"Tell a man that there are 300 billion stars in the universe and
he'll believe you. Tell him that a bench has wet paint upon it
and he'll have to touch it to be sure."
Just a nice quote
ST SOFTWARE REVIEW: ARMOUR GEDDON BY PSYGNOSIS
by Dave Mooney
This article originally occurred in the "ST Enthusiasts
Newsletter", issue 6. Thanks to Dave for allowing us to publish
When I was given "Armour Geddon" to review the graphics on the
box reminded me of "Carrier Command". If the game played at least
as well, Psygnosis were on to a winner. So, it was in with the
discs and bugger reading the instructions, let's get on with it!
The box is Psygnosis's usual one, i.e. well packaged and comes
with an instruction book, a fold out keyboard diagram, warranty
card and three discs. Two are game discs and the third contains
saved game positions, explained in the "Armour Geddon" diary.
On loading the disc, the intro is a brilliantly animated
sequence of a spaceship coming into orbit , being detected and
then fired at with missiles. A little craft detaches itself and
just manages to escape before the mother ship comes screaming
after it in a million bits.
Magnificent, in fact so good, I took time to run it a dozen
times while I read the enclosed booklet.
Scenario: Big guys start to talk peace and nuclear disarmament
(could happen, look at the world today), while they are talking
brotherly love one of the little guys decides to try out one of
his nukes on a returning space ship (the opening sequence, only
the escape sequence is automatic and the crew toast, but they are
incidental). The small guy, flushed with success, decides to
become a big guy and chuck nukes at all the other big guys, who
still have some missiles in the hip pocket.
Result: Total nuclear destruction! Well, not quite. The big guys
have enough resources to go under ground and sit it out. Except
that nothing goes out. The topside guys unite and design a super
laser and are in the process of getting ready to melt the guys
down below, who panic and decide to collect the bits of a neutron
bomb together and finish things once and for all (again).
So, it is all starting again and who do you play the part of?
It's the them down below, but ain't they bad guys? At this point
I gave up bothering and decided just to get on with the game. Let
the morals take care of themselves.
The first screen that is presented lets you set up various parts
of the game like a trainer mode (recommended), one or two
players, load/save a position and surrendered (NEVER!).
In 'trainer' mode we begin the job in earnest. The command
centre screen is a grid with the outlet to your hidey hole marked
and any enemy activity shown as small choppers, planes etc. Along
the top of the screen there is a choice of five options:
1 - The miscellaneous screen.
This simply takes you back to the first screen if you want to
change any of the start up settings or load/save a position.
2 - The research and development screen.
Here you can look at all the ordnance available to you. Unless
you are in trainer mode, not everything is available and
scientists can be allocated to a device if it hasn't been
invented yet; otherwise get the engineers busy constructing them
for you. As usual, you don't have enough of either or things
proceed too slowly for the war machine, so use them wisely. There
is also an option to scrap a project if resources are needed
3 - The intelligence screen.
This one provides a satellite view of the inhabitable part of
the planet that's left. All the normal spy satellite options are
available such as zoom in and out and pan across the surface. It
is here that you can place any of six guidance beacons to help
with the little task ahead.
4 - Equipment screen.
This is the armoury. You can choose up to six craft from a
roster of light/heavy tanks, hovercraft, bombers, fighters and
helicopters. Equip them with lasers, missiles, extra fuel tanks,
night sights and more. The only constraints being craft
suitability and what's available.
5 - Stores screen.
This just tells you what is available, the number in store and
some technical details. However I would disagree that the
hovercraft is the only craft able to cross water as you can do so
with the light tank (and possibly the heavy one too) as long as
you don't stop. But, then it may have been shallow water I was
OK, the big question now is how does the game play? Each craft
is fairly well specified in the manual as to its speed, armour
etc. The display is different for the ground and air vehicles,
with the obvious addition of altimeter, stall warning and HUD
being the main differences. Other instrumentation includes the
usual goodies like, speed, radar, missile lock warning, damage
indicator, target lock...
Once you have chosen your craft and armed it, it's time to take
off. So, it's the up-elevator into sunlight. Almost straight away
you get targeted and are all fingers and thumbs turning the start
key and getting revs up to take off speed. Land craft can usually
just horse off across the tarmac, grass or whatever. The aircraft
need to go carefully or taxi to the nearest runway. Helicopters
just dip their nose and go up (I knew playing "Tomahawk",
"Gunship" and reading "Chickenhawk" would always stand me in good
stead when it came to the final countdown).
So, here we are, cruising around looking for neutron bomb parts.
Just select the VDU button on the control panel and the location
of the next part is shown. It's 44,-10 and you're 0,0. Christ!
It's miles away. Maybe a chopper wasn't such a good idea after
all. Wait a minute something's firing at me - do a bit of dodging
and try to get a lock on to it - oh no! I've been hit! *$#$!.
Still, the animated 'craft destroyed' sequence is good. Must try
After getting blasted out of the skies and off the ground I'm
beginning to suspect that I should start thinking about what is
going wrong. My strategy is simple. Get a fighter up there and
destroy any lurking fighters and choppers. Next, load a stealth
bomber with a transporter (I forgot to mention these little gems,
once in position it will zap your ground craft to within grabbing
distance of the goodies) and fly to as near the desired co-
ordinates as possible and deposit said transporter.
Now zap a tank across the ether and grab the said part, which is
automatically beamed back to base (none of 'the dilithium
crystals canny tak it captin'). Do that five times and Bob's your
uncle. Complete and utter world domination.
At your disposal it's possible to have six craft on the go at
the same time, guidance beacons and the odd shot at their
defences and power lines to slow them down a bit.
The only drawback is the top siders are too piggin' good. I've
never managed to get three craft on the go at any one time and
when you've been scraping a bit the area around your base does
tend to become congested with the enemy queuing to take pot shots
Graphically the game is very good. The craft are nicely drawn
and can be viewed from any angle and distance as an alternative
to the normal forward/left/right/rear views. Satellite views are
also given but I never could understand why. When shot down there
is an impressive animated display of the fighter (or whatever)
doing its swan dive, with smoke trailing out behind. You can also
fly/drive past the still smoking wreckage of previously failed
"Armour Geddon" is first and foremost strategy game in the mould
of "Carrier Command". It has better graphics and runs smooth and
fast, even if there is a dearth of ground features. It may not
appeal to flight sim enthusiasts as there is not too much to do
with flying, ie get up to speed and pull back on the throttle, no
undercarriage, flaps etc. to worry about. Arcade freaks will be
put off as you can't just sit down start blasting everything that
So, who will enjoy "Armour Geddon"? Anyone who played "Carrier
Command" or the strategy games player who likes a little
flight/ground craft sim thrown in. It's definitely not one of the
worst games I have played and I wouldn't feel ripped off after
"Armour Geddon" is a desirable game despite the naff scenario
and terrible pun.
Title: Armour Geddon
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.