Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire logo Amiga Computing Silver Award

Can this planet really be worth saving after a holocaust courtesy of the bomb? Better ask the nuclear family or join Simon Clays for a perusal of Armour-Geddon 2.


Someone explain to me why computer programmers and software houses are intent on the destruction of our mother earth? Practically every sci-fi-come-cyberpunk title pictures man fighting among himself, or at least mutated post-holocaust versions of himself. If he's not doing that he's fighting off hoards of grotesque aliens whose solitary aim is to dominate and rape our planet.

Consider this. By the time any of the aforementioned attempt their masterplan of global domination there'll be nothing of any worth left dominating. That is unless your average alien-come-mutated homo-sapian enjoys toxic rich carbon monoxide poisoned air that you can cut with a knife. Or revels at the thought of basking in the glare of a sun that tans your skin until it falls off.

Anyway, this topic still attracts a great deal of attention and probably always will. Let's hope that software houses keep up their optimistic stance concerning the future of our world.
Remember, titles about saving your planet give you a warmer glow than a hole in the ozone layer.


The year is 2083, and the planet is up to its stratosphere in trouble. Some 70 years previous the forces of EDEN (Earth Defence Network) and the radiation ravaged surface dwellers had pushed mankind within inches of total annihilation.

Fortunately for the human race, the Hellfire satellite malfunctioned before it could wreak havoc on the remnants of society.
Hellfire, being the last weapon of mass destruction known to mankind factions on both sides, started to believe that civilization may have earned itself a reprieve.

Thoughts of this nature were soon lost when it was realised that the Hellfire satellite was retrievable. Now EDEN's mission is to use all of its land and air forces in a bid to destroy it.
Unfortunately, EDEN's enemies, the surface dwellers, have other ideas. They want to bring Hellfire back to earth and use its power to destroy EDEN once and for all.

Controlling EDEN's forces, your task is to capture the installations necessary to develop a pod to destroy Hellfire.



Armour-geddon takes it name from the Armageddon of biblical fame. Found in the New Testament, Armageddon is the place where the final battle between the nations that will end the world take place. The book of Revelations languishes heavily on this topic, and some take the view that this apocalyptic book is an insight into the future demise of mankind. Armageddon will, according to Revelations, be instigated by the Anti-Christ who will fool world leaders into following him.

Revelations features many other important icons associated with hell and the Devil. The most obvious are references to '666', though there are many other images of multi-headed serpents and other such beasts.



Because of the nature of Armour-geddon 2, it relies strongly on sound effects as opposed to in-game sounds. Each craft you pilot has a different sound effect, as you might expect.

While the jets and helicopters have the desired effect and manage to convince you of their authenticity, some of the tanks and all terrain vehicles make you believe you are piloting a Flymo.




Armour-geddon 2 uses a polygon-based 3D environment to create the world of EDEN. It also boasts an extremely swift 3D engine, which updates itself with remarkably little judder. However, while it may well be fast and smooth, the landscapes are simple and not particularly detailed. Compared with say, Gunship 2000, there are no undulating landscapes or any variation of colour in the terrain.

A nice touch is the way in which nightfall comes to your 3D world. Instead of the usual it's night-it's-day-routine, the sky actually dims into darkness before the stars paint your views. Within the engine for the 3D is the obligatory external camera, missile and tower views. These again are very smooth, look nice, make good screen shots, but little else aside.

Armour-geddon 2 is a very slick title and has an appealing look to it. From the moment the introduction kicks in, the game convinces you that it's been worth the money.

Within the structure of the 3D battleground are what we'll term the battle management screens. Here Psygnosis have given us both clear, concise and user-friendly screens to deploy EDEN's forces and control the tech department.




Psygnosis have come on a long way since Armour-geddon. While Codename Hellfire resembles the original Armour-geddon graphically, the similarities end there. Perhaps the largest improvement is the missions generator. In the original, your craft had one overriding objective; find the atom bomb ( a must at kiddies parties). Now the campaign is staged through a variety of missions, with each mission having objectives which collectively meet the overall criteria for victory.

