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:
Very Positive (24 reviews) - 91% of the 24 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overwhelmingly Positive (646 reviews) - 95% of the 646 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

    • OS: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8)
    • Processor: 100 MHz
    • Memory: 16 MB RAM
    • Graphics: SVGA
    • Storage: 400 MB available space
    • Processor: 1 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (24 reviews)
Overwhelmingly Positive (646 reviews)
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476 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Recently Posted
0.5 hrs
Posted: September 25
I played this RTS long long time ago (way before it got some shine on Steam). Realised that either it needs Escalation or great addition of workshop. Used to be good but without new stuff - it's just same "old" TA
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Aozora Mirai
3.1 hrs
Posted: September 24
From a birds-eye-view I look down over my robotic army, standing over the last remaining enemy production unit after hours of combat while fully engaged in the game.

I easily have put more than 3000 hours into this game over the course of my life. I started playing it at 4 and am still playing it today at 18.

The easiest way to describe this game is that it is absolutely amazing. Whether it be the stunning soundtrack or the immersive gameplay, I could easily say that this is my all time favourite RTS. I'm obviously pretty biased seeing as I grew up playing it, however that doesn't make the fact that this game is amazing any less valid.

It's not a hard game to learn how to play, the concept is simple enough, and after you start up a game it's difficult to notice that an hour or two have already passed.

It is a classic and it will always be one of the best RTS games ever made.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3.7 hrs
Posted: September 22
This was one of my all time games when I was younger. Still love it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.3 hrs
Posted: September 21
Product received for free
Game is absolutely amazing. Great balance all around. I wish the expansion would come out for this on Steam because it would make it that much better. If you are an RTS fan, especially an old school one, please check this out!
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0.7 hrs
Posted: September 18
Great nostalgic game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.9 hrs
Posted: September 15
I have been an active TA player since 1997. This game ranks very high among my all time favorites. The modding community was huge at one time. If you like RTS games then this one belongs in your library.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
(Don't be fooled by the small number of hours played: I've owned this game since its release, back in 1997)
If you want to know what a RTS should look and feel like, play this game. Or even Star/Warcraft. Or even any C&C title up to 3. Forget about C&C 4 and anything after it. But I digress.
TA has withstood the test of time, has a active community that has produced quite literaly thousands of new units, and dated graphics as it has, still is an incredible and massive game, with a even more incredible original made music.

The only flaw I can point is that the minimap wont scale up with monitor resolution, a thing that for those like me that still have the original CDs, might be a tad frustrating.

Give yourself the chance to play this true classic of PC gaming, that deserves the same praise given to titles such as Doom or Baldur's Gate.
10000/10 Energy would 1000/10 Metal again.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 21
A classic forever.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 4
This is the third RTS game that I used to play when I was a kid.

Best game for my childhood :)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
36.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 17
The emotions I experienced when I saw this game on Steam were indescribable. To be honest, this is the greatest RTS I have ever played and have ever seen in my entire life. I spent most of my gaming days playing this work of art. A little bummed out that multiplayer is complicated to set up, but it is still possible. To put it simply, this is a game I would recommend to anyone I have ever met. It may be old, but that doesn't mean that it's mechanics and gameplay aren't unique. This game is truly one of a kind and its gaming mechanics and how it is played might not be replicated for a very, very long time.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 27
Imagine my joy when I found this game again. I spent countless hours playing this as a child growing up. The music has always been one of the best parts of this game. The endless possibilities of what the build and how to fight. All those memories and strategies came flooding back. So happy to finally have this back in my life. This is a 10/10! A classic that will never get old!
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
518 of 528 people (98%) found this review helpful
16 people found this review funny
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.

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598 of 652 people (92%) found this review helpful
281 people found this review funny
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)_/¯
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196 of 202 people (97%) found this review helpful
68 people found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2015
Yes, it is Total Annihilation.
Yes, you get Core Contingency and Battle Tactics with all official patches for one incredibly low price.
Yes, it works on Windows 7.
Yes, it runs at 1920x1200 resolution.
Yes, it is almost 20 years old.
Yes, it is still one of the best RTS ever released.

No, I don't know why you are still reading this when you could have clicked "Add to Cart" by now.
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538 of 623 people (86%) found this review helpful
452 people found this review funny
33.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2015
Buy it
Just buy it

Don't let your dreams be dreams
In 1997 you said tomorrow
So just buy it
Make your childhood dreams come true
Just buy it

Some people dream about Planetary Annihilation
While you're gonna wake up and play Total Annihilation
Nothing is expensive

You should get to the point
Where anyone else wouldn´t buy
And you're not going to stop there
No, what are you waiting for?

Buy it
Just buy it
Yes you can
Just buy it
If you're tired of starting over
Stop giving up
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