The Future is Greedy
The background for HardWar pits you, an independent flyer, against the faction ridden inhabitants of Misplaced Optimism. The Mega-corporations have pulled out of the depleted moon Titan and some company sabotage has ensured that no-one else is getting of this barren rock. So everyone is out to look after number one and you're no exception. You start out with a simple ship, or moth, as they are called (because as they are solar powered you spend a lot of time hanging around 'light wells' I suppose), but can start as an aggressor, a trader or a scavenger, so your ship will be configured slightly differently. The ships fly in a very helecopter-like way allowing drifts and vertical/horizontal movement while flying.

Misplaced Optimism is an underground system of 10 sectors , linked by passages. Some sectors are specialised (mines, food production, residential), most containing a selection of services. Money drives everything and you will be concentrating on earning enough to upgrade your current ship or buying a more advanced one. Trading post in most sectors can give you a handle on where your goods can be sold for the most profit, or where the cheap stuff is. You fly, you shoot, you scavenge!

We protect, you serve
The police are a powerful faction in Hardwar. Their ships are well suited to combat so it's a bad idea to get on the wrong side of them. They also offer bounties on the more unscrupulous denizens which is a useful way to earn some cash. Be aware that any stray shots hitting innocents during combat can quickly draw the attention of the Police and you will find yourself on the wanted lists unless you fork out a hefty bribe.

Hello Flyer...
Keep a wary eye on your communications channel. Day to day messages include suggestions of places to visit, likely areas of interfactional strife(and thus some nice salvage), but you will be interested in the unusual. Plot advancement in HardWar is quite linear with you having to do special task A before you get to do B, etc. Yet with Misplaced Optimism a hive of activity around you, you sometimes fail to notice. There are a couple of sub-plots aswell I think, I seen video still footage of a geezer from a religous faction who I never got around to sorting out. I particularly enjoy the video sequences that appear as the plot continues, fuelling the emotions and got quite attached to several characters. You feel Psycho Bob's frustration as the nukes fly, helpless as young Syd is killed and an ending sequence so moving I was brought to tears. Did I mention the very atmospheric music score with the best tracks you will here outside clubland? Beaten only by Icewind Dale on the music front.

And the verdict?

This game recieved very heavy play, even with my old video card having to run the game in software emulation mode I found the slightly jerky frame rate troubling only after many gaming sessions. One of the reasons I upgraded my machine to a vodoo 3000 PCI 2meg card was to get the smooth frame rate for HardWar. I played it so often I think I wore out a CD drive and one of the CD game disks. I was surprised to find interplay, a prestigous game company may have picked up this title from its european roots as the official HardWar pages appear on their website now. Spotted a budget release in France during the summer but nothing on the shelves in the UK. We have been waiting to follow the flyers next adventures against the aliens or the Corporations but there is no news so far.

... Still we wait....

http://www.interplay.com/hardwar/ (070503 Link is dead)