The conflict has left munitions and raw materials at a minimum, so a mission asking for the capture of a refinery or manufacturing plant will have very positive effects on the war effort. We could compare aspects of Armour-gedon 2 with its older brother all day, but how does it stand up in the face of other releases?

The answer is pretty well. Armour-geddon 2 is a large title with many aspects to it, if you're hungry enough for it. It's not the type of title you can just pick up and go for a trundle around in, because you won't last two minutes. If you're to be successful then you need to plan tactics, while thinking ahead about what equipment to research and develop.

It's this aspect that puts Armour-geddon ahead of many of its rivals. In the end it comes out as a blend of simulation and strategy, and lovers of these genres should enjoy Armour-geddon for months to come.

Perhaps one small niggle is the flight simulation aspect of the game. While it's appreciated that these are imaginary craft of the future, the planes seem capable of pulling the most incredible 'G's when banking or diving.
That aside Armour-geddon 2 has plenty to offer.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire logo

In the last episode, post apocalyptic Earth was involved in a bitter struggle. Mutated surface-dwellers want to destroy the underground dwellers and vice versa. Te ultimate goal is a doomsday device circling the planet. Both sides are constructing rockets which can reach this device and unleash its awesome power on their enemy. Now read on...

You may imagine that this is just an excuse for mindless violence. Violence, yes - heatseeking missiles tearing through armour plating, expensive aircraft disrupting at a molecular level - but this is violence with a modicum of cunning.

Sure, you have vehicles and weapons, but not many. The key is to gather resources and factory capacity so that you can build more weapons. There are plenty of factories and mines scattered around, but most are occupied, so your first judgement must be how many units you can afford to spend capturing these mines.

You have a team of scientists to develop new weapons and refine existing ones. When you 'liberate' some territory, more scientists will become available.

These cunning scientists have invented a teleport device with which you can travel vast distances without using any fuel (many vehicles have a limited range). Teleport devices are quite robust and can be carried and left at your destination by a number of vehicles, including bomber aircraft.

A useful early mission then, is to load up your bomber and fly as far into enemy territory as you can. Just before you get taken out, drop the teleport. Then the tanks can move in.

The ultimate goal is to capture and refit a rocket launching site from which to recapture the satellite. To aid you in this, you have many types of vehicle - tanks, hovercraft, helicopters and airships - and piloting each is a game in itself.

All of them have different attributes and are piloted in different ways. The helicopter can take off and hover, tanks' turrets move independently of the direction they are travelling, airships are sluggish. However, the controls are more or less generic, so it's not like learning a new flight sim every time you step into a new vehicle. Echoes of that Mike Singleton classic Ashes here.

There are four skill levels including a training mode, which is especially useful, because the game can easily be over before you've worked out what's going on.

Perhaps I'm getting old, but to succeed at this game you have to swap between up to six vehicles, blasting, bombing and planning as you go, virtually incessantly - I can only take about 20 minutes without having to sit down with a Valium sandwich. Like the classic Carrier Command, it is demanding.

There are many ways you can play it, though, and each is very satisfying. The filled 3D animation is good, and as a sort of Ashes/Carrier Command/Millennium 2.2 mixture, it's a surprisingly decent game.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire logo

Vor zweieinhalb Jahren versuchte sich Psygnosis mit dem Vorgänger erstmals an einer SF-Simulation - und bei dem damals erzielten Achtungserfolg hätten es die Liverpooler auch besser belassen...

Seinerzeit mußte ja die durch den atomaren Holocaust geteilte Menschheit wieder vereint werden, 70 Jahre später herrscht nun erneut dicke Luft: Anno 2083 haben Anarchisten den Vernichtungssatelliten Hellfire unter ihre Kontrolle gebracht und bedrohen damit den Rest der Bevölkerung.

Aber zum Glück gibt's ha noch EDEN ("Earth Defense Network"), eine Organisation, die über genügend Waffen, Panzer, Flieger etc. verfügt, um die Sache wieder ins Lot zu bringen.

