I first encountered Armed and Dangerous at the LusasArts booth at E3, and found the demo to be one of the highlights of my day. A couple things that I found noteworthy at the time were a funny looking device in the game that you could use to reverse gravity for a short time, thus making all the baddies nearby fly (or really fall) up into the air, and then come crashing back down.
And the one cut scene they showed us was hilarious. The other thing that I found really neat was when you are defending a city. You ride down a track in a ball turret with machine guns and hordes and hordes of baddies come at you. The neat thing is that you also have a rocket launcher, and you can shoot missiles at the distant baddies. The results are that some of the waves of men coming at you are slightly diminished. The game calls it a tin can of death, and it lives up to the reputation.
The main character of Armed and Dangerous is Roman, the leader of thieves calling them selves the Lionhearts. There are three other members of the group besides Roman and they are: a British, tea drinking, robot named Q, a Scottish moleman named Smithy, and a stinky little blind mystic named Rexus. They are on a quest to steal the Book of Rule from the evil King Forge.
Armed and Dangerous is basically a kill anything that moves third person shooter. There are naturally some twists and turns such as the ability to give "attack," "defend," and "protect me" orders to Smithy and Q. There area also some fun stationary turret levels, and some levels where you get to fly around, jump and glide really, in a jet pack.
The available weapons in Armed and Dangerous go from the straight forward to the very bizarre. You start most levels with a machine gun, which was my primary weapon throughout the game. The auto aim feature makes it hard to miss, though all the bad guys even on the easiest level settings make the game challenging.
Besides the machine gun, there is a basic gun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, a mortar cannon, a land shark launcher, which causes a shark to swim under ground with its fin sticking up which goes out and attacks enemy soldiers. There are also some secondary weapons such as sticky bombs, a portable black hole, a traitor bomb, which makes the target attack your enemies, and my favorite the knockout bomb, see the earlier description, which makes the world flip over. You of course hang onto the bomb, which has a corkscrew end that you stick into the ground.
Each of the 20 plus missions starts you out with a different weapon set, and if you visit the pub to hang out of the resistance, you can get a health boost, as well as possibly pick up some new weapons. The pub is also the mid-level save point.
The game’s story is told through cut scenes at the end of each level, and to be perfectly honest, the game can get a bit boring at times as you do the same thing over and over again, but the motivation to see the next cut scene is what drew me back to the game time and time again. It is pretty much your basic rebellion against an evil king, but they are all very funny. I especially liked the few tossed in Star Wars references.
I found the game to be very easy to pick up, though I found the first part of the first level to be very annoying, as I could not see the crosshairs of the basic rifle due to the background. Once I got past that I got right into the game. As I said before the repetitiveness of the game gets a little boring at times. And the vast number of bad guys can be overwhelming. There is however some replay value in bonus levels.
Armed and Dangerous looks good. I found being able to see enemies from a distance to be a big help in the turret levels. Part of the repetitiveness problem is that I found myself shooting the same guys over and over again. Some levels have large robots that break up the repetition and look really good. On the plus side, you can blow up almost every building in the game. The one thing that is kind of silly is that the villagers you rescue on some of the missions kind of lie down and float behind you.
The voice work, especially on the cut scenes is excellent. Most of the other sounds are kind of boring except for perhaps the explosions. The background music, such as it is, seems to cut out randomly, though the Celtic soundtrack is nice to listen too.
Overall, and including my gripes, I found Armed and Dangerous to be a real blast. The story line is very amusing and the novelty weapons really make the game for me. My advice is to pick up a copy, you won’t be sorry. If you’re unsure, rent a copy – but I bet you will find yourself going to the store to get your own.