Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Base improvement over the original...nothing more, nothing less..."

In the tradition of games such as Off World Interceptor, you come across games such as Hover Strike and it’s later companion Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands. In this little outing, you guide your extremely versatile tank through several different worlds and battlefields in an attempt to overthrow the enemy and save the galaxy. While the story line is extremely used and the game really doesn’t keep the pace with all of the action and adventure that you may want from a sequel of sorts, you’ll still find that the above average visuals and complex control worth your attention! If you’re a fan of games that take your patience and skills to the limit, then you’re definitely looking in the right direction, and if you’re looking to collect Jaguar CD games, then you’ll need this one as well.

Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands really doesn’t feature too much that would set it leaps and bounds above other games in this genre. You’ll find that the game has some interesting, if not impressive visual effects throughout the duration of the title that are just slightly better than what you would have found in the original Hover Strike. However, the lull in the action that you find through the game is common still, as it was in the original, and there are points where you may be aimlessly wandering for a couple of hours. Something that does make this title interesting though, is that a second player can join up and control portions of the tank that gives you the opportunity to focus on the direction rather than having to do both functions at once!

Game play here is strictly your usual run and gun action, but from the pilots seat of the tank. At no point will you ever go outside of the tank, or have another camera view, so you’ll have to learn how to use the radar function and the different weapons effectively. Difficulty found here is in variation depending on how many weapons and enemies your facing at any given point, and for some gamers who aren’t used to this type of game, this may be a little too much to get a grasp on within the first few minutes of play. As usual, you have a pad insert with the game that gives you all of the functions located on the numerical pad, but the real challenge of the game is just to be able to get through the stages without losing interest in the process! The two-player option does make things a little easier, in which you friend will control either the movement ability or the weapons functions of your hover tank, and therefore, you’ll be able to concentrate on one aspect of the game instead of having to deal with both.

Control is a big part of Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands and you’ll need to learn how to use all of the functions of your tank. Targeting systems aren’t used by simple crosshairs, but rather by the use of the numerical pad with different aspects attached to it. It can be a little difficult to switch to missiles and otherwise from guns in the middle of a full-scale battle, so you’ll have to learn to use the control effectively within the first mission in order to continue into the later stages! Beginners to games such as this will find that the control may be a little too complex for their liking and if you can’t get a grasp on it, then two players is a must so that you can concentrate on one aspect and learn it, then switch to learn the other.

Visually, the game is slightly cleaner than the cartridge counterpart in which you have more diversity in the different enemies and locations that you’re roaming through. The weapons effects are neat to look at, but the explosions that result seem to more or less forced and pasted on throughout the entire game. If you add into this that the game really doesn’t have much to offer in terms of fully different lands and otherwise, you’ll find that there really isn’t much of an improvement over the game than you would find in any other of its type! Another small disappointing feature is that the game seems to jump at points with the visuals and some of the more complex maneuvers that you may perform throughout the game seem to amplify this effect, making everything look slightly uneven.

Audio wise, there is a really cool techno rock soundtrack that accompanies you throughout the game and the various missions. You’ll find that the pace of the game is set to this, but only in battle, with the soundtrack seeming completely out of place when you have nothing to fight or blow up! The sound effects also run the same way, in which you have plenty of explosions, laser fire, gunfire and voice effects, but there are just enough to cover the different aspects of the game and nothing more! Considering that there is just enough to show you the theme and attempt to keep the pace, you’ll still find that there isn’t enough to really keep your interest when the action comes to a full stop between battles.

Hover Strike for the Jaguar CD isn’t a bad game, but it seems too much like the original to be anything new and improved. With a lack of total visual improvement and some misplaced soundtracks that haunt you throughout the game, you may find that the minor improvements in the game are just enough for an average rating. However, the complex control interface is what the game features the most of, and unless you’ve got a total grasp on what this feature can do and how to use it effectively, your outlook on the game could go either way. Another small problem with the game is that the game play seems to be broken up in spots with some portions of the game being a little boring in the process. Either way, Hover Strike is collectable because of it’s rarity on a dead system that apparently no one seems to know about!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/16/02, Updated 01/16/02

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