Armagetron Review

Armagetron is an open source 3D video game based on the movie Tron.  It tries to recreate the light cycle sequence, and does an excellent job.  This game is available for most versions of Windows, Linux, and Mac.  Download Here

Installation and Ease of Use

I was able to easily install this game on both a windows machine and an Ubuntu 9.04 machine.  After the program had started I had to change the native settings, because they were set very low on everything; resolution, graphics, volume, and more.  Do to time constraints I only changed the resolution to better fit my screen.  I changed the resolution to be larger than what the screen was currently set at, and this caused a weird error to occur, the error forced me to restart the program.  I tried again with a lower resolution and everything worked out fine.

Armagetron has really intuitive and easy to follow menus.  They are basically what you would find on any other game, but more in-depth.  On the down side users are unable to use the mouse while navigating menus; in fact the users never use the mouse.  It is unnecessary to the game play, but seems like an obvious feature for navigation purposes.

Game Play

The game mainly has multi-player over the internet, but also provides support for bots.  The bots are slightly challenging at first but become predictable quickly, they really seem like a way to allow you to learn the game without getting too bored or overwhelmed.  The rest is online against real humans.

It’s a pretty easy game to understand but really hard to actually play.  Users have three buttons to utilize left, right, and brake you bind your own keys.  A player rides a motorcycle and leaves behind a wall that is colored like the player.  The player’s goal is to cause another rider to crash into a wall and die!  This is a very simple concept on paper but in practice requires very deep strategies.

  1. The more you play the game the more you see different strategies and abilities within the game.

  2. I tried a couple of these games but could not figure them out.

Documentation and Usability

The things I described as not understanding were because I was trying to play a game.  I probably could have left the game and did a Google search for anything that I didn’t understand, but that would be tedious and annoying.  I really felt like this game should have some sort of tutorial mode for new users to learn the ropes.  The game mechanics and controls are very simple, but the finer points of the game have a pretty steep learning curve, if you don’t believe me try to figure out how the breaks work!  There are a few hints that pop-up now and then.  Those hints are mostly un-helpful and rarely explain what you want to know.  I also had a really hard time figuring out the scoring system used on each server.  I did start to learn some rules as I played.  This is something that could easily be displayed during loading of the map or just via a hot key.

I really enjoyed playing Armagetron it was fun and addictive.  This game has a very steep learning curve but can also be very rewarding.  To those willing to spend the time to understand how the game works and learn all the tricks you will have a great time.  To the users looking for a casual gaming experience you will hate this game.

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