12_2Like the great-looking but ultimately lackluster Incoming (1998), AquaNox is ultimately better at showing off the capabilities of your machine’s rendering power than the game design capabilities of its developers. As a sequel to the 1997 submarine shooter Archimedean Dynasty, AquaNox brings back Emerald “Dead Eye†Flint, a sort of Han Solo of the deep sea, only not as exciting. The story is mildly compelling, but the dialogue is delivered via poorly drawn cartoon characters and truly god-awful voice actors.

The combat is more involving than the story, fortunately. The default control setup is for the standard mouse/keyboard layout, although there’s also joystick support. AquaNox’s 30 missions are short and easy: you can just circle-strafe and press madly on the mouse button to destroy most enemies and installations. The AI won’t slow you down either, as enemies never act intelligently and aren’t very good shots.

So what does this game have going for it? Well, it delivers the sort of graphics that were top of the line in its day. It’s simply stunning to look at. Sadly, in addition to the crap voice acting, the game’s techno beats will have you either tapping your toes or (like me) turning off the music altogether. AquaNox isn’t exactly bad, but it just doesn’t have the solid story and gameplay needed to make this tech demo into a full-fledged game.

System Requirements: Pentium III 600 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB Video, Win98

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