H. A. T. E.
Now here's somebody we havent heard from in quite a while. Vortex. Remember them? The crowd wot bought us Allen Highway and Highway Encounter. The only reason I mention those two in particular when I could have named stuff like Android 2 and TLL is that this, the latest release, is quite similar visually. Still, in true reviewing style, before I get right down to all the nitty gritty bits, why don't I let you know what HATE is all about.
To begin with, the HATE of the title is not an abject human emotion expressing a distinct dislike to something akin to a mixture of anger and abhorration, it actually stands for Hostile All-Terrain Encounter. What that means is that you have to travel through ten diagonally scrolling levels of hills and valleys destroying all the dangerous nuclear reactors and collecting the fission tubes. Enemies appear in the form of various kinds of kamikaze aliens who spring from holes in the ground. Some then proceed to work their way towards you, weaving left and right across the screen. Others just line themselves up and fire at you.
You get to play the pilot of a plane and a tank driver on alternate levels as you progress through the ten screens. The only difference between the two craft is the control system. When flying the plane, you can't move forward or backward in relation to your position on screen; up and down on the joystick correspond to climbing and diving. When you are driving the tank, you can manoeuvre forward and backwards, as well as left and right.
Still, where does the nuclear bit come in? Well, along the way there are quite a few reactors that have gone a bit funny. These have to be destroyed. When shot, they leave behind cylindrical pods. Collect these by flying over them, and they attach themselves to the end of your craft and fly happily along behind you. These pods have two purposes, the first being that you can't complete a level unless you have at least one hanging off your tail. At the end of a level, you come across a shield-like thingy that destroys you if you don't have one. The other thing the pod does is die for you; each one you carry, absorbs one direct hit or collision, which then eradicates the pod.
The graphics are Vortex. There's no other way I can put it. This game could quite easily be called Highway 3-Freddy's Back because, yes, it does look very Highway Encounter The 18k used on the scrolling seems to have been wasted. It's nice and smooth when there's nothing on screen, but it does slow down quite noticeably when things begin to appear.
Sound is normal spectrum sound. Nice 128K tune, good spot FX on 48.
HATE is a straightforward blast which won't give you brainache in the gameplay department. It may not be anything revolutionary, but you won't regret giving it a bash.
Label: Gremlin Author: Vortex Price: £8.95 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Well, you won't hate it.