Der Spieler soll alle Aktionen von EDEN koordinieren, wofür ihm anfangs nur eine sehr begrenzte Menge an militärischer Hardware zu Gebote steht. Um das Endziel, den Bau einer Rakete zur Zerstörung des Hellfire-Satelliten, zu erreichen, müssen deshalb zunächst allerlei Fabriken und Rohstoffminen erobert werden.

Durch derlei Aktionen lassen sich so nebenbei auch gleich der Fuhrpark und das Waffenarsenal von EDEN vergrößerden bzw. wieder auffüllen. Konkret können all die Tanks, Lkws, Hubschrauber und Flieger nach und nach mit Lasern, Bomben, Granaten, Radarstrahlenablenkern oder Teleportern aufgerüstet werden, wobei manche der technischen Gimmicks allerdings erst von den Wissenschaftlern entwickelt werden wollen.

Die Hauptaufgabe besteht jedoch im Steuern der diversen Vehikel, und das meist im direkten Kampfeinsatz, während man simplere (Aufklärungs-) Aufgaben getrost dem Autopiloten überlassen kann.

Dabei sind nicht nur die eigenen Aufträge zu erledigen, bei denen es überwiegend um das Erobern der feindlichen Fabriken geht, nein, auch die Kampfverbände des Gegners sind nicht faul.

Daneben gibt's eine zoombare 3D-Karte, auf der bis zu sechs Einheiten gleichzeitig zu befehligen sind - sobald es hart auf hart kommt, legt man aber doch besser selbst Hand an.

Die Schlachten präsentieren sich am Screen in genau der gleichen tristen Optik wie beim Vorgänger; hier mal ein Klötzchengebäude, dort ein Polygonflieger und dazwischen viel braune Wüste.

Dazu ertönt alle Jubeljahre mal ein Soundeffekt, und das war's auch schon. Immerhin sind die 3D-Routinen selbst auf Standard-Amigas fast schon zu schnell, und die Tastatursteuerung (von Maus & Stick sei dringend abgeraten) ist logisch aufgebaut.

Man hätte über die antiquierte Aufmachung also hinwegsehen können, bekäme man es hier im Grunde nicht erneut nur mit sechs recht ähnlichen Schmalspur-Simulationen zu tun.

Der Hubschrauber fliegt nämlich etwa so, wie der Panzer sich lenkt und der Bomber bombt; zudem "hängen" die Fahrzeuge manchmal an den Gebäuden fest, und oft genug düst man stundenlang völlig unbehelligt durchs Gelände.

Fazit: Was man anno 1991 gerade noch so durchgehen lassen konnte, wirkt heute bloß noch museal; Armour Geddon II ist ein Spiel von vorgestern. (mic)

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire logo

Cam was over-joyed when another tank game arrived at AP central. He loves them.

Hmm. I can see this game getting huge marks in other mags simply because it's big and looks good, and reviewers are prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. However, I've played it for four days now and still find it confusing, and no game should be that user-hostile.

I'll concede that it's big and that by only completing about a third of the 20 odd missions, I'm bound to have missed out on loads of exciting things that happen later on, but the simple truth's that I find it infuriating to play.

I hate designing something and the being told here aren't enough minerals to build it. I hate having to find the EACT point of an enemy base to park my tank so that it'll have been captured by my side. What's wrong with just getting armour into the general area ( you know, within a yard, say)? I'm annoyed by the constant air presence of the enemy. If they've got so may planes, why don't they just bomb me into oblivion? It looks good, it's vast, and I'm glad that I'll never have to play it again.

Picture the scene - it's the post-apocalypse year 2083 and an uneasy peace exists between the horribly mutated surface survivors and the clean skinned bunker-dwellers. As you can imagine, the mutants hate the underworlders because they haven't had their DNA ravaged by the nuclear holocaust of 1997, and the underworlders in their lead-lined bunkers hat 'them upstairs' because they're icky to look at, with hands growing out of their heads and teeth running along their forearms, or should that be four arms? Hoo-hoo, nothing like a good mutant gag. I always say.

