by Atari

From Atari comes yet another spectacularly mediocre title for its 64-bit Jaguar system. Similar to its coin-op smash Battlezone from over thirteen years ago, you control a tank (well, a hover tank in this case) and roam around the countryside, blowing things up. Throughout the thirty missions in this game, you'll get to enhance your arsenal by picking up various powerups as well as the ability to refuel your vehicle.

The biggest drawback found in Hover Strike is in the action, or lack thereof. The enemies are few and far in between (mostly structures), and most players will get bored with the frequent lull in the action. Sim advocates will point out that Hover Strike is a strategy game that requires thinking, and therefore is more realistic because of the pauses in conflict. Control is floaty and is probably indicative of how a hover tank actually moves, but it's uncomfortable and difficult to get used to, at least for me. You wouldn't expect a large, all-terrain vehicle to be quick as a cat but its ponderous nature gets extremely frustrating after awhile.

The scenarios in Hover Strike aren't different enough, with only the gravity changing somewhat from mission to mission (for no discernable reason.) All the areas look almost exactly the same, except for some superficial color changes. Graphics don't help matters either. It's grainy, and the outrageous pixelization that occurs during close-ups is laudable.

To add insult to injury, the graphics are uninspired and the sound is generally weak. The boards seem washed out and fuzzy, and a more liberal use of colors could have helped, especially in the circus-like "Party Land" board. The music will get annoying after a few plays with its repetition and cheesy tunes that don't mesh well with each of the board themes.

Unless you lust for a tank simulation with dark and boring terrains, low framerates and loose controls, your best bet is to wait for the upcoming CD version that supposedly will be much improved over this one.

Title Hover Strike
Publisher Atari
System Atari Jaguar
Graphics 6
Sound 7
Gameplay 4
Overall 5
Reviewer Keita Iida

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