Total Annihilation Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 122 Ratings

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  • Summary: Long ago, the galaxy had known peace. Paradise was ruled with the hand of science, and the hand was that of the galactic governing body known as the Core. Ironically, it was the Core's ultimate victory, the victory over death itself, that brought about the downfall of its paradise and started the war that would decimate a million worlds. The immortality process, known as "patterning," involved the electronic duplication of brain matrices, allowing the transfer of consciousness into durable machines. Effectively it meant immortality, and the Core decreed the process mandatory for all citizens in order to ensure their safety. However, there were many citizens unwilling to toss aside their bodies so casually, many indeed who regarded patterning as an atrocity. They fled to the outer edges of the galaxy, forming a resistance movement that became known as the Arm. War began, though it was never officially declared by either side. The Arm developed high-powered combat suits for its armies, while the Core transferred the minds of its soldiers directly into similarly deadly machines. The Core duplicated its finest warriors thousands of times over. The Arm countered with a massive cloning program. The war raged on for more than 4,000 years, consuming the resources of an entire galaxy and leaving it a scorched wasteland. [Cavedog Entertainment] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. This is the best, most fun game I have ever played. It represents everything that a five-star game should be. It's different, original, and most importantly, solid. I could find no glaring omissions, or bugs, or problems that indicated that it is a rushed product.
  2. It has beautiful graphics, eerie music, and a very low learning curve. Each level is different enough to keep the gamer interested.
  3. Cavedog has done a commendable job of taking the basic mechanics of real-time strategy and using them to create something new: A game that relies less on constant mouse-clicking than careful planning and strategic thinking.
  4. As a game of resource management and tactical combat, Total Annihilation is not fundamentally different from anything that has come before, but it is nonetheless an evolutionary leap for the genre of real-time strategy.
  5. An impressive contender in the real-time strategy genre. An easy-to-use interface, coupled with intelligent AI, establishes the game as one of the best of its kind.
  6. Total Annihilation lacks one critical element that would have put it on my all-time list, and that involves immersion. In other words, the storyline and between-mission cinematics (which were somewhat lacking) did not suck me in as C&C did.
  7. The fully three dimensional landscapes are stunning, and animation is equally so - units move around the area with superlative realism, and weaponry is as full of life as a piece of machinery can be.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. AngusL.
    Feb 16, 2007
    The game that got me into gaming the best RTS game ever.
  2. Keus
    Jun 16, 2005
    Great! * years old and still the best, until supreme commander of course.
  3. TylerF.
    Jan 28, 2008
    This is a true classic. Even today, TEN YEARS after it was originally released, the graphics look great on new PCs. I still have the original discs and the Core Contingency expansion pack. This game pioneered RTS games. All the modern RTS games still draw from TA...there have been few major features introduced since (in a decade of refinement!) other than realistic graphics. I still get a kick out of building up massive bases in TA, and the unit diversity as well as fantastic overall interface and incredible custom soundtrack just make this game a timeless masterpiece that can be played for years to come. I wonder if any game studio would be willing to take on the daunting task of (official) Total Annihilation 2? Revise the graphics, add new storylines, etc..but keep the heart of the game intact! Expand
  4. mikebare
    Dec 13, 2008
    i'll be honest, i bought this game at dollar tree. now i know i would have gladly payed full price for it when it came out, because it's one of the most complex, innovative and enjoyable rts games ever made. it's just plain fun, a true game with the feeling of a total war (not the franchise 'Total War' lol). Expand
  5. Sep 10, 2014
    The grandfather of RTS, the benchmark for everything that has and will follow in the genre, a masterpiece.

    Few can argue that even with the
    nostalgia goggles taken off that this is one of the finest games ever to steal money from our wallets.

    But enough with the compliments, lets explain why this game was superb from the ground up.

    Resource gathering, rather than the generic "pool" you are required to upkeep your 'economy' or 'eco' for short in metal and energy. This dynamic system which is drained and restored at the same time will allow you to build and queue many units as their cost is deducted from your stockpile over the course of their build time, if you run out the build time slows and if not it leaves you free to construct all the more units. Monitoring this economy is key to success and the glorious thing about it is that attacking your enemies metal extractors/generators can directly harm their ability to inflict pain on you.

    The trick is to maintain that eco while ensuring your opponent cannot do the same, real time STRATEGY. Unfortunately for you if you do not use this advantage to wipe your enemy out there is a strong chance that the wreckage left from the battle by destroyed buildings/units can also be extracted for resources, you are thus feeding the enemy which again is another thing to think about.

    The combat itself is fantastic and is supplemented by an amazing score by Jeremy Soule, the guy behind the OST of skyrim/oblivion. Vehicles explode leaving wreckage and flying debris going everywhere, (debris that can actually DAMAGE nearby units!), endgame final tier units and artillery cannons that can fire across the map, nukes... anti nukes? I can leave the imagination to picture that while trying to keep all your buildings switched on (yes, running out of power means a lot of buildings will not work).

    The music also changes from track to track depending on your situation in game, during the build phase you get some eerie foreboding music, when a fight starts the orchestral stuff kicks in and when the battle is done with unit wreckage strewn across the map you get a nice slow spooky song to go with your build units collecting resources from the dead. You can also switch that off and play what you want when you want it, put the game disc in a CD player to just play the music, boot the game and replace the CD with a DIFFERENT music CD and play that music?

    It has two campaigns for both factions, the Arm and the Core. Lots of mods are available to add new units and even lift the unit cap from 200 to whatever you feel like. The beautiful thing is that it is still actively played today and many servers are available to duke it out online.

    This came out back in 1997, you could probably pick it up for peanuts or find it online to download.

    While I do not feel my words do it justice it is definitely worth taking the time to play it, especially if you enjoyed SupCom.
  6. Ruudie
    May 16, 2009
    Simply put, Total Annihilation (+ Core Contingency expansion pack) is the best rts ever. Large scale land, sea and air warfare while building a giant base from which to launch your nuke strike or blast away with long-range artillery. Make armies of hundreds of units and sent them to a certain death against layers and layers of defence. Or play on a small map and micro every single unit for maximum efficiency. An economy model that's very easy to learn but incredibly hard to master. Real 3d units on a real 3d map with real physics. Hundreds of very different maps and many more created by the community. Concerning gbarules2999 saying this game is about fast clicking with no strategy involved: this is a REAL TIME strategy game, so yes its about doing stuff fast (which is a good thing). But its also a real time STRATEGY game, meaning its impossible to beat your opponent if you dont have a better strategy. Furthermore when executing your strategy, you'll need tactics to make it work: yes its easy to move many units at once, but to make the most out of them its necessary to manage them individually. But whatever, sounds to me like you only played the campaign. And altough the campaign or a skirmish against the ai can be quite entertaining, i must say it's a pretty bad basis for judging this game. Its the multiplayer where Total Annihilation shines. Expand
  7. gbarules2999T
    Sep 19, 2007
    The game plays great and has a nice presenation (coupled with an amazing soundtrack). Too bad the rest of the game is linear and boring as heck. Being a war of attrition, tyhe game never reatches the status that makes StarCraft look up and think. TA is fun, but it's not a strategy game. It's an action game. Very little thought goes into selecting all your units and pressing attack, and no matter how nice it looks and plays, that very fact makes the game aged and whithered on the vine. That's why the AI sucks so bad, a well: the gameplay is not designed for thought process. It's for clicking really fast, and here is where you can see the beginning of the end for a lot opf modern franchises (like C+C). Unless you have the nostalgia, stay away. Expand

See all 35 User Reviews