What began as a conflict over the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machines escalated into a war which has decimated a million worlds. The Core and the Arm have all but exhausted the resources of a galaxy in their struggle for domination.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (48 reviews) - 93% of the 48 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Overwhelmingly Positive (602 reviews) - 95% of the 602 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 30, 1997

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Excellent – Allgame

About This Game

What began as a conflict over the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machines escalated into a war which has decimated a million worlds. The Core and the Arm have all but exhausted the resources of a galaxy in their struggle for domination. Both sides now crippled beyond repair, the remnants of their armies continue to battle on ravaged planets, their hatred fuelled by over four thousand years of total war. This is a fight to the death. For each side, the only acceptable outcome is the complete elimination of the other.

Story / Background

In the distant future, the galaxy is ruled by a central body of humans and artificial intelligences called the Core (a contraction of "Consciousness Repository"). The Core's technological and economic triumphs have allowed humanity to colonize most of the Milky Way and enjoy peace and prosperity. However, the balance is broken by a technological breakthrough that allows the consciousness of a human being to be reliably transferred into a machine, thereby theoretically granting infinite life, in a process called "patterning." Following a mandate imposed on humanity by the Core requiring everyone to undergo patterning as a public health measure, a rebel band is formed out of colonies from the edges of the galaxy (hence their name, the Arm), whose members refused to leave their natural bodies to join the Core's machines. A war lasting 4,000 years followed, with the Arm mass-producing clones as pilots for its vehicles and the Core duplicating consciousness-embedded microchips to pilot its own machines.

Key information

Total Annihilation (TA) is a real-time strategy (RTS) video game created by Cavedog Entertainment under the guidance of lead designer Chris Taylor. It was released on September 30, 1997, and was the first RTS game to feature 3D units and terrain. Two expansion packs were released: The Core Contingency on April 30, 1998, and Battle Tactics exactly 2 months later on June 30, 1998. When TA was released, the minimum computer requirements were a Pentium 100 MHz processor and 16 MB of RAM. Of course, these requirements were for computers in 1997; modern day machines easily exceed those recommended specifications, but it is still recommended to have a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM for the updated game engine.

Game features


    Upon release, the original TA game boasted:
  • Fully-articulated 3D units and buildings, with a diverse complement of unit types — for example, aircraft, amphibious tanks, infantry bots (kbots), vehicles, hovercraft, ships, submarines, unit production factories, powerful stationary defenses, and long-range weapons. A unique tracking feature allows players to follow single units, entire armies, or even projectiles across the landscape.
  • True 3D terrain that units can climb over, into, and around, on extra-large 3D-generated maps. TA runs comfortably in high resolutions and even on modern dual monitor setups, so players can see more of the battlefield.
  • Numerous world types to do battle on, such as grasslands, forests, deserts, archipelagos, open water, lava, metal, ice, crystal, acid, and even moons.
  • More than 150 official units and 25 official missions per side in a single player campaign. The Core Contingency expansion pack added 75 new units (including the infamous Krogoth), 50 new maps, 25 new missions, and 6 new world types. Battle Tactics added 4 new units, 6 new maps, and 100 new missions. A final patch (version 3.1c, and included here) added 6 new units, including a resurrection kbot!

  • Detailed and exciting campaigns that focus on their respective side's leaders, the Commanders. The stories of either the Core or the Arm start with an effort to defend the protagonist's home world and initiate a turning point in the war, followed by a series of battles on numerous planets and moons (using Galactic Gates as a form of faster-than-light transportation), before a final strike on the enemy's home world: either on the Arm's bucolic Empyrean or the Core's artificial Jupiter Brain world of Core Prime. Mission objectives include protecting a vital structure or area, capturing a pivotal enemy unit, or simply eliminating all enemy units. More powerful units and weapons are gradually unlocked throughout the campaigns after specific missions or events.

  • Single-player skirmish battles and full multiplayer support, allowing players to watch and join battles, and form allied teams to share resources, information, and units.
  • Highly advanced weaponry, including lasers, energy machine guns (EMGs), starburst missiles, plasma shells, lightning pulses, paralyzers, and nuclear warheads.
  • Variables such as gravity, tides, and wind to disrupt the effectiveness of certain weapon types or to enhance resource production.
  • Intelligence measures to detect or jam enemy units using radar and sonar, the ability to cloak or provide stealth shielding for units, and the means to revive destroyed units from their wreckages.
  • Over the years, the TA community has created literally thousands of third-party units and hundreds of maps to customize a player's TA experience. Numerous utilities, missions, mods, and factions have also been created to rebalance or totally convert the game; many of these units are still in competitive online and skirmish play today. Modern modifications to the game push the venerable 16-year-old TA engine to new limits with complex scripting, allowing for mass unit transporting, instant map-wide teleportation, upgradeable units, and true shields — plus much more. Don't forget to visit File Universe and Unit Universe to download and test the TA community's many maps, missions, mods, races, standalone units, utilities, and other extras!

