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Thread: Archon-like games

  1. #1

    Archon-like games

    I have praised the classic action/strategy game Archon many times here and made a thread on its developer a few years ago. Still, I'm always looking for more games that resemble it. Game designers haven't totally forgotten it yet as every once in a while a new Archon-like game appears.

    Since some of you might not know what Archon is, I'll start with that.

    Archon was developed by Freefall Associates(Anne Westfall, John Freeman and Paul Reiche III) and was published by the newly formed Electronic Arts back in 1983. It was first released for Atari 800 and had a near identical Commodore 64 version soon afterwards.




    It was also ported to Apple II, PC, Spectrum, CPC and Amiga. Activision/Bullet Proof Software did a version for the NES in 1989. I consider it more of a remake because of the graphics. The original plays faster and smoother though.


    It's game where players(either vs. another person or the computer) take turns moving around on a chess-like board. Unless chess and other strategy games, when two pieces meet they enter an action screen and duel to the death. In Archon it's a very arcade-ish match of shoot and dodge.

    The sequel Archon II: Adept was slower and had more complex terrain. I liked it but it was lacking compared to the original.


    Archon III: Exciter was an unofficial homebrew sequel. I vaguely remember it being odd and not very good.

    Archon Ultra was a remake for PC in 1994 by Toys for Bob, a developer co-founded by Paul Reiche III. It was published by SSI. I found it ugly and clunky compared to the original despite the much more detailed graphics.


    Another remake was under development a few years ago called Archon Evolution. Their website has disappeared though so I assume it was cancelled.



    So an "Archon-like" is a turned based game that consists of moving pieces around to different spaces and entering a separate real-time action mode for battles. Here are some Archon-like games:

    Dino Wars(DigiTek, Amiga/PC/C64, 1991)
    Dinosaurs battle it out. The action sections consist of timing button presses and having little room to move. The game blows. It's not related to the old TRS-80 Dino Wars game as far as I can tell.


    Dark Legions(SSI/Silicon Knights, PC, 1994)
    This isn't related to the recent PC game of the same name. I haven't played it in a long time but I remember it having smooth animation and having huge armies against each other compared to the amount in Archon. I recall the action not being very exciting though.


    The Unholy War(Eidos/Toys for Bob, PS1, 1998)
    I have only played the demo of it which doesn't have the strategy segment but I wasn't that impressed with the action. The more complex fighting doesn't work as well as Archon's simpler fast paced action. Still, I haven't played the full game so I can't give a complete judgement on it.


    The Unholy War was converted into an anime-based game in Japan by Bandai called Majokko Daisakusen: Little Witching Mischiefs.


    Wrath Unleashed(LucasArts/The Collective, PS2/XB, 2004)
    This was another game like The Unholy War. It has a nice presentation and the action isn't bad but the modern fighting design still doesn't do it for me for this type of game.


    Mortal Kombat: Deception(Midway, PS2/XB/GC, 2004/2005)
    While the main game isn't an Archon-like, the Chess Kombat mode is. I'm not into MK like I once was but homages are always cool.


    Mr. Roboto!(Packrat Video Games/Ted Sczcypiorski, Odyssey2, 2006)
    Earlier this year when I read that a new O2 homebrew was going to combine elements of two of my all time favourite games(Archon and TRON Deadly Discs) I was pretty excited.


    While it doesn't reach the greatness of those titles, I do think it's the best Archon-like game since the original two, mostly because it goes back to basics. It's actually more simplistic than Archon as it doesn't have a variety of characters and it's on older hardware but it's one of the best games on the O2.

    In Archon you could cast spells using your wizard or sorceress. Similarly, in Roboto you can have your base send out viruses to other robots. One thing different about this game is that you need to take out your opponent's base by entering it. This enters another screen where the defender has to shoot the other guy using a side turret.

    Physical copies of Mr. Roboto! are for sale but author has released the rom as freeware. http://www.tedfoolery.com/o2/homebrews.html

    What are your favourite games in the sub-genre? Are there others I should check out? And if you haven't played Archon I highly recommend playing it, especially the original Atari 8-bit/C64 versions.

  2. The Unholy War was converted into an anime-based game in Japan by Bandai called Majokko Daisakusen: Little Witching Mischiefs.
    That has got to take the cake amongst altered Japanese localizations.

  3. I could have sworn there was a 3DO published game that reminds me of Archon.... Can't remember though.

  4. #4
    You might be thinking of Battle Chess which did have a 3DO version. It's not really an Archon-like though. It's chess with animated fighting.

  5. ...didn't diff-chan post that 3DO published Archon? Guess he was wrong and deleted it.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by NeoZeedeater
    I'm not into MK like I once was
    Go to hell.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fe 26 View Post
    No one uses sigs.

  7. #7
    Well, it's not just MK. I don't play traditional fighting games(or shooters) in general as much as I used to.

  8. Chess Kombat was the best thing ever.

    I'm pretty sure I was undefeated online on the Xbox version. Too bad it's not koming back for MK: Armageddon.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Rumpy
    ...didn't diff-chan post that 3DO published Archon? Guess he was wrong and deleted it.
    Yea.

    I could swear they did.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by NeoZeedeater
    You might be thinking of Battle Chess which did have a 3DO version. It's not really an Archon-like though. It's chess with animated fighting.
    No, it wasn't Battle Chess and it was not on the 3DO system. I think it is on PS1 (or Saturn). Maybe it is not 3DO, another publisher.... I know that I did not buy it (but thinking that it is an Archon like game). I had Battle Chess for the 3DO, it is a painfully slow game.

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