Thursday, June 14, 2018

H.A.T.E Hostile All Terrain Encounter




8/16Bit Legends

Vortex Software released amazing games for the ZX Spectrum and they were one of my favourite companies. I still remember the day I saw Android and I played Revolution to death, which is odd as I now hate (no pun) games like that. However, their legacy ended with H.A.T.E which was their final effort, a scrolling shooter similar in style to Zaxxon.

The year is 2320 and aliens are invading our once-peaceful galaxy. What can we do? Fight back of course! So it's our quest to defend everyone from the alien invasion so head out to Stripworld. Erm, that's where pilots go to train. Ahem.

I know you will think this is a Zaxxon rip-off but it's not as the gameplay is very different...



This game is tough but what's even harder is trying to capture screenshots when playing!



Hey, I'm a tank. Let's go and blow stuff up!



A boring Zaxxon clone?

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, our ultimate mission is to destroy the nuclear generators - hit 'em where it hurts! This reveals plasma cells and collecting these not only determines how many lives we are given on the next level but also acts as a shield to protect us from harm during the current game, which I personally think is genius!

Unlike Zaxxon, which I found soon got predictable and very samey, HATE is constantly varied and interesting. The enemies appear in various guises, from ground-based machinery that spews out deadly mines, missiles, tanks and aircraft. There's a lot going on, so you will need to 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 for more action with different graphics.

Controls are initially a little confusing but I soon got the hang of it after a couple of games. The craft can move left or right with the fire button used for the main weapon. But there are differences to learn depending on the craft being used: 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 and bombs.

Righto, it's that time when we take a gander at some more sexy ST screenshots. So, here you go...



Hitting the water in my hovercraft just adds massively to the enjoyment.



I'm back inside my ship and there are bouncy spikey balls. Let's destroy 'em!!



Aesthetics

The graphics remind me of Highway Encounter but with more variety and the attention to detail for buildings and structures is superb. I gotta say that I love the shadows especially when carrying the plasma cells. The only negative is that some levels use a bland colour palette which spoils things somewhat - these levels look as sexy as a bruised banana!

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

Yes, it looks and sounds very, very nice so let's celebrate with the last couple of screenshots...



This is a screenshot with... more action going on. Yep.



Gotta say that I love the graphics. Great attention to detail throughout.



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. This began the second level as my beefy tank exploded because I accidentally touched a nearby building!! Also, after losing a life, it can feel like forever and a day waiting to continue the game. I know, I'm being a bit petty and scraping the barrel.

Hostile All Terrain Encounter has its problems but I've enjoyed myself. This is a fun shooter with challenging and addictive gameplay. I've spent several hours playing H.A.T.E and I have L.O.V.E.D every second of it. A fantastic shooter!!

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

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