Armada Cover
Platforms Dreamcast
Genre Shoot 'em up space RPG
MtAMinutes to Action 3
Keep Playing? For another hour
Buy from Amazon

Time for a first hour review/chance to test out my capture card abilities. Today I'll be playing Armada, a Dreamcast game semi-randomly selected from those in my possession that have not been previously played through. Well, I think I actually played a few minutes of it when I got it, but nothing I particularly remember and certainly nothing particularly substantial. All I really recall is that it seemed to be received fairly positively and was supposedly a fine multiplayer game. So anyway, let's try it out. If you want to follow along with the video playthrough, you can find it at my Armada YouTube playlist.


Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)

00 – Sweet sweet Dreamcast bios opening. Yes, I'm including that, too bad


01 – FMV time. Game starts directly with an introductory fmv instead of company/publisher vids, not sure if it's because I lack a save file or what but it's a cool addition. Humans found something out there – "something not us." Looks like the alien armada didn't like us too much.


02 – Time for me to earn our freedom. Um, okay. Loading screen to start menu.


Armada Space Ship Fleet

03 – Press start, start a campaign file, choose a race for my player (ooh, 4 players available). I'll choose the Scarab, I like their style from the images. Enter Stev. PRESS START WHEN READY. I get thrown into a civilized city environment, get radio calls about people needing help. Looks like there's a fight. Start testing out the buttons and encounter a big enemy.


04 – This thing's pretty slow and doesn't seem to do much except bounce me back and maybe damage with a big shield. Level up lol. Looks like my regular shot strength is based on how much charge bar I have. It drains from shooting rapidly.


05 – Looks like I can talk to people with a short-range beam. Ah, so this is a starting hub where the npcs teach me things. They refill my bombs, complain about the food and tell me about abilities.


06 – Press up to blast off into space? Sure why not. Hmm... Y to activate shield. L trigger to warp (high speed movement, drains shot power), R trigger to move forward, which I already knew. Analog stick faces me in directions.


07 – Ok, enough messing around. Refill my powerpods, run into an invisible wall, guess there aren't any secrets here. Up to space.


08 – Hmmm... found a space station, it's a shop. Everything costs 800 credits and I have 23 :( Upon heading back, there's a swarm of enemies waiting for me already. I use some bombs and start getting used to the controls, this is a bit disorienting right now.


09 – Level 3 now, wow these enemies seem to take a while, and I apparently have have low armor. Well, one life lost. Seems really hard to avoid shots while attacking back... Getting some 3-5 credit drops from killed enemies.


10 – Still fighting, these guys do not give up and keep coming. Wow, not very beginner-friendly. Maybe I need to start taking advantage of the 3-way shots from the ship.


11 – Fighting.......shootshootshootshootshootshoot... not a very unique sound effect. I give up and head back down to the planet to refill. Dunno what that was all about.


12 – Repaired armor/power pods. Powerpods get drained from shields too. Still have almost no credits, not even close to any upgrades. Well, time to head back up.


Armada Flying Through Space

13 – Mission objective detected. Looks like the white thing on my radar. It's a giant...worm..thing. Tons of enemies protecting it, this doesn't look good. I quickly die twice and only get it to 54%. Too many enemies around, I'm getting rocked.


14 – I die, time to refill and try something else right now. Let's try flying to the flashing green circle. Scores of enemies here too.


15 – More fighting, looks like I have a helper green dot now. I'm trying to boss again using shields and bombs.


16 – But again I'm getting overwhelmed by enemies around and they don't seem to die quickly.


17 – Is it running from me under 50%? Nope, turned around and kept firing lol. Dead again. Back to refill. Eh, let's do something else. Still not even close to being able to buy upgrades.


18 – Looks like you have various upgrades for offensive and defensive abilities. And as soon as I leave, another ambush. Tired of this, let's use some bombs. Looks like the medium-sized dots have more health, the small ones die in a couple of shots.


19 – Ooh, I get an armor repair by killing a cross symbol'd monster.


20 – Well, this seems kinda like an rpg, let's see if I can grind out a big of gold/exp to help. And I find a buddy again to help! Seems like this game would be way easier in multiplayer too, with enemies shooting things other than just you all the time. Still getting used to the controls.


