Eurogamer Retro: Armed & Dangerous

By John Walker on June 21st, 2010 at 10:10 am.

I already made the trumpet joke on EG, and this game won't screengrab to get more shots!

How funny was Armed & Dangerous? Yes, yes it absolutely had the Land Shark Gun, and no one can dispute its magnificence, but what about the rest of the game? I took a look at the 2003 game for Eurogamer, and then wrote words about it in the correct order. Some were:

“The reception is all down to context. You know when a golfer makes a funny mime to the crowd when someone’s phone rings, and everyone falls about laughing? Context. It’s not funny. It’s just unexpected. Put that golfer on stage at an open mic comedy night and his hilarity would be put into cruel perspective. It’s just not okay, not after 3000 years of games being around, for something just not being completely humourless to be good enough. And it’s not that A&D is unfunny – not at all. It’s occasionally wry, often silly. But just not “hilarious”.”

And the rest are here.

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45 Comments »

  1. Frenz0rz says:

    Bought this when I was 13 after reading the review in PC Gamer. Brilliant, strange, random game that kept me entertained for quite some time. Damn, might dig it out this afternoon…

  2. TotalBiscuit says:

    It has a landshark gun. That is all that one needs to know.

    • DarkFenix says:

      The landshark gun was good, the topsy turvy bomb was better. That is all.

  3. Dreamhacker says:

    I remember swedish PC Gamer had an aspiring reviewer who bent over backwards to praise the game for it’s humour while trying to cover up that it gameplay-wise was a shit game. He ended the review saying something like “The humour ROCKS!” and giving it 50-60%.

    Man, I love score-less psuedo-reviews.

    • lhzr says:

      yes. the only thing that made the game worth playing were the cutscenes. so watch’em on youtube and skip the game.

  4. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    What I liked was that, on starting the game and running forwards looking for enemies, the very first thing you come across are some penguins. Just harmless penguins, sitting on a cliff, looking at the sea. I shot them, and they just sort of flumped over bathetically.

    A comment on life’n'stuff, or the existential tragedy of a gameworld that only allows interaction through violence, or a droll introduction to the new fangled ‘rag-doll’ physics the PR was boasting of?

    Judging by the bum based humour of much of the rest of the game, probably not.

  5. Geoff says:

    Armed and Dangerous isnt very good, in any way, the humour doesnt rock but Giants: Citizen Kabuto on the other hand…

    ‘Would you mind rescuin’ Timmy for me, for Im just an old man plus, me balls are saggy.’

    Really like that game! or maybe I just love jetpacks too much

    • dadioflex says:

      Played it, for a LOT of the main campaign.

      Did I finish it? No.

      Did I get my money’s worth? Hell, yes.

      It was flawed. The cut-scenes were fun. What’s the problem?

      Re: recent posts. If it was 8 bit, and had more weeping, it would be an indie masterpiece.

      As it is, it’s a fine game. But not great.

      Should you play it?

      Hell yes. At least until it bores you.

      Should you care that a game you’ve paid for bores you at less than half way through?

      No.

      But it won’t, it will take around the two thirds mark anyway.

    • dadioflex says:

      Actually read the Eurogamer piece. Hmm. Not getting it. A&D was funny. Funnier than Giants.

      Humor is a dangerous thing. It twists and turns in the grasp, might reach back to chew on your wrist while you’re holding it.

      YOUR idea of humor, may not be MY idea of humor.

      But, you know what IS funny?

      Armed and Dangerous.

      Regardless of race, creed or colour, all gamers will agree, Armed and Dangerous is a funny game.

      If you DON’T find it FUNNY, maybe you’re a gay, alien, robot, that hasn’t had its humor circuit “jiggled” in a while.

      Just a theory.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      Well, the eyeless cloud-forms of Nimbus Octen find farting to be the highest form of wit, robots have been observed giggling for hours while trying to express irrational numbers as fractions but, yes, gays are dangerous and broken creatures who have no sense of humuor.

      Just as you say.

  6. Barts says:

    I remember spending quite a lot of time with this game. Don’t know how, but I got in the mood and enjoyed it a lot, despite hard difficulty later on. When I tried to replay it some years later, I couldn’t get back in, somehow.

    Still, it had the shark gun:
    http://www.bartsnews.net/2008/12/shark-gun.html

  7. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    I could never get past that jetpack stage of “Giants”, even after buying the game twice (once on disk, once from GOG).

    P.

