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Ardennes Offensive

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Ardennes Offensive
Ardennes Offensive.jpg
The German quality isn't always gold, when the publisher is IncaGold!
Protagonist(s): Cowell
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Rating(s): PEGI: 16+
USK: 16
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Release: DE: 2004
EU: November 1, 2006
Engine: 3D GameStudio
Developer(s): Asylum Games
Publisher(s): DE: Asylum Games
EU: IncaGold
Country: Germany

Ardennes Offensive (in Germany known as Ardennen Offensive: Die Entscheidung) is a 2004 first-person shooter game released for Microsoft Windows. Developed and published by Asylum Games in Germany, and IncaGold in Europe.


An American soldier, Cowell who was out on patrol when the Germans suddenly attacked the allied camp. Cowell survives the attack but finds himself alone and injured among the German forces. His only hope survival is to make it to the allied camp but to reach it he has move through the center of the enemy lines. At the same time Cowell has to gather as much information about the German offensive as possible and do what he can to sabotage it.

Why It Isn't Always Gold

  1. The cover of the game is ugly, at the same time you can feel it at first sight with a low budget and its awfulness in terms of the artistry of the designer. It was supposed to resemble a cover with a hand-drawn artistic style, but what you see is poor here. There is almost nothing there, except for random soldiers, a tank, a small fragment of the background showing the city, more specifically a building, and some undefined natural phenomena, which in theory are supposed to resemble the sun or a fire, but turns out to be yellow, completely difficult to describe oddity.
  2. The main menu is made at a low cost. In many aspects, it looks as if it was designed by a college student who is learning on programming in Unity.
    • In terms of design, it looks terrible, highlighting a low-quality image that shows an undefined place that can cause confusion that it happened either in the sky or on a snow-filled land. It turns out to be a snow-filled land. Speaking of what you can see in this picture, it's a hideously rendered wrecked and burned tank, bare trees, and airplanes.
      • As Asylum Games is a developer from Germany, and their game in Germany is entitled Ardennen Offensive, they forgot to change the title of the game in the main menu from German "Ardennen" to English "Ardennes" in the other language releases. For some, it could cause confusion, and even some say that the developers made a typo, especially for people who do not have the ability to speak German.
    • In terms of options, not only are there too few options, but some of them are also useless.
      • In the How to Play option there is a spelling error when checking the keystroke where it says "ursor" instead of "cursor", it is also illegible. Instead of presenting it in a clear table with a button on the left side and a description on the right side, it is presented in such a way that you will sometimes get headache. It is presented in this form, showing a slightly visible rectangle, showing the left side, where the description of the options is described, and on the middle-right side, instead of the keys, there are ordinary letters that have the color changed. In addition, looking at the options for running, changing weapons and throwing a grenade, it is quite hideously presented and made on the lowest resistance line.
        • In the Run option, for some reason, both the "/" symbol and the word "or" have been added, this is also earlier the aforementioned typo and unnecessary additional spaces.
        • In the Weapon change option, weapons are not separated from top to bottom, but each weapon is written on the same line, with only blank numbers (including 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) imitating keys and weapon types, which is very unreadable, especially since both different things on one line (saying about keys and weapons) only differ the font color.
        • In the Throw grenade option, the situation is a bit similar to the Weapon change option, but this option only presents the letter G, which imitates the option button, and a poorly explained and eye-bleeding additional description of the option, where in this case the description is explained in parentheses, which even does not have a different color fonts in the most important things, only it is all described in one font color, explaining how far you will throw when you hold down the grenade for a given second.
        • One last thing worth mentioning is one section that doesn't quite match the How to Play option. After clicking on this option, a script appears, which is describing the plot of the whole game. The plot should be implemented during the gameplay instead of this option.
      • Ardennes Offensive is poor in terms of quantity and quality of settings which offers. In Options, some settings are poorly-executed, but may also be useless.
        • In the case of resolutions, you can change only from 645x430 to 1024x768, which for a 2004 game is an absolute embarrassment. There have been many games released earlier than this one that offered higher resolution.
        • Changing the difficulty does not matter. Whether you play on Easy (-) like a casual or Difficult (+) like a real masochist and desperate, is still the same. Health and ammo also remain intact.
        • All in all, there is poverty, the rest of the options are small things that have little effect on the performance of the computer, even the one in the period when the game came out. Many useful options are missing, both in terms of graphics, amount of resolution, and many other options that appeared in games released around the similar time. It is also worth mentioning that there is an incredibly mismatched font in the settings that makes the text next to the squares that you want indifferently marked out, it is completely unreadable.
  3. After pausing the game, instead of the usual menu in which you manipulate the mouse or keyboard arrows, you must click the appropriate button, as the developers wish. This is very stupid and only kills the game quality more, comparable to curdled milk.
    • To exit the game completely, you must press the E button.
    • To return to the game, obligatory click the R button.
    • To exit the game to the main menu, prod the M button.
  4. The graphics are extremely poor and bring back the times when games were released for the first PlayStation, and that's how the game actually looks, only with more resolution and number of polygons, especially there's a fact that this is a game from 2004.
    • The backgrounds are blurry and unreadable, while the natural elements cry out for vengeance to heaven, due to lack of details and the pathetic number of colors, especially the snow, which is so pale it causes eyes to bleed.
    • Vehicles like tanks and trains have a small number of polygons and low-quality textures.
    • There are also graphic bells and whistles that will cause a burst of laughter, including train wheels that resemble a chopped tomato, and rats that have incorrectly selected colors that look like they have eaten too much tomatoes that are supposed to imitate train wheels.
    • Character models, which are theoretically German soldiers, are more reminiscent of moving and unemotional figures, and the weapons are poorly reproduced, reminiscent of toys transferred to an alternative world of programmers.
    • Also worth mentioning are the special effects, which look like gifs from the abyss of hell, or the blood that looks more like tomato paste, and crooked shadows.
  5. The animations are numb and generally pathetic compared to many older titles.
    • There is almost no reload animation at all, just holding the weapon lower, which is supposed to imitate reloading, which looks very lazy and it looks as if the developers themselves had no idea how to reload their weapons, hence this effect. which look as if only the part of the arm that is closer to the hand is moving, having completely frozen the other part of the arm, imitating an inept hand movement. It looks unrealistic, even Minecraft, which despite it came out in 2011, with no sinister number of animations, has a better realized walking animation than this excuse of a video game.
    • The main character incorrectly holds his weapons, especially the rifle and pistol. It looks like Cowell is left-handed, being forced to hold the weapons with his right hand.
    • The shooting animation made by the main character is almost non-existent, and the recoil is very slightly felt. Arms move quite strange and unrealistic after firing a given weapon, moving slightly on the upper side.
    • The opponent's animations also causes a real eye-bleeding, due to enormous embarrassment flooding the screen.
      • The opponent's fall animation is truly unrealistic and horrendously inept, which is so useful amongst other cheesy shooters like XIII Remake. After your opponent's life ends with your shots at them, they temporarily stand, and moments later they fall stiffly, first kneeling down, then falling backwards.
      • The walking animation of the opponents also leaves a lot to be desired. They move as if they were supposed to walk, but they actually run quickly.
      • The shooting animation made by the opponents is also a first-class circus. They fire as if they have moved the weapon to the side that suits them best, then they fire slowly, and repeat the same action over and over.
  6. The audio is a complete embarrassment to the limit and the creators' total laziness.
    • In terms of the music, it is very poor.
      • In the cutscenes, there is the track that is completely out of place. Instead of music from the climate of the World War, or any music that depicts serious events, it turns out that music was used that would be more appropriate after the completing the game or in events, depicting the end of any dramatic event, which shows how much the programmers do not respect the large number of deceased soldiers, inserting a semi-happy track.
      • The music from the main menu sounds like a typical generic and forgettable historical track, seemed to be heard on other games, movies, tv shows of the same theme.
      • There are also some tracks during the gameplay. They are forgettable because they are mainly overshadowed by questionable sound effects, which make them hardly audible, making them also almost non-existent.
    • Speaking of sound effects, they can be described as "the real apogee of trash". To believe how horrible the sound effects are here, just listen to a piece of the gameplay. They can be concluded that are extremely strange, especially the sound of the wind, which seems strong, and the shooting sounds, which are poorly reproduced compared to the original counterparts. The rest of the noises, designed to resemble sound effects, are just forgotten mush that you don't have to do but listen to and see how amusingly bad they are.
    • To finish off the dead horse of junk games, the voice acting is almost non-existent, mainly because the game has no dialogue whatsoever. Instead, a good idea for programmers was that the soldiers make vague noises or mumble to such an extent that it is difficult to understand what they are saying.
  7. A hopeless gunplay that immediately refuses you to deal with this game for longer. Most weapons deal poor damage, making some of them being downright useless.
    • The most noticeable example is the pistol, which is possibly done with an acorn weapon or a percussion cap. It is true that the pistol is the weakest type of weapon in terms of damage, compared to the others, this one is mapped in such a way that shooting to the knee, the biggest weakness for firearms (excluding the head), needs even four bullets.
    • Speaking about the rifle, opponents generally require the same several projectiles to be defeated, whether you shoot their stomach, knee, head, or caressingly speaking, private parts invisible to the player, the end result is still the same.
    • There is another weapon worth mentioning, the musket which has an illogical balance as enemies somehow still take damage, and they can even be completely killed, even if you are far away from them.
  8. There is no plot in the game, only you can find out about it by looking at the back cover of the game and the How to Play option. Looking at the gibberish written by IncaGold on the back cover, it has absolutely nothing to do with what happens during the gameplay and watching cutscenes.
    • Returning to the plot from the cover, the originality and artistry of the directors and writers do not shine. It everything boils down to the fact that an American soldier, Cowell, as a generic shoddy piece of goods, designed to resemble World War games, survives and remains alone, while being wounded, who has to get to an allied camp, gather information about the German offensive, to sabotage it.
    • The end of the game does not exist at all, and it looks as if the mind in the sick German heads of Asylum Games said that it was better to add a cutscene created on the game engine, rearranging flying planes that have nothing to do with what you faced during the hours of the show misery and despair.
  9. Apart from the plot, the cutscenes themselves are a real show of laziness, and is an example of how the developers of this nuisance hardly used the budget and went straight ahead to reduce the chance of bankruptcy. In fact, some of the cutscenes were not even executed on the game engine or CGI, there are just a live-action videos of the chronicles of World War II downloaded in low-quality, having nothing to do with any storyline summarized by the publishers.
  10. After delving into the gibberish that dare to call a story that barely exists, the main character himself is incredibly easy to forget. Not only he is saying absolutely nothing, he is also not presented at all about who exactly he is. It looks as if a completely random American soldier with a randomly selected name was placed won a draw in the wheel of fortune.
  11. Introduced some one unnecessary feature that is frustrating at times, causing fake difficulty at worst. When you're outside you lose one health point every few seconds, which is a bit unrealistic. It is true that it is snowing and it is freezing cold in the game, but that does not mean that the player will suddenly lose a piece of health in such a short time. It would still be understandable if the player would be standing outside for more than a few hours, but there's a fact that he cannot freeze up in only a few minutes.
  12. The intellect of the opponents is on the level of a rotten potato surrounded to the brim with mud used by a pig.
    • With their dull German brains, the opponents cannot hide when you attack in them, they just stand still, like a pillar of salt, and other times they use tactics like the most ambitious Japanese ninja and other samurai, unexpectedly respawn behind you, attacking you at the same time. However, such a strange thing is most often encountered in the first mission.
    • In some situations they stay still, even when you are not firing, especially when you are partially hidden behind an object, for example a tank. More than once it happens that they do not shoot at all, even if you are not hidden anywhere.
  13. The level design is uninspiring. Not only are the missions short, they also don't sparkle with their creativity. It is true that there are variations where there is a bunker and even sewers, but the missions taking place outside are boring and look repetitive to such an extent that it hurts your eyes from the fact that you see almost the same, only with objects placed in some places, often encountered in the WWII period.
    • Maps from the first and second levels are the most rejecting, and it's worth mentioning that these are the first two missions, which make you feel like you don't want to touch it anymore, as the first levels should also be interesting to some extent, but apparently the potential is hopelessly used.
