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Atomic City Adventures – The Case of the Black Dragon

Title: Atomic City Adventures – The Case of the Black Dragon

Studio: Windstorm Studios

Released: August 2011

Reviewed by:  Kenny Newell

When choosing  games to review I’m pretty picky on what I get for a couple different reasons.

#1.  I usually have to pay out of pocket for many of the games.

#2. I don’t have a ton of time to play, therefore I want to make sure I pick something that is interesting.

Atomic City Adventures (Case of the Black Dragon) caught my eye months ago because it was mentioned on the twitter feed of Everyone understand that I was a major fan of Ensemble Studios. They made some of my favorite games of all time. With that said, I’ve been following the different groups and people that have formed studios since Microsoft dissolved Ensemble. One of the studios that was formed just after the split was Windstorm Studios.

According to Windstorm Studios website. Windstorm Studios is basically one guy. Dusty Monk, former Sr. software engineer at Ensemble Studios. When Microsoft laid him off in 2009, Dusty decided that now was the time to create games that he wanted to play. He decided to code the whole game himself and hire out art, music and voice acting. This was a one man show putting his own money at risk to make a game.

After learning the background story to the game. I was sold and my money was put back for the title.  Everyone likes an underdog putting it all on the line and taking some risk. It’s what America was built on… Guts. Now let’s see what the labor and drive of one man can do. Here is my review of Atomic City Adventures.

Atomic City Adventures is set around the year 2230 A.D., but has a retro-future 1950?s look to it. I am a big fan of the game art and music. The game looks to me like “ What people in the 1950?s thought the future would look like”. You play as police officer Pam Rodgers of the Vehicular Strike Force or VSF as it’s referred to in the game.

You start the game on your hover-bike patrolling the city for thugs and criminals. You are sent on a main mission, but you can veer off on optional objectives and missions. During these missions you find hidden weapons and contraband that you seize. The weapons are then added to your inventory on the next mission.  You can dismount your hover-bike at any time and deal with enemies by kicking or shooting at them. You also have to dismount the bike to open weapon caches and program computers.

Players also try to fly through blue glowing circles called AI Antenna. These circles teach you to drive as well as give you an indicator where you have been. You get points for finding all of the antennas and disabling them. The AI Antennas are optional to find in the game, but add extra points to your score. Each mission keeps your high score and gives you bonus points for how efficiently you complete it. High scores are broken into three brackets. bronze, silver, and gold. Essentially, the more of the optional objectives you complete, the more contraband you collect and AI network antennas you disable by flying through them, the closer your score will get to getting a silver or gold designation.

Atomic City Adventures is a seven part story with multiple missions contained in each of the sections. The missions have waypoints that are shown on a clean and easy to read mini map on the screen. The waypointalso shows up on the main screen as a colored square that helps you navigate. Around the third act of the game, Pam loses the hover-bike and picks up a flying-bike. This is when the fun begins. I had a great time scaling buildings and flying through the air. Arming my bike with heat seeking rockets and kicking butt. I really liked that you get right into the fun of the game and start on a mission immediately when you start.

I’m very impressed with the one man programming team “Dusty Monk”. I hope that this is the beginning of more episodes Of Atomic City Adventures in the future. The only part of the game that I didn’t get to experience was the S-110 Odaka Wraith flying bike. It came only with pre-orders and I didn’t order until a few days after the release. The game may give around 8-15 hours of play if you decide to explore the city and find all contraband and complete all side missions. It is available on Gamestop’s Impulse Online and Direct2drive for the great price of $14.99. So, download today and support an independent studio putting it all on the line.

Questions or comments?

Kenny Newell

 Download Atomic City from Impulse!

Thanks for the review Kenny!


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