More information

You can find more detailed information about the many aspects of TA — including the perfect installation, troubleshooting techniques, and tutorials on how to use / create third-party mods, units, maps, and missions — in TA FAQ. Further reading — about the gameplay, story, Jeremy Soule's eponymous soundtrack, reception, and the 58 awards that TA received — can be found by visiting the TA article on Wikipedia. You can also find entries on TA's expansion packs, The Core Contingency and Battle Tactics there.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8)
    • Processor: 100 MHz
    • Memory: 16 MB RAM
    • Graphics: SVGA
    • Storage: 400 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • Processor: 1 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Very Positive (48 reviews)
Overall:
Overwhelmingly Positive (602 reviews)
Recently Posted
Deuce
( 5.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 27
classic RTS. I used to play this all the time and now its on steam... awesome
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Moloch
( 14.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 25
One of the best RTS ever made. Great variety of units, hundred combat's possibilities (air, ground, water), every single moviment must be calculated. As a game from 90's, some features are questionables for today: huge numbers of hotkeys (and few are actually usuable) and difficulty to access a huge army or to attack from many different fronts with different units are the most noticeables. Also, the AI of the skirmishes is weak and even if play in hard mode it's very easy, depending on the map you play.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
HaunT3d_87
( 7.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
One of the best epic RTS' of my childhood. Always good nostalgia to come back and play.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
tdebalzary86
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 23
Great game! Best RTS game from the 90's that still holds strong to this day.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sunlord
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
Game will not start. If they ever fix their crap so it works, then the game would be great.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Iccirrion
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 20
Got this after hearing a lot about how it was the spiritual father of Supreme Commander, and I was not dissapointed, this game has everything I thought was great about SC and had it a decade earlier. While I do still prefer SC (it looks prettier) this is still a great game and I can easily see myself sinking dozens of hours into it, especially once I've convinced a friend to get it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Powboskie
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 20
Loved this game in the 90s and still love it now. If you love RTS games you should pick this up, particularly at such a low price point. Great soundtrack too to compliment the epic battles!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
jon
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 19
DO NOT BUY THIS GAME !!!
I loved this game when it first came out and I was excited to see it on Steam. However the Steam Install does not work. Forms have no definitive fix for the Environment Initialized Error you will get. Once they fix the error I will change my review. Shame on TA for allowing a non working game to be sold.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
KillaShredder
( 37.9 hrs on record )
Posted: July 19
great game, the fact that units attack while they move makes things just so much more enjoyable. Love the Maverick and Krogoth units.... just awesome
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SAraisVanu
( 2.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 18
Critical part of gaming history, and a must-have addition to anyone looking to look at gaming's history. This is one of the major three archetypes of RTS, those being C&C, TA, and SC in terms of gameplay semblance. Games usually follow one of these three determinite paths, as these are archetypes, so you should probably look at those if you're intrested in RTS games and want to make one too.

Total Annihilation is the creation of Chris Taylor, an industry veteran and, interestingly enough, Toy maker. You can see why he would eventually partner with THQ or TOY HEADQUARTERS.

As a toymaker, naturally, chris taylor took this same idea to game creation, and eventually with his team, Cavedog created Total Annihilation. Not satisfied with the SC and C&C, the developers went "Wait a second, no. this is wrong. We need MORE UNITS." And so it was. Whilst C&C never traditionally had a unit cap, it was not specifically made for this, where as TA was specifically constructed with an emphasis on massive armies.

The story involves you, as THE LAST COMMANDER OF YOUR FACTION, either arm or core, to quite simply, annihilate the other faction. This war began over the concept of patterning that, at mass civilian request, made mandatory for citizen protection, as their conciousness was saved and preserved on massive databanks and transfered to machine. This is what became CORE CONCIOUSNESS, and then later CORE. Both of their names hold a lot of semblance. ARM is not machines, rather, mass numbers of cloned individuals that detested the move to machines. ARM possesses it's central HQ in an ARM of the galaxy, where CORE is, well, the core. At this point, there are endless ruined worlds by this war's wake. Now all that's left is the other faction, and the only acceptable outcome for the other is...

