Impossibly bad third person
action game with RPG
elements, released in 2002 for PC CD ROM
. Developed by (now rumoured to be defunct) Polish
codeshop Metropolis Software
, and published by JoWooD Productions
Archangel tells the story of Michael Travinsky, a lank-haired muscular man with flippers for hands*. One night while driving along listening to German rock music, he collides head on with an articulated lorry. Michael dies, and although the game would be shorter and most likely much better if it wrapped up there, supernatural forces intervene.
Michael is resurrected by the Lord of Light (I'm not God, but I play him in a video game) to be the Chosen One, and awakes to find himself in a monastery in the Middle Ages (or as the game has it, Old Ages). Through the medium of dodgy animation, poor translation, cut-price voice acting, illiterate script, random lipsynching and the all-conquering power of cliché, it transpires that the monks have been waiting generations for him to come, and he is the only one who can wield the sword of light and defeat the Lord of Darkness.
Michael accepts all this at face value and trots off to fight demons and monsters through three time periods, gradually metamorphosing from a mortal to the Archangel. The other two time periods are future Berlin (presumably chosen because it's less recognisable than New York), and a spooky City of Evil. You can also chose from two character classes, Ghost and Warrior, which you can transform into for a short period as required. Ghost is stealthy, Warrior is extremely good at melee combat.
From a technical standpoint, Archangel is a complete non-starter. The game suffers severe slowdown when there are multiple enemies on screen, everything is made up of the bare minimum of polygons, and outdoor locations are shrouded in fog. The game world is split into demarcated chunks, crossing the boundaries of which triggers loading pauses that can stretch to minutes. There is no A.I. to speak of with enemies rushing at you in a straight line. Savegames can end up being dozens of megabytes in size.
The artwork and other assets are equally amateurish, with extremely variable texture work, water that looks like electrified blu-tack, and a collection of chunky character models, of which the protagonist is surprisingly possibly the worst of the lot. The animation isn't going to cause Oliver Postgate to lose any sleep. The music is probably the high point of the game, sounding quite professional and very atmospheric, suggesting that they spent the whole budget on it or it's lifted wholesale from a sound library.
Archangel's immediately obvious influences include Soul Reaver, Shadowman, Severance, Heretic II, and Devil May Cry. All of which are far better. Archangel makes Daikatana look like a masterpiece. PC Format magazine said of the game "A programming team of bats could do better" and I am inclined to agree.
(Although ironically there is a rather cool looking man-bat as one of the characters you meet early on.)
*This isn't part of the plot, it's just down to very shoddy 3D modelling.
Part of the Node The Worst Games Ever