The original Armour-Geddon (AP1, 87%) was based around the first conflict between these two, and you had to race against the clock to pick up the parts of a neutron bomb to use against the mutants, otherwise they'd unleash particle beam death from the Hellfire SDI satellite orbiting the planet. The sequel's set 70 years later, when it's just been discovered that the Hellfire satellite's still up there and just needs a battery charge and oil change. Once again (ta-da-da-da-daaaa!!!!) the race is on.

But wouldn't you just know it? Your people have been on a constant war footing for seven decades, but they haven't got enough weapons or factories to launch a full scale attack. In all that time, they haven't got round to developing vehicles past the 'lightly armoured, poorly armed, gas guzzling' stage or worked out how to manufacture cannon shells that do more than plop pathetically into the strontium-laced sand 30 metres in front of your tank.

So you not only have to grab enemy factories, but also develop and build weapons against the clock. It's a crap premise, and the review clock starts ticking down from this point.

You start off with a base and a few feeble vehicles. The game's mission structure starts you off on a simple task and builds up to all-out combat and space rocket construction. Along the way, you capture enemy factories and mines, build more weapons and expand across the map. Mission one's simply to capture an unguarded enemy base, but even this highlights many of the strengths and nearly all the weaknesses of the game.

If you want a vehicle to have a chance of surviving on the surface, it needs to be well developed with powerful weaponry, so R&D is task one. You just choose an item (e.g. light tank, teleporter, mini-missiles) assign some scientists to the job and then wait until they get developed from stage one (low range, power draining, heavy) to stage three (light, fuel efficient, powerful) before going on to build it. It's easy to sue, and it's also completely boring.

Another task is to supply the production plant with raw materials from the mines. Looking at the tactical map, you can see the position of the main base/factory complex as a green blob, but it took me ages to realise that there's amine right next to it. Wouldn't it have been sensible to colour mines and bases different colours? I think so. To fix a supply route you drag the mouse from mine to base (a distance of some two pixels in this case), and they link with a pulsing line. Fascinating.

Particle beam death from the Hellfire SDI satellite

You can then manufacture anything you've researched (providing you've got enough raw materials, of course) and launch up to six vehicles onto the battlefield at any one time. Each vehicle has equipment mounts onto which you can bolt weapons, night sights, cloaking devices or fuel tanks, and then you're ready for war... an extremely pretty 3D polygon desert. If you're in a tank, you trundle across it, if it's a hovercraft you rise slightly as you start the engine and the cruise across it, and if you're in a plane, you can sail over it and frequently crash into it, so top marks for the 3D modellers.

What do you do in this terrific 3D landscape? Well, you drive around (obviously) and marvel as the colour fades from the scene and night falls. Then you either switch to your night sight and continue to drive through an eerie green darkness, or you curse your lack of image intensification and sit in the darkness getting bombed until dawn.

If you've got your missile systems select, then they automatically blast away at air threats, which leaves you free to zap ground targets with lasers, shells (which are a bit useless) or rockets. If you're in the air, you can strafe enemy amour with unguided rockets, or bomb them, although I found this terribly hard.

The combat's sort of souped-up Battlezone, but the added complication detracts from stalking your enemy rather than adds to the enjoyment. It's just so full of targets that I was left thoroughly confused. You're never sure which enemy to shoot at next, there's just so many of them out there.

Come to think of it, I was confused by the entire game, as it really doesn't seem to know what it's supposed to be. The R&D and mining elements make it seem very strategic, but you can't implement these strategies without battling your way across the surface in the 3D sections. The fact that you've got six vehicles to control's baffling as well mainly due to a particularly ineffective waypoint-based automatic pilot that's supposed to allow six craft to function simultaneously.

The waypoints are hard to use because there's no clear map of the game area, only the horribly cramped tactical map I mentioned earlier, and a pretty rotating map showing enemy armour and planes. Pretty useless that is. Like I said at the beginning, expect other reviews to make it high because they think it'll be good once you get into it but ignore the fact that you probably won't want to. Trust us on this. We're professional.


Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
What does it look like? It's a tank. Obviously.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
And so's this. Whare you, stupid, or what?

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
Multiple launch rocket thing, handy for defence.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
Truck. Great for blocking roads at weekends.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
Cuts the time for channel crossings by half.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
Dresden, Hanoi, Coventry and Hiroshima.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
Silk scarves and leather jackets. Tally ho Ginger!

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
Fast and light, great weapons platform, etc.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire
The ultimate in base defence apparently.

Armour-Geddon 2: Codename Hellfire logo CU Amiga Screen Star

It's been a long time coming, but Andy Nuttall reckons that the all-new Armour-Geddon 2 was worth the wait. No, really.

What is it about Armour-Geddon 2 that I find so maddeningly addictive? On the one hand it's a kind of extended flight sim, using all the known MicroProse-style techniques to make you believe you're actually in the air (or rolling along the ground, should you be commanding one of the many ground craft available).

On the other, it's a sheer test of nerve and reflexes, as you attempt to juggle between controlling one craft and up to five others simultaneously. Not easy. And on the, ah, third hand, it's packed with strategy as you attempt to rid the world of the disgusting Hellfire.

It's the future, you see, and Hellfire is an intelligent defence satellite which once threatened to cloak the earth in a nuclear shroud. At the last moment just before it pressed the metaphorical 'red button', it malfunctioned and the Earth Defence Network (EDEN) breathed a collective sigh of relief. Now, though, it has begun its countdown to doom again, but this time EDEN, and you, are determined to be ready for the onslaught.

The idea behind Armour-Geddon 2 is to build a rocket which can destroy Hellfire before it does more damage. At your disposal you have a number of air and land craft, some capable of fighting, some carrying cargo. Somehow you have to use all of your resources to mix together all the available components from all around the planet, and create this rocket which could just save Earth.

The Hellfire's cunning, though, and has control of a whole army of fighter planes and ground attack vehicles, hell bent on stopping your mission. However, if you can beat these enemies and gain control of their bases, you will capture extra resources (and technology) all of which will help you create a bigger and much more efficient rocket.

The vehicles at your disposal aren't difficult to control (except the helicopter, obviously), and I reckon it's possible to complete the game using each vehicle separately. It's definitely advisable, though, to multi-task and get used to controlling more than one at the same time.

Some of the journeys you're likely to make will be shorter than others - moving the larger components of your rocket, for example, will need a good long journey by land - and while that motors along the landscape it's useful to have at least one aircraft solely to defend it against enemy attack.

Longer journeys can be set via a series of coordinates on the main map screen. The craft will then begin moving, and make its way towards your marked destination. Although the vehicles carrying valuable cargo will be armour-plated, you can place guns and other weapons on them so that if they do happen to get stranded in the middle of the desert, at least they're not a sitting target waiting for the enemy to come along.

Each of the vehicles can be equipped with a variety of weapons and support kit. In addition to the usual list of lasers, there's a range of missiles and nice technical add-ons like night-sights, cloaking devices and teleporters.

Of course, as with all the best games of this type, you're not just handed these weapons on a plate. In fact, most of them are unavailable at the start of the game; instead you have to plough money into the inventions screen, enabling your scientists to busily invent new equipment as you progress.

The enemy is not passive though. It has an intelligent strategy for closing in on your base, knocking you out and saving Hellfire. This is where your strength as a strategist and tactician is tested. For the whole game you need to finely balance your attention between defence and attack, in a way those familiar with Dune 2 will recognise. Except, of course, Armour Geddon 2 is played out in excellent first-person 3D.

Armour-Geddon 2 is one of the most difficult games I've ever played, but also one of the most enjoyable. I haven't been tempted to burn the midnight oil to finish it, because I think that's a long way away, but for me it's a game which is nice to dip into every now and again.

The balance between shoot 'em up action, strategic manoeuvres and the economics of inventions is superb, making it an all-round game that has something to satisfy everybody.