What began as a conflict over the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machine has escalated into a war that has decimated a million worlds. The Core and the Arm have all but exhausted the resources of the entire galaxy in their struggle for domination. Choose your side, build an army, and crush your enemies on huge, three-dimensional battlefields. And remember, there is no such thing as "too many guns"!
ATI/AMD compatibility notice: Total Annihilation: Commander Pack requires graphic card drivers version 13.4 or older.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: TEEN with Animated Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard.
Minimum system requirements (Mac): OS X 10.6.8 or later. Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz+ Memory: 1GB of RAM Graphics: 64MB of video memory Recommended two-button mouse, or Apple mouse with Secondary Button / Secondary Click enabled.
Posted on 2010-08-17 06:51:38 byzebber:
Total Annihilation is a game that bucked a lot of trends in the RTS genre, and came away far far better for doing it. Let's break it down:
The soundtrack is an excellent place to start, as it will be among the first parts of the game you experience. Simply put, this is some of Jeremy Soule's finest work. Search around for the game's intro on the streaming video site of yourread more choice, and enjoy. Even better, the soundtrack is used dynamically in-game, switching to more energetic tracks when battles swing into high gear and mellowing when things are calm.
But how about gameplay mechanics? This is among the first games that found the older "resources and the peons/workers/units that harvest them" mechanic tiresome. You do not build drones or engineers and sic them on a pile of slowly decreasing resources. Instead, you set up structures that gather or produce resources at certain rates. The idea is that the structure will not run out of the resource, it just collects it at a certain speed. For people who have only ever sent harvesters out to collect, this might seem dangerously unbalanced, but I assure you it isn't. You might have infinite resources to collect, but you're gathering them at a slow, automatic rate. There's also a number of ways to gather resources. For energy, you can build solar collectors, or if water is available, tidal generators, or fusion plants can be built. For metal, there are different sized mining structures, and an interesting set of buildings that make metal from extremely large amounts of energy. And of course you can scavenge both from the battlefield, if things are especially tight.
For unit behaviors, you have several options readily available in the hud, dictating how aggressive or indifferent to enemies they are, allowing you to avoid the issue of a patrol that foolishly chases an enemy all the way back to their base. Also, when units fire and attack, they use different arcs and trajectories for their shots. Some units fire in high arcs, able to go over hills and obstacles, while others fire in straight lines. Nearly every unit can miss when it fires, as well, which adds a welcome bit of realism. In addition, there's often a real sense of scope to unit ranges. This isn't a game that has artillery that fires a third of the way across your screen; you'll be firing that stuff across the map.
There are a number of different maps available: worlds made entirely of metal, or fully submerged water worlds. Island maps or dense jungles. Fights among toxic explosive plants. All different maps, and many requiring a fully different set of tactics and units.
Bringing me to perhaps the biggest positive, the units themselves. Speaking plainly, there's a crap load. The Core Contingency expansion adds even more. Fully fleshed out navies (not just one or two ship types), a host of infantry mechs and vehicles, radar jammers, amphibious units ("are those tanks coming out of the water?!), aircraft, hovercraft, and a collection of advanced structures that really add flavor. And the developers, in a very unique idea that I have yet to see replicated in modern games, made it relatively easy to add custom units made by users freely to the game. While some games were allowing the creation of maps, this game did that and more. Users can create their own models and behaviors for units and add them into the game. Search around, and you will find enormous quantities of units and packs of units if you're a fan of customizing your game.
To be fair, if the game had a weak spot, it would be story. The story is fairly simple, and acts mostly as an excuse to blow things to bits. You won't be seeing a cutscene every mission. Briefings are simply delivered, with a small bit of flavor text, an objective, a little narration, and then you go. There are no hero units (other than your nameless Commander unit) to rally around. I usually miss heavy story elements in games, but this game delivers heavily enough on the gameplay side of things you'll be hard-pressed to notice.
In the end, this is a great example of what the RTS genre needed, rather than pumping out clones of other games with slightly different skins.
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Posted on 2010-08-17 08:33:11 bykrogers:
I spend ages playing this when it came out - it may lack the cut-scenes and plot from its C&C and Starcraft contemporaries, but it more than made up for it in innovative features - queuing commands, radar warfare with scanners and jammers, workable defences including artillery worthy of the name, the wonderfully animated hordes of unit types done in full 3d....
Andread more it still scales brilliantly on modern computers - more units, bigger maps, more annihilation!
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Posted on 2010-08-20 11:18:04 byrossrjensen:
My first experience with RTS games was with Warcraft 2. Soon after that, I found Command and Conquer. Both were great games that I played for countless hours each. I blindly purchased Total Annihilation on a whim after checking out its box shortly after it was released. It was released at the same time as Age of Empires, another RTS I enjoyed. Suffice it to say,Total Annhilationread more blew them all away and is still somehow more enjoyable to play than modern RTS games.
