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Game Over Online ~ Hardwar

GameOver Game Reviews - Hardwar (c) Gremlin, Reviewed by - Liquid / Enigma /

Game & Publisher Hardwar (c) Gremlin
System Requirements P133, 32MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 77%
Date Published Friday, September 4th, 1998 at 10:05 PM

Divider Left By: Liquid Divider Right

HardWar, a futuristic type game where you are a pilot in a world (you create, build, save, delete, etc...) that is on the verge of extinction. I haven't played any games from Gremlin so I didn't know what to expect. Basically you have three options: you can be a Trader, Scavenger, or an Aggressor. Each of these options completely changes the game, which is nice so the game doesn't get too old. For example, when you are a Trader your ship is equipped with utilities that will aid you in buying/selling/carrying cargo. When you run the game you get a little menu with all of the game options. I like this idea, it customizes the game before you run it. Very user-friendly (just pay close attention to the Display tab because it defaults in 3dfx mode).

When you finally launch the game it loads all the missions, a process that takes about 15 seconds. A long, annoying 15 seconds every time you run the game. I thought we got rid of loading time? I can sum up the rest of this overview in one sentence. My feelings for the game were like throwing down your first McDonalds hamburger, sure it's good for the first 15 minutes, but in the end you're scared for life.

Graphics (16/20):

The graphics in this game were exceptional. You have plenty of options: 3dfx, Direct3D, Power VR, and Software. All of these options let you choose from many resolutions ranging from 300x200 to 1600x1200. I tried 1278x768 (running on a 17"inch .28 dpi Axion Monitor, Matrox Millenium II w/4 Megs onboard, and P-II 266) and it was extremely choppy. The only resolution that seemed to run smoothly was 640x400, even then. All the boards, ships, and buildings are extremely unique and well designed. Thus earning a score of 14 out of 20.

Sound (10/15):

The sound effects were extraordinary. Everything I touched or did made a sound that was well timed, clear, and interesting. The music however, was rather lame. I heard the same song on a never-ending loop for only too long. It made the game drag on. Sometimes I just got myself holding down the shoot button to make it more interesting. A score of 9 might be a bit harsh however.

Gameplay (18/30):

Here's the kicker. This game without a doubt was the hardest I have every played. I used ALT-TAB close to 7 times to look at the readme for the basic maneuvering keys. Then learning how to control the ship should be a college course. When you lift your finger off the keys you continue to turn? I found it to be a weird concept. You accelerate extremely fast and slow down extremely slow. I hit about 6 doors and 7 mountains trying to get out of the air hangar. I felt pretty proud of myself when I finally reached my first destination only to find out the cargo I bought suddenly had no use to anyone in the world, even though I received multiple messages from companies stressing the need for Ore. This becomes another rather frustrating twist. I decided to blow up an enemy ship. After doing so, 8 police officers surrounded me and sent me 6 feet under in about 2 seconds, (I earned $1275 dollars for killing the ship however, but too bad I couldn't use it). When you die, you get a Game Over screen, then out you go to the desktop. This was rather annoying because I wasn't able to save my world before dying, therefore causing me to start over. This was a task that I wasn't prepared to undergo.

Fun factor (15/20):

I can actually see why this game received many high ratings from magazines and other reviewing services. It could be addicting if you got past the first couple of hours without loosing your head. Multiplayer (4/5):

Hardwar supports the following gametypes via DirectPlay.

Network Play: (16 Player MAX.) Play by LAN over IPX or TCP/IP protocols. Serial Play: (2 Player) Play by Serial Connection, Serial Cable required. Modem Play: (2 Players) Play by Modem Connection, 56K modem required.

Overall Impression (5/10): If you have a lot of time on your hands to discover a completely new type of game, this one is definitely for you. But if you're interested in finding a quick, easy, simple game, don't waste your precious time.


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Divider Left By: Enigma Divider Right

Hardwar is an Elite clone, or more of a remake. If you've ever played Elite, or Elite 2, You'll know exactly what to expect. Hardwar has all the features of Elite, plus modern graphics. And that's a good thing.

Basically, the game consists of you, the player, and many other corporations, governments, pirates, traders and so on. You can decide on which path to choose: the trader, or the aggressor. The trader buys stuff, than sell it for more money on other docks, or take down ships and than loot what's left of them. That's the boring path.

The more interesting path and probably the one everyone will choose, is being a mercenary. You basically start out with a small ship that's equipped with the most basic technology there is. From here, everything is up to you. You can choose to help the police eliminate wanted criminals, or help the lazarous family fight their rivals, the klamp-g. Of course, the course of the game is affected by your choices.

Graphics: The graphics are good, consisting of polygons for the buildings and ships, and beautiful textures for the terrain. It runs considerably fast on my old p133 with voodoo2, although the readme file says it needs a p166. Oh well. Considering the big environment the game has to handle the graphics department gets a big plus next to it.


Sound: The sound is nothing special, consisting of the normal shooting and flying sounds. Perhaps the music would have helped, but the sound on its own is annoying and unoriginal. 11/15

Gameplay: A BIG plus. The open environment and plot add a lot to the gameplay. It is one of the fewest games I've seen that actually delivers an open architecture and a plot that is driven almost purely by the player's choices and acts. You can choose to be a lawful man and make money of trading and scavenging, or live on the gray side of the law, making money by killing people and loot their ships.

The open architecture of the game also has its downsides. When I ran the game for the first time, I was completely lost. You see, there is a plot, but it feels as if it is just something on the side. You can do whatever you want. And if you don't like the plot, you can ignore it completely. And in a computer game, that's not always good. I believe the programmers should have given the plot a bigger part in the game. Kind of like what origin did with Privateer 1 and 2. A game in which you can do whatever it is you want to do, but there is a plot you follow whether you like it or not.


Multiplayer: Because of the nature of the game, multiplayer can't be very exciting unless you play a game for quite some time. In HardWar, everything takes time, it's not just an ordinary space shoot 'em up. You have to take your time. Basically, the multiplayer play doesn't make you feel any different. It feels as if you're playing a single player game, but you can chat with your friends. To sum it up, multiplayer isn't the game's best selling point.


Fun factor: The game's open plot adds a lot to replay value of the game. You can play it 5 times, and each time the game will be different. This is NOT a game for hard-core space action fans. You don't just get inside your ship and start blowing things up. The game is massive, and it takes quite some time to get to know everything. However, if you are a patient man, that likes to take his time and explore a game to its fullest, you're in for a real treat.


Overall impression: A good game and I know that it will stay on my disk for a while. Get it. You won't regret it.



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