TOTAL ANNIHILATION.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
This used to be THE game I played when I was a kid growing up. It was always school, homework, total annihilation until dinner. After buying Planetary Annihilation and being somewhat disappointed with the game and then seeing they decided "It'll be funny if we and remake it and sell it again", I spent $4.99 to buy this game digitally since I can no longer play the disc instead of "upgrading" my copy of PA to TITANS. Probably going to end up spending hundreds of hours playing this game again just like when I was a kid.

Pros:
+Both expansion packs automatically included
+Map editor
+Supports larger screen sizes
+Ver 3.1, compatible with tons of community mods / custom units and maps
+Working perfectly fine with windows 10
+Nostalgia boner if you've played the game before
+It has this unique feel to it. Idk how to really explain it, but, after playing other RTS games, I've never got the same feel with them as I have to this game.
+Probably the spark of what started my robot love as a child
+I'm just pulling extra pros to make the game look even better to other people

Cons: (most of these can probably be fixed with community mods anyway, haven't actually looked yet)
-With larger screen sizes, the hud gets super tiny because of it. Probably cause the game wasn't originally made for sizes that large
-Cap on custom units. I personally don't find it that big of an issue but some people may.
-Steam overlay doesn't work
-Multiplayer functions not updated
-Upon launching, smashes all my opened windows into a small corner on a single monitor. Not really an issue, just annoying tbh
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 10
My original cd's don't work any more, blast those scratches!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
Critical part of gaming history, and a must-have addition to anyone looking to look at gaming's history. This is one of the major three archetypes of RTS, those being C&C, TA, and SC in terms of gameplay semblance. Games usually follow one of these three determinite paths, as these are archetypes, so you should probably look at those if you're intrested in RTS games and want to make one too.

Total Annihilation is the creation of Chris Taylor, an industry veteran and, interestingly enough, Toy maker. You can see why he would eventually partner with THQ or TOY HEADQUARTERS.

As a toymaker, naturally, chris taylor took this same idea to game creation, and eventually with his team, Cavedog created Total Annihilation. Not satisfied with the SC and C&C, the developers went "Wait a second, no. this is wrong. We need MORE UNITS." And so it was. Whilst C&C never traditionally had a unit cap, it was not specifically made for this, where as TA was specifically constructed with an emphasis on massive armies.

The story involves you, as THE LAST COMMANDER OF YOUR FACTION, either arm or core, to quite simply, annihilate the other faction. This war began over the concept of patterning that, at mass civilian request, made mandatory for citizen protection, as their conciousness was saved and preserved on massive databanks and transfered to machine. This is what became CORE CONCIOUSNESS, and then later CORE. Both of their names hold a lot of semblance. ARM is not machines, rather, mass numbers of cloned individuals that detested the move to machines. ARM possesses it's central HQ in an ARM of the galaxy, where CORE is, well, the core. At this point, there are endless ruined worlds by this war's wake. Now all that's left is the other faction, and the only acceptable outcome for the other is...

TOTAL ANNIHILATION.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 4
I've played this game so much, my original cd's don't work any more.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Wow I have this game on CD but just had to have it as a digital download game, and what’s there to say Iv played and love game like C and C, StarCraft, Total war, and a few more but this game was the 1st of its kind if you have Supreme Commander, or Planetary Annihilation but not this game take some time and get this game you will not be disappointed if you’re a true gamer.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 20
Got this after hearing a lot about how it was the spiritual father of Supreme Commander, and I was not dissapointed, this game has everything I thought was great about SC and had it a decade earlier. While I do still prefer SC (it looks prettier) this is still a great game and I can easily see myself sinking dozens of hours into it, especially once I've convinced a friend to get it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
504 of 513 people (98%) found this review helpful
16 people found this review funny
Recommended
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2015
My favorite real-time strategy game. I'll try to make this short and sweet.

This particular version of the game:

+ Includes both of the expansion packs. The description doesn't mention it, but both Core Contingency and Battle Tactics are here.
+ Includes the map editor.
+ Supports resolutions up to 1920x1200, though I find that the game looks and plays better after bumping it down a few notches.
+ Seems to run perfectly on Windows 10.
+ Is good old version 3.1, combatible with countless fan-made maps and mods. There are probably thousands of extra units available to add on to this game, though the game has a cap of allowing ~230 custom additional units to be installed at one time.
- Does not include any updated multiplayer lobbies or functionalty.
- Does not currently support the Steam overlay.

If you're not familiar with the game itself, go read a real review. And then buy it. This game kicks all sorts of ♥♥♥ and it's worth five bucks all day long.

Enjoy!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
586 of 639 people (92%) found this review helpful
279 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2015
This was my first PC game and something I spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours playing when I was a kid, so I won't even try to review this with any sort of objectivity

Pros: Everything
Cons: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny