Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hovertank (DOS) review

You can owe a few things to Id Software. In between the time from the first set of Commander Keen games to Wolfenstein 3D, they had to still oblige to the last place they were at, Softdisk Publishing. The result were some games that were secondary type stuff. Some of it has what would set the tone for eventually their Wolfenstein series and other franchises. Hovertank, from early 1991, is an indicator that computers were able to do things that you wouldn't think otherwise on any format back then for consoles and computers.

So the basic gist of Hovertank is that you are saving people from death. That's it. You are in a nuclear war trying to save all sorts of individuals and eradicating all sorts of demons and tanks and several other enemies.Your tank can do everything as long as you don't get hit a few times.

John Carmack is a genius when it comes to game engines. Commander Keen was able to scroll a screen, putting DOS computers up to par with what an NES or Sega Master System could do back in 1990. Hovertank showed that 3D was very possible. That being said, it is a tech demo. There isn't too many animations, but there is some distinctive colors on the walls and enemies. The humans look like a prototype for what the later Commander Keen human characters would look like Sound effects are minimal and there isn't any music. Then again, what DOS games didn't back then?

Hovertank is rinse and repeat gameplay. There are 20 levels where you rescue people and defeat any enemies that get in the way. These bad guys can kill humans. Each time you save one you earn money, which is ten grand per saved person. A time limit is in the game. Whatever is left will grant you more money. You do have health, which can be depleted by being shot or touched. Get hit three times, you're finished. Once all the humans that are left alive are rescued, a teleportor will open to take you back to base for money and fixing the tank if any damage was taken.

I really don't have much to complain about. Your mileage may vary on the repetitiveness. You might feel a little sick with the tank bobbing up and down like a ship, so I wouldn't recommend playing it for too long. I'd say take a break after every 20 to 30 minutes of play. It does keep track of how far you have gotten and can go to the last level you were on. If you interested in how Carmack and the rest of the Id crew got their start in 3D, then this is worth checking if you are a fan.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

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