VIDEO GAME DIGESTHover Force
3541-B Lomita Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505
Intellivision Master Game Component
by Arnie Katz
When terrorists overrun the peaceful island city of Seeburg, it's up to the Hover Force to prevent them from demolishing it. A dispatch from Col. N.K. Newcombe, leader of this elite corps, sends the player into the skies over Seeburg in a top secret JAF-3000 helicopter. This fast and maneuverable craft can fire a laser cannon at enemy choppers and pour water on fires which the terrorists have set in an effort to destroy major buildings.
A special briefing screen, which summarizes the control system for the helicopter, supplements the detailed manual which accompanies this air combat epic. The double dose of guidance makes it surprisingly easy to pick up the rudiments of what is a fairly complex game.
The most notable aspect of Hover Force is how well the control system communicates the feel of piloting a helicopter. Players accustomed to instant reversals of direction are in for a shock. If the JAF-3000 is heading east, for instance, it takes more than pressing the 9:00 position on the direction disk to send it flying west. Timely use of the air brake kills momentum and allows relatively sharp turns. The greatest challenge for the gamer is learning how to steer accurately enough to put the sighting cursor on top of a moving target long enough to blast it.
The playfield background, an aerial view of Seeburg, serves as an attractive backdrop to the fighting in the sky overhead. The helicopters are not drawn in comparable detail, but the spinning blades look quite good during intense air battles.
Some strategic factors affect the flying and shooting. The radar screen, reached by hitting 0 on the controller keypad, shows the percentage of damage sustained by the 'copter, the level of fuel remaining, the number of enemy aircraft destroyed, the dollar cost of terrorist destruction, and the amount of ammo on board for the laser and water cannons. A visual display indicates the condition of the engine and navigation systems. A radar screen on the left side of this display presents a broad overview of the entire operation.
Landing on either of the helipads at home base enables the player to repair, rearm, and refuel the JAF-3000. The player gets three choppers during the course of the game, one at a time. Unfortunately, the enemy realizes the value of the helipads, and there's often a swarm of hostile helicopters ready to pounce on the Hover Force unit as it returns to its base.
Hover Force is a one-player contest which can be enjoyed at any of three skill levels. More intelligent and aggressive opposition makes the highest setting, "Ace," a true test of video gaming prowess. Fans of air combat should not delay their visit to Intellivisioris unfriendly skies.