21 – Man these fights just take so long. Starting to learn to let my shot recharge for rapid shots rather than just holding it down for singles. Smart rapid shots seem to be key between doding/moving.


22 – LEAVE ME ALONE SHIPS. You never get a breather in this game in space lol. Time to refill. Hmm... my buddy isn't following.


Armada Earning Credits

23 – Yeah, I seem to lose my friend when I touch down on the city. Seemed to be fine going to shops however. More ambushes, more fighting. Luckly these ones die easy. Trying to learn angled shot maneuvering. Seems a lot better against multiple enemies.

24 – Someone said they're under attack. Well I'm under attack too, so too bad. Level 4. So it seems like I have to manually run over or tractor beam credits? That's pretty obnoxious.


25 – Sigh, more ambushes. Space is a dangerous place. Maybe it's easier once you get upgrades and can take out the medium dots quickly. Ugh, low armor. Use a bomb and still die.


26 – Just missed an armor repair before my death :( So far this is pretty frustrating. Farmed another armor repair, only seems to give partial armor. I'm losing it almost as fast as I'm gaining. Some guy asks for help again. And I die again.


27 – I see a medium dot on the way with a bunch of small, still not nearly enough money for an upgrade... use some bombs just to prolong the pain


28 – Btw you have 3 lives until you're thrown down to your spawn point on the city in case you aren't watching along). Hear another help call, maybe I should go help. This solo thing isn't working.


29 – Wow, this ship that called me does tons of damage. It has 3 helper ships with it and draws a lot of attention.


30 – Hmm, this ship doesn't seem to want to follow me. What's it up to? Or is it following me or on a path?


31 – Nope, not following any of my motions. It's at about 2/3rds health at this point.


32 – Hey look, my other helper, where'd you come from? Great enemies who can avoid shots by phasing out, just what I need. Ok this ship is still wandering, what does it want?


Armada Tractor Beam

33 – Oh. Upon tractor beaming it, it tells me it has a destination and needs help. Great, an escort mission lol. The warp movement effect looks really nice.


34 – Well, we went in a circle and back to the origin planet now and the ship's heading past it. Looks like we still have a ways to go based on the coordinates on the screen. WHOOSH warp effect.


35 – Running into enemies is possibly the most annoying thing yet in this game. You just bounce off them in a very disorienting way. I'd almost rather take damage.


36 – Still heading towards our goal, the ship's at a quarter health now and I have low armor. A quick warp boost to the armor dropping enemy should help. Whoops, I completely missed it >_< Upon my death (and subsequent respawn), I get an automatic ship upgrade. PLEASE BE USEFUL!


37 – Townspeople have nothing important to say yet. Well, let's see if I can actually finish an escort quest now that I know what I'm doing. It seems like my shots are a bit more powerful.


38 – Somewhat hard to tell though with the escort ship being so strong. I see a helper fighter ship on the screen and quickly run to pick it up. It looks like the escort ship starts taking off when I talk to it. Meh, we'll see if it can live for a bit.


39 – My helper ship seems to have really strong shots but it doesn't shoot often or take much attention from enemies. Still, anything is helpful. I don't really want to fight the boss again yet, let's see what this new hub on the map is.


40 – Repaired armor from an enemy, touch down on the hub. Well... another shop, and this one has even more outrageous prices. And I've gained almost nothing still >_< SWEET another ambush when I leave the shop. And these enemies have some attack which puts me in statis, but I can still shoot though. But it's extremely annoying.


41 – Sigh this sucks, to an armor bot. Stupid stasis. Annnd... my armor is gone again and I'm dead.


42 – I keep accidentally talking to my fight buddy while trying to pick up credits, also annoying. And for whatever reasons, the only sound effects are from my shots or my buddy's (which are the same sound, so it's a bit disorienting). Would be nice to have some auditory signals towards armor loss at the least.


Armada Explosion

43 – Wait why am I still fighting random enemies? Didn't I have an escort? Yes, but THEY WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE. I get a radio call and warp to it, seems like this at least clears them for now.


44 - Thank you escorts for taking so much attention from enemi ships. I quickly talk to it and head towards its goal. A quick warp to an armor bot and I head back to the escort.


45 – Cool nebula below, too bad I can't drop down there. Armor repairs hardly even seem worthwhile...


