Thursday, June 14, 2018

H.A.T.E Hostile All Terrain Encounter

8/16Bit Legends

Vortex Software released some amazing games for the ZX Spectrum and they were one of my favourite companies back in the day. H.A.T.E was their final effort and is a scrolling shooter quite similar in style to Zaxxon.

Our all-terrain encounter takes us through numerous isometric levels using a variety of crafts, from planes to tanks and even a hovercraft. As the landscape scrolls by, we need to destroy the nuclear generators where it hurts to reveal plasma cells. Collecting these not only determines how many lives we are given on the next level but they also act as a shield to protect us from harm during the current game, which I personally think is genius!

So, this is just Zaxxon?

The enemy appears in various guises, from ground-based machinery that spew out deadly mines to missiles, tanks and aircraft. Use evasive manoeuvres, especially when piloting a plane, as the enemy will often attack in waves. At the end of the level, a mothership whisks us off whereas the original continued on as far as I remember?

Controls are confusing but I soon got the hang of it after a couple of attempts. Every craft can move left or right with the fire button used for your main weapon. But there are differences to learn depending on the craft being used. For example, land-based tanks can move forwards and backwards whereas planes cannot - they increase or decrease their altitude. Also, pushing up whilst firing will activate a secondary weapon such as lasers or bombs.


Graphics remind me of Highway Encounter but aren't nearly as polished. In fact, they're often boring with murky colours and lethargic scrolling. However, I gotta say that I love the shadows, especially when carrying the plasma cells. Okay, it has a Zaxxon vibe but it's not Zaxxon in either looks or gameplay, so stop it!

The title music is a gem and most certainly one of the best chiptunes ever, thanks to Ben Daglish. Timid music plays during gameplay to provide a nice background that complements the zip-zappy sound effects.

The CryptO'pinion?

This is a good conversion of Costa's brilliant 8-Bit classic but it's not perfect and a couple of issues frustrated me. It began the second level and my beefy tank exploded because I accidentally touched a nearby building - hate that!! Also, after losing a life, it can feel like forever and a day waiting to continue on. Ugh, petty but agony...

Hostile All Terrain Encounter might look as sexy as a bruised banana but it plays great and is extremely addictive. I've spent several hours playing H.A.T.E and I have L.O.V.E.D every second of it. This is a fantastic game!!

Fancy a little extra hate in your ST life?
Grab the download for either floppy disk or hard drive.

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