. The game never stops pounding you with fights from the moment it starts until the last enemy has fallen. The unlock able items along with the ever increasing difficulty of the missions gives this game more replay value than some of the other action games out there.
Score : 7/10
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