Hover Blade

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Average Rating: 3.6 (4 people have rated this item.)

RAM Requirement: 1 meg RAM

Control: Mouse

Release Status: Abandonware

Year: 1991

Publisher: MCX

Developers: Shiraz Akmal & Eric Boden

System 6 Compatible: Yes

Hard Drive Installable: Yes

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Screen ShotScreen Shot

MCX was unknown and seemed to come out of nowhere, but reading the docs uncovers it was the type of start up operation run out of a garage, the dream of two 19 year olds Shiraz Akmal and Eric Boden.

I was a bit disappointed when I received the game via mail order as it was the same price as other IIGS commercial releases and it arrived in a shrink wrapped package containing a photocopied manual only ten pages long and two disks. It didn't have the same polish as other IIGS games but I can't blame Shiraz and Eric for trying; many great companies started in a garage.

Unfortunately, after first seeing screen shots, the game didn't quite live up to my expectations, although this was at a time when the FTA raised everyone's expectations. I could best describe this game as a cross between the cool 8-bit Apple II game Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom and the Sega arcade game Space Harrier. You fly the HB5000 HoverBlade with the mouse, which takes a bit of getting used to. The slightest movement of the mouse flings your craft across the screen - not ideal for avoiding the many obstacles and collecting precious power ups. I can only suggest visiting the IIGS control panel and turning off fast mouse speed. Anyways, fly between bonus gates for extra points, pick up shield and fuel power-ups and dodge features of the landscape.

The game itself plays too fast if you've got an accelerated IIGS. Bring the speed down to the 2.8Mhz and you'll just be able to play the game. It's a shame the extra speed of an emulator or accelerated IIGS doesn't make play a bit smoother; it only goes faster. Without the smoother play the game play is made more challenging if you miss a fuel power-up, you're not always likely to find another before your fuel runs out. Fuel power-ups are sometimes inconveniently hidden by the landscape. You can't just shoot the landscape away at random, because you'd be likely to blow up the power-up as well. Oh, and again in games, I'll never understand why you blow up when you run out of fuel! I'm no chemist or engineer, but I do know explosions need something to fuel them.

MCX were obviously inspired by the FTA, and in the credits screen from the main menu (a nod to the interface of the FTA's Photonix Utility) it says as much. The SoundSmith music is fair but what really shines about this game is Eric Boden's artwork. Nice cockpit and sprite graphics. It's a shame Olivier Goguel didn't give these guys the source to the FTA's Space Harrier Demo - Eric Boden's graphics would have been better served with smoother game play.