First of all, let me outline some of the elements within Total Annihilation that set it apart from other games when it was released and then discuss why it is still the best of its kind today.
Total Annihilation was the first game of its type to successfully utilize 3D environments. The terrain is filled with destructable objects such as trees that you can use to gather energy from or just let become part of the devastation of battle. The environment plays a big role in Total Annihilation. Gaining the high ground in a skirmish game and building a powerful defensive weapon can completely make the difference. The 3D world affects how missiles are projected and the graphics hold up, even by today's standards.
The scale of Total Annihilation is huge. The battles are constant, massive, and utterly epic. Every battle will leave behind scars in the form of a graveyard of wreckage, which can in turn be harvested to gather metal resources or destroyed by the next battle wave. The variety of weapons is also astounding. Even in the original, stand-alone game there was a plethora of options. I was always fond of the Cans and/or Lugers on land, and Brawlers in the air. My favorite defensive weapon is the Annihilator, which, as I mentioned before, is incredibly effective when placed upon a large hill with some defenders to protect it from air attacks.
Some of the maps are incredibly huge, especially considering the time it was released. You basically have the flexibility to create as epic of a matchup as you want. Amazingly, being able to select as many units as you wanted to wasn't a standard element of RTS games at this time, Warcraft and Starcraft being major culprits of this. Total Annihilation finally spared us of that ridiculous little roadblock, allowing you to select as many units as you could see. This is another little element that helps you realize the massive scale of the game.
Despite it's size and scale, Total Annihilation somehow manages to stay personal. Every unit under your control keeps a tally of how many kills it has. If it single-handedly gets over five, it gains veteran status. This small and seemingly irrelevant feature makes the game just a little more personal and it was something just not seen in RTS games at this time. You'll care for your veterans and probably want to see just how far their skills can be taken by keeping them alive longer than the average cannon fodder.
The resource system was quite different than most games at the time and gives the game a uniqueness unmatched until the release of Supreme Commander. In Total Annihilation, there are only two resources, metal and energy. Rather than gathering them and building up a stockhold to use later, you are expected to balance the constant amount you are using with the amount you are gathering (for example, you'd want to be gathering more metal, +20, than the amount you are currently using, -15). You can build storage buildings to store a greater amount and provide greater flexibility or padding for times of need, but it's not necessary for building a strong army and defense. However, if you don't keep a balance, you can run in to some serious problems. Running out of energy will severely inhibit your ability to build things, especially since your metal extractors require energy to work. More commonly, you'll run into issues of running out of metal, which is gathered at a slower rate. Keeping a balance between resources is absolutely key to winning the game, especially if you're playing another human opponent (who likely won't make the same mistake as you and won't hesitate to punish you).
Total Annihilation is very customizable and still has a huge, active community. If, despite my insistence that the graphics hold up well today, you're unconvinced and think it needs an upgrade, you can download graphical enhancements that will allow you to zoom in and out and change views while providing higher resolution and texturing. There is also an incredible amount of maps and new units that can be downloaded or created (for the adventurous type). I would also be willing to bet that you'll always be able to find a multiplayer counterpart, though I mostly stick to playing over LAN with friends. Large and active communities, especially for older games, are always a testament to a game that has transcended time.
For all the great things that Total Annihilation offers, I have two things to warn people about. One, I would recommend starting with vanilla Total Annihilation. There is so much content added with the expansions and especially with the downloadable units that you may be overwhelmed. As a seasoned Total Annihilation player, I was completely out of my league playing with a downloadable unit pack simply because I didn't know what units were effective and what buildings did what. Second, Total Annihilation is not about building a society (no Sim City elements). In other games, such as Age of Empires and games similar to it, your "civilization" really just serves as a way to advance, gather resources, and build a stronger army, making it not much different than Total Annihilation. However, those games do like to put an emphasis on building up a society even if it's nothing more than a red herring. In Total Annihilation, the focus is simply smiting your enemies with as much force as possible.
All of my friends that played Total Annihilation ten years ago still prefer to play it than firing up a game of its unofficial sequel Supreme Commander, which feels somehow less personal to them. Though it's hard to explain this phenomena completely, I tend to blame this on the tactical zooming feature - something is lost when you're not in the firefights up close and personal. Being a seasoned RTS fan having played everything from the Warcrafts, Rise of Nations, Starcrafts, Age of Empires, Command and Conquers, Supreme Commanders, Company of Heroes, and Empire Earths of the genre, I must say that Total Annilation stands head and shoulders above the rest.
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