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AquaNox is actually the second game in the Aqua series, another franchise that was ever "dumbed down" in each epoch to pander to mainstream sensibilities (...or more likely corporate mismanagement).
The first and less known game of the franchise was Archimedean Dynasty in 1996. It was a complex TIE-fighter clone with small and fast submarines in the underwater dystopia of Aqua. (Earth after the surface has been nuked into a big pile of slag). Players assumed the role of Emerald "Deadeye" Flint, mercenary for hire and unrepentant womanizer. You could travel between various stations in each area and take side-missions beside plot-critical ones or just chat up another girl in town - which could lead to important info every once in a while.
Fast forward a couple of years. 3D accelerator cards have overtaken graphics and GPUs became the standard. Riding on this new wave of graphical perfomance was the second installment of the Aqua series.
In the name of accessibility several things changed:
The complex in combat sub management of the 1st game abolished in favor of FPS controls.
The graphics were gorgeous (the game was NVidia's showman piece).
The plot was strictly linear, you could no longer take side-missions.
Is the game good? I think good enough is an understatement, but the best I could come up with. Thankfully the game's also somewhat hard, so action fans will be delighted to cut their teeth on it. Though a strict by the book point-and-shoot game (without the varied environment, events or physics gimmicks that has become the staple of FPS-es) it can hold its own, by giving varied objectives or just plain 'ol keeping you on the edge of your seat with fast and furious action.
However fans of the earlier game are disappointed and new "fans" might also be put off by the mishmash of how the game tries to build ambiance and story between action. In the old game - strictly in text, as a CD could hold only so much - you read evocative prose both mundane and heroic on how people perceived the world around them.
This hard-boiled, over the top writing is also present in Aquanox. Some of the time it hits the mark. The people of Aqua are just a bit insane, maniacal lot and the style lends itself well to convey this. However without the context of less over the top conversations - like how Flint took some mundane missions or a situation based on good old extortion - the acting can be tacky and will leave new fans exasperated while old fans would just shrug in embarrassment.
All in all, Aquanox is a good action game with some good story elements to go with it, even if the execution is hampered by the linear and dumbed down delivery.
Recommended for Aqua fans and check out Archimedean Dynasty to get the whole picture.
Sequel, nem sequal
Really good review.
I had thought this one was the original, which got extremely good reviews when it came out. Glad I know the difference now.
Might or might not buy it anyway as I love undersea settings. But if so, I'll be glad not to do that with my hopes too high.
I actually wanted the game to end after some missions and was quite happy when it did. The biggest helper I found, that enabled me the game completion was when I discovered that you can end dialogue instantly by hitting "esc" key.
And as the plot was dull and linear the whole "click on all possible dialogue options before next mission" became less irritating.
As for the simulation the missions were fine but nothing special.
The only really good thing I found is that it triggered me to replay Archimedean Dynasty which is AWESOME.
Personally, I wonder why we don't have AD on here. Are the rights to it owned by another publishing company?
Prator: Personally, I wonder why we don't have AD on here. Are the rights to it owned by another publishing company?

The fact that GOG has Aquanox, an averagely seen game in terms of review scores, sales, and 'classic' status, and yet we don't have the original Archimedean Dynasty, aclassic in every sense of the word, with 90% reviews, great sales and a generally loved title, show how GOG's high ideals of classic games is getting weakened and diluted.
I just hope they continue to get real classics as well as these 'average 'old games'..!
Note: I do own original copies of Archimedean Dynasty, Aquanox and Aquanox 2, so I have played them all and remember how they were all received at the time they were released. A.D. came in a nice big box with cut-out '3D' front, and the next two came in boring DVD cases with boring manuals. Says it all really!
Post edited May 15, 2010 by UK_John
Solid it might be but I'm quite disappointed with the combat. For a game with 'aqua' in its title that plays under water I would expect at least a hint of sub combat feel.
Archimedean Dynasty seems to be UBI and since they have some titles here I don't see why they would hold back on it.
Ah yes, I wish GOG would bring back Archimedean Dynasty. One of my favourite PC games of all time… and people still look at me oddly when I mention the name.
I never did play AquaNox back in the day — it had no distributor in my part of the world. Maybe I ought to pick it up now and give it a bash. But the mention of FPS-like controls does not inspire confidence.
BTW: The original german title of Archimedean Dynasty was "Schleichfahrt" (aka Silent Running).
It boasted "HiColor"-Mode ( ~32,000 colors IIRC used instead of the standard 256) and later a 3DFX-version was released also.
See [url=][/url].