46 – Are we there yet? Escort ship should be in good enough shape. Mission complete! I get 200 credits for it. Nice but still not enough to get anything


47 – I leave the ship there to die/fend off for itself since it's just flying around now. Time to warp back to refill. I think I may be used to this enough now to finally beat the boss! Let's only hope lol. Now I just need to find my buddy and we'll give it a shot.


48 – Yep, still over 200 credits short. Another ambush >_< But this is getting easier now. Dodge and rapid fire


49 – Ugh these random fights won't end, let's just head up. WORM THING YOU ARE MINE (and when I say worm I mean penis but Greg may edit that out >_> Ed. note: You shouldn't be sticking that where it doesn't belong)


50 – Strafe and fire, strafe and fire. Definitely working. I'm still taking a bunch of shots and they're peppering the whole area but I end up killing it anyway. Mission complete. And still not 800 credits lol


51 – Wow, do these guys just ambush around the shop or something? This is ridiculous. 10 enemies out of nowhere. Back to refill and see what the townspeople have to say. Hmm, some base needs construction materials. Seems like each of these characters have various odd accents, probably based on their supposed race. They're really weird but fit decently I guess.


52 – blah blah blah. They all say the same things. Alright let's do this construction then.


Armada Drollic Jungle

53 – Find my buddy, he's always easy to find. Seems a lot like the action-rpg pet you always find.


54 – Trying to get a bit more money for an upgrade but this is taking forever. Whatever, let's check the base. Uhhh


55 – So I don't have the materials? I have to get it at allied command? Why didn't they tell me this >_< Well, warp speed to check the other shop.


56 – I hate this grind so much. And I have to actually buy the materials >_< There goes part of my upgrade money. Well, let's head back over. Mission complete.


57 – I don't get any money back from it, how mean. That's the least you could do stupid space station. Heading back to the planet. Looks like I have to deliver a food mix now. This NPC talk is getting strange and stranger.


58 – This base is a ways off, about 15000 (units) away. Nothing warp speed can't handle. This base looks kinda cool too. OMG they didn't give me food mix either? I hate you all. Seriously, way to gouge the person saving you.


59 – Well I'm gonna get this quest done before I finish, let's see if I can do it in time. Another 50 credits for food for citizens. What about me? I'm hungry too :(


60 – flyflyflyflyfly The warp effect is pretty cool, as I already mentioned. But it's probably the only graphical touch that stands out, maybe the explosions too. Mission complete. Let's save and get out of here.


First Hour Summary

Minutes to action: 03


What was awesome: The shoot-em-up/rpg gameplay is very unique. I really don't quite understand how it'll work yet, seeing as I only got a small handful of levels, no item upgrades and one ship upgrade that I didn't even understand. The system has potential as long as we get more interesting things like various shot types and free ways to clear out small weak groups.


What was okay: The atmosphere seemed okay. And despite the only real character interaction so far coming from the initial central hub, they were somewhat entertaining with their strange lines depending on each mission. The graphics were okay. Certainly nothing outstanding but not terrible in any form either. Space just looks pretty boring so far. Story seems bland, pretty much will depend on whether they integrate quests into the story or not.


What I didn't like: Pretty easy to tell what I didn't like if you've been following along lol. The constant random battles were just so frustrating to start, especially when I didn't even have the controls down yet. It seems like I can pretty much warp to where I want to go but if I ever get caught in a fight, it can seemingly take forever no matter how good I am at this point. Also the sound effects were really poor and nondescriptive along with poor quality audio in general.


Would I keep playing? Maybe I'd give it another hour to redeem itself in case the first was just a case of bad pacing/understanding by the developers. If that was still poor, I wouldn't continue except for possibly a multiplayer run because I have a feeling that it would be much more fun and balanced than the single player.


PS: Again, the video playlist if you wish to watch.


PPS. Again again, this was more or less a test run of capturing from console. Once the capture setup is settled, my next plans are to eventually go through my Xbox collection and play first hours of games I have yet to give any significant time. If you have a preference from the following list, please leave a comment in the box below, as they will be ran in order of comments first, then by my semi-random choosing. The list: Capcom Classics Collection, Fable, Metal Slug 4/5, Gunvalkyrie, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, GTA: Vice City, Guilty Gear X2.