Battle Engine Aquila

Battle Engine Aquila

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DEVELOPER: Lost Toys   |   PUBLISHER: Atari   |   RELEASE: 01/20/2003

In the ever growing genre of mech games it takes something special to truly stand out. Some games attempt customization, some focus more on action, and some even try to add stealth elements. The fact of the matter is what made games like Armored Core, Slave Zero, and Robotech so much fun is that they focused on game play mechanics. Battle Engine Aquila finally breaks the mold and delivers a fun mech shooter with enough innovation and style to separate itself from the pack of crap laying on your game store shelves today. But you don’t have to take my word for it…err well I would like you to let me put it that way.

Visually BAQ is quite impressive, showcasing the current wave of technology the game runs a blistering frame rate and uses many onscreen objects. The environments manage to avoid the usual blandness that appears on most games of it’s type. The XBox version also displays the infamous water the system is know for. As I mentioned a bit ago the amount of onscreen enemies is impressive, drop ships flood the skies while troops on foot circle your Battle Engine on the ground, it reminds me of Braveheart only in the future of course..with uhh big ships and well you get the idea. Anyways all of this is presented in smooth as ice animation and the frame rate rarely drops. Sure the PS2 version suffers from some muddy textures and a lower resolution but overall a damn fine looking game.

The music in BAQ is catchy, I say this because the title screen loop just makes me want to dance. The military style hymns mixed with some techno flavor truly give the game a unique audio flare. The in-game music also sets the dynamic mood and makes you feel like you are the star in one of those science fiction save the world because your it’s last hope kind of flicks. The sound effects are also pounding, explosions rattle your sofa as the world seems to implode when using the right setup. Explosions haven’t sounded or looked this good since Colony Wars on the Playstation. The Xbox version blares this in true Dolby Digital but the PS2 version still rocks the house with Pro Logic!

Your Battle Engine, as it’s so precisely named, is very versatile. It can cover ground and air while blasting baddies and saving the world. The only perplexing issue is that it cannot go into water, and when you play the game you will no doubt be intrigued to take a dive at least once. I know I did LOL. Anyways the control setup is very similar to any FPS game, the left analog stick moves you forward and back as well as strafing, the right stick is used for aiming. This covers ground movement and while in air the controls are very similar. The catch to going airborne is that your power will only allow you to take flight for a certain amount of time, then you must land to replenish it.

This game is chock full of goodies to uncover as well as some multi-player mayhem to boot. There are tons of developer photos, sketches, promo art, and level designs awaiting your unlocking. The best reason to keep playing BAQ though is definitely the multi-player, it has co-op baby! This is another feature we here at ZTGD cannot express enough how much we love and wish every developer would include. Being able to conquer the game with your buddy make playing through the game more than once so much better. This ups the replay value and keeps this game in the upper tier of greatness.

In the end Lost Toys has been able to achieve something most developers fail miserably at. Making a fun, addicting mech shooter that actually warrants playing through. I haven’t had this much fun blowing up tons of enemies since I was blasting away the hoards of ships in Omega Boost. A very compelling storyline keeps the game flowing and interesting while the truly epic battles make you feel as if you are really there. A very solid title that deserves to be noticed and cherished. It could be a long time until we see another mech shooter worthy of this kind of recognition! Highly Recommended!

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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