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.
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.
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.
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.
Hardwar supports the following gametypes via
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
A good game and I know that it will stay on my disk
for a while. Get it. You won't regret it.