  8. Alexander Norris says:

    Funny that; I played Armed & Dangerous in 2006 when I picked it up from a bargain bin after hearing how funny it was for a few years, and my reaction basically the same as you, John. The writing has a few funny bits, but not nearly enough to make the thing funny as a whole, and the game itself is pretty mediocre.

  9. jeremypeel says:

    I enjoyed Armed & Dangerous but I’m in no hurry to play it again. Actually no, I am, but in the firm knowledge that its not a fantastic game. There must be something in that.

    Giants is one of my favourite things, in any media. Armed & Dangerous didn’t come close to topping it, but its commercial failure is a real shame as Planet Moon haven’t bothered attempting anything similar since.

  10. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    In my magic what-if world of joy there is a tradition of releasing re-mixed versions of old games that compress all the gameplay ideas into about 2 hours. Chugging through older games is perfect Sunday morning stuff, but trudging through all the repetition and filler games included to convince gamers they were getting their money’s worth is not so much fun at all.

  11. Sobric says:

    Do one on Hidden & Dangerous! It’s all I can think of when A&D comes up :(

    • dan. says:

      I was utterly confused by that screenshot, thinking “That doesn’t look like a WWII tactical stealth ‘em up”. Then I realised I was thinking of Hidden & Dangerous.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Jerricho says:

    I got this on sale a few years ago and had a good ol’ laugh with it. The Land Shark Gun made me belly laugh but eventually I tired of it. I’ve never completed it and would like to go back and finish it off but it was rather samey very quickly.

    That said, what games DO make us all laugh consistently? I think top of my list is Psychonauts, I love that game, mouse crushingly frustrating though some levels were. Before that was Goblins, way back when and then good ol’ Worms. I feel I should tip my hat to Day of the Tentacle too but I never got round to getting that.

  13. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I’ve never heard of this game, bizarrely, or maybe just completely forgotten about ever hearing of it, so I couldn’t really find anything interesting in the retrospective. Sometimes they’re good even if you don’t know the game, but I think this one required a lot of pre-knowledge.

  14. Radiant says:

    Thanks for sucking the fun out of a very fun game Walker.

  15. Shadowcat says:

    As far as the humour goes, Planet Moon really set the bar incredibly high with Giants, which meant that Armed & Dangerous had some mighty big boots to fill.

    Unfortunately the writing in A&D was not only significantly less funny than that of Giants, but the cutscenes were also much much longer, which only exacerbated the issue. It’s not that it was completely devoid of any genuine humour — it definitely had its moments — but it was simply a comparative let-down to what they had previously produced; and whereas Giants handily covered its gameplay deficiencies with laugh-out-loud comedy, A&D’s weaker laughs provided no such ability.

    Gameplay in A&D was a mixed bag, but definitely enjoyable on the whole. It was a game where you absolutely needed to go nuts with the fabulous arsenal, because the basic guns really could do everything. If you tried to hang on to your ammo until you ‘needed’ it, you would simply miss most of the fun.

    I enjoyed A&D much more once I cut loose a bit, and appreciated it for what it was (and in fact I have played it through multiple times, which is a good indication that there is plenty of enjoyment to be had), but I’ll always be a little bit sad that Giants never quite got the follow-up that we dreamed about.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    I got it long after release, I’d rediscovered Giants and finally finished it and pined for more of the same.

    It wasn’t it, was less funny, less playable, less interesting to play. Yes, it was more ‘high def’ but it was also more generic and compartmentalised.

  17. mbp says:

    I played about three quarters of the way through this before getting distracted and moving on to something else. I feel a bit guilt about it now. I wonder if it is too late for me to re-install and try to complete?

    I remember noticing the anti-French stuff at the time though and thinking it was a bit over the top. Did the game co-incide with the US invasion of Iraq or some other USA – France bone of contention.

  18. Gap Gen says:

    I agree that Star Wars quotes aren’t jokes in of themselves. One of the reasons Startopia was poisoned in my mind forever – I’d had a wonderful experience, right until the closing cutscene rolled, and BAM instant unfunny. Like getting to the bottom of a delicious icecream and finding a turd.

  19. Captain Human says:

    Yes, A&D was a lot of fun and still very funny. In fact I found it funnier than Giants, which was also a very fun game. A&D wasn’t anti-French at all. It just poked fun at them, along with many other as well.
    I wish there was more writing like this in games.

  20. LintMan says:

    As soon as I saw “Armed and Dangerous” in the title, I thought “Ah, that game that was supposed to be super funny but really wasn’t”. I bought it with high expectations after constantly reading how “hilarious” it was.

