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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Interplay

 

Developer

Rage

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q2 2001

 

 

- Very nice additions to the strategy genre

- The action and perspective views are great

 

 

- The battle map is very difficult to see anything on

- Some of the cut-scenes are unstable
- You are definitely going to need the manual on this one

 

 

N/A

 

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Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising

Score: 8.0 / 10.0

The year is 2032 and the world is at peace thanks to the development of nano-technology, which has eliminated food and material shortages around the world. This peace does not sit well with everyone, and as a result a cabal of dictators and soldiers has taken up a war against the world that no longer needs them. In order to stop these unprovoked attacks, the Antaeus was reactivated and raised from the bottom of the ocean. The Antaeus was one of a group of adaptive cruisers running with nano-technology and the "Soulcatcher" chips. Using the brain-waves of dead soldiers, the Soulcatcher chips allow newly built vehicles to be piloted by computer simulations of those individuals so as a unit is destroyed, that chip can immediately be transferred to another unit and immediately rejoin the battle.

antaeus-a.jpg (11521 bytes)          antaeus-b.jpg (15743 bytes)

 

As the captain of the Antaeus, you command your team in an effort to clean out the cabal's forces in the Pacific Islands they control. The objective in the game is to stop the Cabal's bombing of the planet by destroying the capability to make weapons (or just up and kill them) by eliminating the forces on each of the islands as well as collecting resources and technology for the Antaeus and future battles. Unlike other strategic war games that have a resource collection aspect Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising takes a more ecological approach: you have nano-tech collectors that can be sent into former battle grounds and collect fallen equipment or raze destroyed bases for scrap metal (or the like). As such, you must organize not only the attack on enemy forces but send out the collection crew behind your forces to make sure that you don't run out of energy to repair or build new units. Although your units do have a level of autonomous control, they don't really do anything unless ordered or attacked so you must manage the battle from your control room as well as keep tabs on your objectives and collection crew. As you can guess, battles can become rather involved but you can easily take control of the situation from the War Room. The War Room is a battle map, which shows all known data about your surroundings and allows you to issue a series of orders to your units. For example: if you want to set up a hit and fade attack to draw away an enemy unit, order one to attack something specific and then rendezvous at a specific location easy as pie and each unit can remember up to 15 orders (excellent for those Grand Admiral types). Remember that this is a carrier, not a fleet; so don't expect old tactics of overrunning the enemy position with superior numbers to work. You have limited resources and a limited number of chips so you're going to have to use more strategy to accomplish your goals on this one.

 

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The game itself has some nice additions to the strategy genre besides the war room. The build option is instantaneous (thank the Maker!) and you have the ability to customize these units with technology that you have recovered such as better armor or specific weapons, whichever you prefer to use the unit against. Even cooler is the ability to over-ride the Soulcatcher chips and take control of the units directly. If you so desire, you can pilot one of the attack helicopters, 

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hovercrafts, or if you're a neat freak, the collector unit. It's a neat option but it's a great way to lose a unit (the Soulcatchers are way better at operating the equipment than you ever could trust me). During the action itself, you can watch the operation from each unit's perspective or watch from cameras on-board the Antaeus I really liked that feature personally. More importantly, is the fact that when you are issuing orders from the War Room or building the uber-unit in the Construction Bay, the action stops, which is a good thing (especially when you are trying to stop waves of attack helicopters). Visuals and music are adequate, they aren't anything new to the genre but certainly don't detract from the game at any level.

 

antaeus-c.jpg (9657 bytes)          antaeus-d.jpg (13685 bytes)

 

Speaking of detractions . . . I was really afraid when I saw the opening cut-scenes. They were really unstable and the speech would continue while the action lagged dreadfully behind. It's an annoyance only, since the storyline isn't dreadfully critical to the action you can just skip those. The War Room map is sometimes difficult to see things on. I would have liked for it to be rendered like the rest of the game but instead it looks like a strange combination of 2D and 3D. It can be difficult at times to see specific units on the battle map and as such, you lose a measure of fine control which is a shame. My last complaint is on the tutorial in the game. As Mr. Nash suggested in his recent article, manuals are rarely read anymore thanks to the invention of the tutorials. Well, the tutorial in Antaeus Rising is difficult to keep track of because it gives all of the "alternate" ways of using the interface and so you end up hunting and pecking trying to remember which is the key to enter the War Room. (Definitely read the manual on this one!).

All in all, a pretty good game that has some nice ideas and additions to the strategy genre. Those strategists who want to work on their battlefield commanding ability will enjoy this game more than people whose greatest thrill is decimating an enemy with an unstoppable force.

- Tazman

(June 29, 2001)

 

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