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Havoc Review


PUBLISHER Reality Bytes 

A Stinger buzzes past me,

And I fire off a couple rounds with my Electrolaser just to warn the punk not to come this way again. My tracking's a bit too slow, though, and my would-be opponent escapes unscathed. I briefly think about turning this into a little chase but reconsider, knowing full well that my HyperTank was meant to slug in out toe to toe, not engage in one of these high-speed chases across the wastelands. Maybe I can sell this mammoth off and get one of those HoverCrafts, or better yet, maybe a BattleCycle. Putting the Stinger out of my mind, I push my HyperTank forward, enjoying the smooth ride the anti-gravity propulsion units provide. I crest a small hill and find exactly what the proximity locator told me would be there. The bunker sits there seemingly undefended, but I'm no wetback and my eyes spot the two aircraft screaming towards me. Quickly, I slam the gearstick into reverse and see the first bomb materialize into a blast crater just a few meters in front of me. My ride's not that nimble, however, and the second bomb hits my tankí•s hide dead-on. Luckily, I have enough shield left to magnetically angle the bomb away, though that love tap was anything but gentle. Remind me to thank the manufacturer of these safety harnesses. I respond with a burst from my left-mounted mortar, methodically tracking shells across the horizon until I hit the first plane right in the wing. Crash and burn, baby. The other flyboy's trying to sneak up behind me, so I throw a rocket salvo in his direction with the old trigger finger. Splash two boggies. The welcoming party taken care of, I switch to guided disk ammunition and level the bunker in a satisfying fireball. All in a day's work. Reality Bites' Havoc is a 3D shoot-em-up for both the Mac and PC. Playing the part of an independent tank commander in the turbulent third millenium, A.D., you wander the vast wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Earth, where once-proud nations have degenerated into battlegrounds for resource-hungry megacorporations and freelancing pirates like yourself. Once ruled under the total dominance of the supercorp Tyrakian Global, the regions of the Badlands, Fallen Wasteland, and the Tyrakian Territories lie in complete disarray, virtual treasure troves of free commodities--if you can get to them before anyone else does.

Sort of like Spector on steroids, Havoc mirrors the earlier games' geometric landscape to speed-up redrawing rates, as well as the general concept of a lone tank commander having a little fun in the midst of a horde of enemies (not that we haven't seen the all of them against all of you concept before...). Havoc, though, takes things one step further, adding a little texture to the background by the way of selective patterns, and the enemies actually look like something more than big moving triangles. Weapon selection in Havoc is extensive, ranging from the simple laser to the all-powerful EMP cannon that fries the enemies' electrical systems. Ooooh, makes ya itchy just thinking about it, doesn't it? One thing that the designers of Havoc forgot, though, was the option Spector gave in personalizing the tank you roam around in. Havoc limits you to three choices as in Spector--a fast and lightly-armored model, a slower but better-armed and armored one, and the ever-present compromise between the two--but Havoc offers no customizable features, somewhat curtailing gameplay.

The simple object-based rendering system makes for extremely smooth game control, though no matter how fast your tank is, enemies always manage to move a little faster, sometimes managing to manouver behind your tank and fire away. It gets to be a pain, but luckily their shields arení•t quite as good as yours are, and a few well-placed blasts from a laser cannon can make short work out of even the peskiest enemy tank.

Apparently, Reality Bytes decided to make the networking capabilities of this game the major selling point, as the cross-platform compatibility of Havoc allows PC's and Macs to work off the same CD-ROM. The game even comes with two CD's, a full-version game disk for the person who shelled out the money for the game and an extra-player disk that only supports the networked version of the game. Unfortunately, unlike Warcraft and Rise of the Triad every player must have a disk in order to play Havoc, meaning that in order to get the truly fun 8000-player network games going, everybody's going to have to contribute some cake.

That's assuming, of course, that you'll be able to set up a network game in the first place. Though Reality Bytes clearly states that PC-Mac and Ethernet-Modem connections are workable, as of this writing all attempts at both types of connections on our part have failed. Whether this is a computer problem or a software bug has yet to be determined, but we here at Revolution remain diligent as ever.

All in all, Havoc comes through as a pretty enjoyable shoot-em-up, with plenty of good old bang-bang to go around. With all the possible things one can do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, this is one of them.
B- Revolution report card
  • Good shoot 'em up.
  • Network doesn't work well.
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