  14. As befits a war game, there are tanks and other vehicles, but due to the maps so linear and small, it is not possible to sit to any vehicle and drive. In other games, when there are many vehicles, especially with similar themes, there is such a possibility, but as befits a typical lazy budget shooter, this is not possible as usual.
  15. As befits a typical budget trash goods from the 2000s, opponents do not express any emotions at all, regardless of the action in question. They stare at you all the time with those lifeless eyes and completely unmoving mouths or eyelashes. The year 2004 bows down and in that aspect it is completely eaten for breakfast by a game being six years older than this, which is Half-Life. Even the enemies in Wolfenstein 3D express any emotions, unlike the stiff made of saliva opponents of Ardennes Offensive and other cringe-worthy IncaGold-published shovelware games.
  16. The game tries to be funny, but it fails at all, becoming one of the biggest laughing stocks among budget games. In the third mission, and more specifically in the bunker, you will find a men's toilet, where at least one enemy is located, who additionally does not wear pants, to show in a pseudo-humorous way that before trying to annihilate yourself, he certainly did a standard toilet action.
  17. Overall, the missions are rather poor and uninspired. They are not only boring, idiotic, nonsensical, but also pointless. This is the main reason why the game is worthily buried with its infamy, but also worthily labeled as the biggest mistake among European budget games.
    • The first mission is a misunderstanding and an insult to the player's intelligence. To further irritate the people playing this show of embarrassment, you have a duty to destroy all the barrels without any reason. The barrels themselves will be completely useless after defeating the German soldiers, so you can't see any reason to destroy them, it's just a waste of ammunition.
    • In the second mission, according to its rule, you must destroy the bridge with dynamites, and you must run as far as you can. At first glance, it seems as simple as building a flail, it turns out that dynamites are as powerful as nukes, and when you activate them, run immediately because even if you stand more than 50 meters theoretically, dynamite will still kill you. The only way to get around it is to run as far as the map allows as far as possible.
    • The third mission is completely unnecessary and a complete waste of time. Your task is to destroy all soup bowls and boxes with various food in the bunker, but you can freely defeat as many enemies as possible, and after none of them are there, the food will not be affected, making destroying food pointless, because each of the enemies is defeated.
    • In a mission where you have to defuse all the mines and optionally the red mice, you can't shoot the mines at all because the mine kills you, which is as powerful as dynamite, even if you are far away from the mine. Unfortunately for you, you have to defuse them, which won't be too short, but it's made more difficult by the fact that mice bite you a lot, so you're forced to shoot them so you don't accidentally shoot a mine.
  18. Ardennes Offensive is an ocean of technical issues, or as everyone prefers, bugs and glitches. The number of bugs and glitches can be comparable to Outlaw Chopper or other games infamous for their badly polished technical aspect.
  19. The game is not very long, because completing the entire Ardennes Offensive, which has only seven missions, takes only an hour, depending on whether you are in a hurry and how much times have you failed. With deaths, it can take up to two hours, or when you play the game for the first time without familiarizing yourself with any walkthrough.
  20. All these previously mentioned bad features make the game not worth a replay at all, even if you want to play to laugh at the ineptitude of the developers. It still hurts the fact that experiencing suffering is not free by playing this game, as long as you don't pirate it.



Publication Score
Absolute Games ( 7%[2]

Critical reception

Ardennes Offensive has been heavily panned by both critics and players alike. Most criticisms of the game are related to poor graphics, audio, gameplay and technical issues. On the Polish website Gry-Online, the game hovers a 1.4/10 based on user ratings, making it one of the lowest-rated games on the site, alongside with GP vs. SuperBike, Fast & Furious Crossroads, Limbo of the Lost, Gods and Generals, Car Jacker 2, and RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures.[3][4]

Absolute Games (, specifically a user named REDGUARD, gave a rating of 7%, describing the game as "disgust of the highest standard."[2]


This is the first game ever reviewed by BartekGM in the Najgorsze Gry Wszechczasów series. Thanks to him, alongside with the CD-Action magazine in the Kaszanka-Zone section[5], the game has gained cult status for Polish independent reviewers, due to how badly designed this game is. The game has been reviewed by many Polish YouTubers, which has become almost a must to do a negative review. Regarding Bartek, he made a review for the second time in order to reboot the Najgorsze Gry Wszechczasów series, considering the review as a Part II of the first episode.







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