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Battle Engine Aquila

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Action


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Xbox Review - 'Battle Engine Aquila'

by Chris "Fozz" Breci on Feb. 2, 2003 @ 11:42 p.m. PST

Genre: Action
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Lost Toys
Release Date: 01/21/03

Set in a time far beyond our own, on the planet Allium in the Porrum system. Due to the considerable changes in climate the waters have all dramatically risen and severely decreased all land masses making land the hottest commodity around. Long before this natural disaster almost drove man under water there were two civilizations that lived together on the Ampeloprasum Archipelago, the Forsetti and the Muspell people. From the dawn of time these two races had been at each other’s throats, be it small skirmishes or all out war. A former treaty had shakily held together a mutual peace between the two; that is until the natural disaster happened. With the rising water levels causing dry land to decrease, more and more people are being pushed into smaller masses of land. Many people are becoming very upset with the current situation and the standing bonds have fallen that once kept the peace. In the midst of all of this controversy you play the role of Hawk Winter, a Forsetti dockworker.

During the daytime Hawk fancies himself operating cargo loader machines for his corporate leaders, while at night it’s an underground world of loader racing and hawk is the king of the arena. During one race the a commander from the Forsetti’s armed forces gets a tip from one of Hawk’s co-workers and is blown away by hawks ability to operate the machines. The commander demands to meet Hawk after the race and demands that Hawk accept an order to operate the Forsetti’s best weapon of defense against the attacking Muspell forces; Battle Engine Aquila. The battle engine has the ability to fly up in the air with the same maneuverability as a fighter jet and at the same time it can land on ground and double as a fully mobile walking tank. Seeing this as the biggest toy ever, Hawk gladly accepts the opportunity to take control of this new challenge. The war is on and its up to you to determine the outcome.

Battle Engine Aquila does a great job of taking advantage of the multi-front battle system. The Battle Engine itself is controlled through a first person mode and can either fly or land in walker mode. While in either mode you have a fully diverse weapon arrays. The weapons are really cool in BEA the walker mode has laser cannon to fry enemy infantry and maybe tanks and is also equipped with grenades and a pulse laser, which can be fired in bursts or charged up for a massive explosion blast. The pulse laser is a very cool weapon to use if you spot masses of red legions coming over the hill. While most of this game is spend defending a forsetti structure, one is always tempted to find out how man enemies are just over the horizon and let me just tell you that unless you are either in plane mode or you have a lot of backup NOT to run over the hill.

You will realize that this game does an awesome job of putting you on the battlefront and not giving you the illusion of large-scale battle but purely making it really happen. BEA makes great use of the Xbox’s shear power as a system to use colossal amounts of entities on screen without showing the slightest bit of slowdown or lowered resolutions. God help any brave soldier that breeches the hill. The first time I gained the balls to do so I ran back over to my base like a scared group of little kids on Friday the 13th. Enemy drop ships, multiple enemy mechs, enormous amounts of infantry and barracks’, and not to forget platoons of tanks. Each of these are completely functional and interactive, now when I say interactive I mean it can go boom. For instance each drop ship is loaded with about 5-10 enemy tanks, so there are many ways to do this. You can wait for it to land and blow up each individual tank that comes out, you can blow it up before id dispels any thing at all, or you can do it my way by flying up to it while its flying around scooping for a place to land convert into walker mode on top of the drop ship and fire straight down on it until it explodes. The drop ships are the coolest objects to have fun with in the game.

While each mission does include some weak, half-assed story line, the underlying mission objective is to blow up everything that’s red. It can get repetitive at times and most of the time you actually forget the objective of blowing up the enemy, but then again this is a game that is played for fun not story. However you do have to semi pay attention to some of the things that must survive during a mission due to the grading system. After each mission you receive a grad on how well you performed based on how many Forsetti structures or units survived. Through these grades you receive unlockables like concept art, Battle Engine and other unit models, and player bios; there are hundreds of these types of things to unlock. While most of these are useless, some of them are pretty cool like the up-close 3D model of each of the different battle engines up close. Since this game is a first person game you won’t see it a lot.

The game runs very smoothly whether there are 2 bombers approaching or battalions of troops and tanks coming up over the horizon and it always looks good. There aren’t any graphical imperfections that are visible to the human eye. The levels can be a bit repetitive in a way that for the most part there is a small mass of land, fitting in with the story, surrounded by a big ocean. As cool as it was for the first three to four levels, it got rather old by the fifth. The landscaping on each level is different just to add a bit of diversity to the whole thing. One thing I have begun to notice is that as far as the color schemes and overall look of the stages has a striking resemblance to that of Silent Cartographer, the island level in Halo. The ground is bright green with lush trees and a beautiful blue ocean. While the friendly and enemy units are brightly colored, however the Forsetti forces are always sky blue and the Muspell are always red making it very tiring to see the same two colors, as vibrant as they are, on every map. The quality of the models are top notch, while it is harder to see the actual infantry from a 20 foot tall walker, or from hundreds of feet up for that matter, the enemy drop ships and bases were carefully modeled to perfection, again though some varying colors could help out.

The sound in BAE is pretty basic for the kind of game that it is. Lots of booms and screams of bullets whisking by your machine, while bombs are exploding and missiles are detonating on their targets in the background. The sound is kind of forgotten in the game play, but if it wasn’t there the game itself wouldn’t be whole. Many developers are not even attempting to take advantage of the custom soundtrack feature that the Xbox offers and I think this title would have taken an awesome step up had it added the custom soundtrack feature. Sure this game is action packed to the brim, but you have to ask yourself “Would I be more into the battles and the whole game in general if I had (your favorite band here) here to pump up the tension a little bit?” The custom soundtrack would have given Battle Engine Aquila that little push to bump up the excitement a little bit more and get that blood pumping through your veins during an already intense battle.

Battle Engine Aquila has one of the best and highest selling features that you can put in the game Cooperative multiplayer. My hat goes off to Lost Toys for having the brains to put in a mode of play that belongs in virtually every game. Co-operative just plain makes a game better. There is nothing cooler than running through a campaign mode for 4-6 hours with your best friend in a massive all out war game. It’s worked for every game that had it. Perfect Dark was one of the best of its kind, Halo was game of the year in 2k1, and do you mean to tell me that Devil May Cry 2 wouldn’t have been better with twice the Dante? Battle Engine Aquila’s co-op mode doesn’t fall short of any of these titles and fully lives up to the fun-factor of the single player, just twice as much. Of course, Battle Engine Aquila gives you the option of blowing your buddy to kingdom come in death match mode if he wasn’t good enough to be your partner in the co-op mode.

As games get more and more advanced, it’s games like this that go to show you that good old fashioned robots with guns can still make for a wicked game. All the fancy spy games going around are great and all but every once in a while we can forget games that require too much thought and go back to our instincts to blow stuff up. BEA is a very entrancing title that seems to keep the attention of those who play it. While you might get tired of seeing red and blue all over the place, one can never get sick of the old orange and red fire. Battle Engine throws in a whole new way of playing into the mix and I cant emphasize enough how cool it is to rush into a group of enemies like a hardass in tank mode blowing stuff up and quickly taking to the skies to take down enemy fighters that are inbound. On top of all of this fun there is the little cherry that is co-op mode to keep the fun alive. BEA would be a decent addition to anyone’s stack and I say this because it can appeal to almost any crowd. Battle Engine Aquila is an all around good game with great graphics.

Score : 9.0/10

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