|Classic Mac Gaming: Total Annihilation|
July 3, 2006 | Chris Noble
Released for the Mac in 1997, Total Annihilation (TA) was a classic top-down real-time strategy (RTS) game with a twist. Unlike many of its counterparts, TA had literally hundreds of different units, full air land and sea combat, multiplayer, and 3D graphics.
Players could take command of the Arm or the Core in either the campaign or skirmish modes and battle it out to the death. As the title of the game would suggest, the only way to win was wiping out your opponents to the very last man. With up to ten players on one map and a limit of 250 units per player TA could provide truly epic battles. And using a hidden menu (option click on TA when launching it), the unit limit could be increased to 500.
With a full range of units that ranged from the humble Pee-Wee KBot to the massive Warlord battleship and the Big Bertha artillery gun, TA provided innumerable ways to blast your opponent into flying polygons. TA pulled no punches either; the most powerful units were not limited in any way, even nuclear weapons. If you had the resources to build an unstoppable army, there was simply nothing to stop you.
TA also provided a rich playing environment; trees could be burnt down or reclaimed for energy, destroyed units left behind wrecks that blocked movement and weapons fire, and it also had some of the best looking explosions in a computer game.
Playing Total Annihilation today
No other RTS has ever replicated the gameplay experience that TA offered, so if you want to re-live the glory days how can you go about playing a true classic? If you own a PowerPC equipped Mac, TA will run quite happily in Classic mode. If you have an Intel Mac and Boot Camp you can run the PC version with ease as TA (despite being an old game) will run on every Windows version ever made (including Vista).
TA was extremely easy to make add-ons and modifications for. Extra units, maps, weapons, sounds, and even graphics could be added. There is still a highly active modding community providing extra content for the game. A partial list of mods for TA can be found here though there are far more!
TA remains a great game, with fantastic gameplay, pretty graphics, and plenty of replay appeal.