    I thought the weapons were silly and cool, and the occasional cutscene was a bit funny, but it wasn’t anywhere near the laff riot everyone seemed to be talking about, so I recall it mostly as a disappointment.

    So what games out there would people say were genuinely funny?

    I’d nominate:
    - Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    - Star Control 2

    • MadMatty says:

      some from the top of my dome:

      Spelunky
      Monkey Island 1 & 2 (tho the humor may have dated a bit…not sure)
      Day of the Tentacle
      Leisure Suit Larry
      Wizkid
      Cannon Fodder
      Gridrunner Evolution (lots of sillyness in Jeff Minter´s games)

    • Bret says:

      More recently, Portal and Team Fortress 2.

    • Chris D says:

      Ben There, Dan That and Time, Gentlemen Please!

      The only games that have genuinely made me laugh out loud. Although possibly not to everyones taste.

      Also: Spelunky? It’s a great game, very cute and a lot of nice touches but I don’t recall it made very much of an effort to actually make me laugh. Am I forgetting something?

  21. Sceptrum says:

    This had its share of funny moments, but never got up to Giants’ level. The only reason I pre-ordered it was because Planet Moon made it and hoped it was “Giants 2″

    • Gap Gen says:

      Actually, I remember one problem with Giants was that the Kabuto sections lacked cutscenes (and the narrative was pretty rushed and confused by then, too) so you were in the odd situation where the bits of the game where you were playing a big stompy monster were some of the weakest.

  22. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    I forget how I got it, but I really liked (and still like) A&D. The humor isn’t groundbreaking but it’s often silly, and not enough games have intentional silliness in them. And the jetpack is splendid – why more people haven’t ripped it off is beyond me. Also landshark gun, of course.

    “Q, can you toss me?”
    “WOT”
    “Can you toss me over” (referring to a big wall)
    “Well I can certainly try”

  23. Navagon says:

    Personally I enjoyed the game to its conclusion. There were a couple of laugh out loud moments, but generally it’s just amusing.

    The gameplay is pretty much generic third person shooterness with a land shark gun and some turret sequences that saw you take on armies of such a size that they wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Total War game.

    All of which left it with a sense of being an average game that had been given a substantial and humorous makeover, but one that wasn’t enough to cover its genericness entirely.

  24. chimpyang says:

    No-one lives forever 1 and 2 were funnier games, I remember laughing out loud at the absurd chats you could listen in on. However, Giants Citizen Kabuto was close, did the devs try too hard for armed and dangerous? The ‘funny’ games subgenre also seemed to die in the early noughties – whatever happened?

  25. Gurrah says:

    THANK YOU RPS! I’ve been thinking about this game lately, but I couldn’t remember it’s name – it actually kept me awake at times.

  26. John Peat says:

    Is that a Vuvuzela?!

  27. DeepSleeper says:

    Armed and Dangerous always reminds me of MDK2, another game that tried way too hard.

    But MDK2 managed to be hilarious in places. A&D was just a flat bland experience all through.

  28. Humble says:

    Sadly Planet Moon never again reached the heights of the first MDK, thought this certainly came pretty close at times gameplay-wise. It was far from perfect, and unfortunately not very funny at all, but personally I found this a far better follow-up to MDK than the (dire) official sequel.

    • MadMatty says:

      i never did “get” MDK 1 or 2 – and i haven´t tried this…. but i DID have one hell of a laugh of “Giants: Citizen Kabuto” – it was clever, varied, had giblets ……………mmmm giblets…

    • MadMatty says:

      tho i never got any further than half into the witches section of the game…maybe it started going a bit downhill from there? Dont clearly remember, but the comments seem to suggest so…

  29. Chiablo says:

    I liked the humor in the game, but the bugs and the horrid gameplay made it unplayable for me. It didn’t help that I was playing the Xbox version that had terrible controls.

  30. Lambchops says:

    One day I’ll disagree with John on one of these retrospectives, then the honeymoon will be well and truly over and he and I will have to have words!

    Both Armed and dangerous and Giants were both amusing at times but hardly hilarious. In my mind Giants had the more inventive gameplay ideas but I probably found Armed and Dangerous more fun. Plus it did have the Land Shark gun.

  31. Thiefsie says:

    All this talk reminds me of Hidden & Dangerous…. ahhhh I spent many hours scheming plans that fell apart due to bugs in that game… still fantastically fun.

    OK,,, shark guns yay!

  32. TheHumanBlur says:

    Ahhhhhh the year 2000. Mother to two of the most underrated games of all time: Giants & Sacrifice.

    I would sell my left testicle for a Sacrifice 2