The future is a grim place if movies and video games are anything to go by, and in Hoverforce we have another example of a world gone bad but which turns out to be surprisingly fun in gaming terms. This isn't a classic 3D adventure, like Castle Master but it's got enough gritty action to keep hardened retro fans hooked for a while. The story behind the game is slightly different depending on which version you play (it's also known as Resolution 101) but here a future city has been taken over by drug dealers pimping the latest trend in super addictive narcs. It falls to the player to take out the dealers in merciless fashion and which strangely enough involves a hi-tech hovercraft armed with a machine gun. The gameplay basically boils down to a kind of 3D shooter (like Descent but less dizzying) with stealth elements, where you cruise the streets looking for perps to take down in a variety of zones in the city. There's one big boss per zone to take out as well as numerous minions, and you have to grab their drugs and cash and return them for evidence and to upgrade your vehicle. Hoverforce is nothing overly complicated or deep but it is undeniably fun. There's little to it other than gratuitous blasting action and while it does get dull after a bit of time, it is satisfying stuff as long as it lasts. The graphics are quite tasty for the period, a little overly colourful considering the world in which the story takes place, but detailed and well drawn. Audio is a little lacking in character and takes the futuristic idea a bit too far but if you can ignore this, then there's a fun game to discover.
Using crims to take out crims
If you fancy a trip into a dark future where criminals are not just a drain on society but which have been turned into a useful resource, then Resolution 101 should be high on your list of retro games to fire up. The bold setting for the game is the 21st century where the titular resolution has been passed and which allows for criminals to be released from prison in return for hunting down escaped felons or taking out mob bosses. The player controls one such released crim and gets to run around town in a hi-tech skimmer armed with a machine gun (perhaps not a great move but it works in a video game), tracking down bad guys and picking up bounties. Each mission has a set of specific targets and then the game begins properly, with the player scouting around town, tracking down their target. Taking out the bad guys provides cash and drugs to collect (you can keep the former but the latter acts as evidence against the perps), with the cash being spent on weapons, upgrades and repairs for your skimmer. The game plays out in 3D first person fashion and while the graphics are quite simple, lacking details and consisting largely of blocks, they aren't bad considering the game's age, although they might be considered a tad cheerful. Sound is entirely forgettable, with just a few period-typical bleeps and blops but they aren't too intrusive or headache inducing, so they can be forgiven. Gameplay is equally straightforward but proves quite compelling and for an old-school 3D shooter, this proves to be quite an enjoyable little excursion into the future. Check out the classic Castle Master for an even more impressive early 3D adventure.