As Apple dominated the home computer market in the 1980s, Microsoft would eventually catch-up and dethrone Apple in the ‘90s with its own operating system. Major OS releases for Microsoft at the time were MS-DOS with its command prompt interface, then came the 16-bit series of Windows that included the popular Windows 3.x versions that started to overtake Apple’s Macintosh market share, and then there was the OS that blew all others away and gave Microsoft a huge lead for many years to come: Windows 95.
Multimedia was becoming a big deal for computers and Windows 95 was showcased as a platform ready for it. To kind of show off what the operating system could do, they placed a folder on the install CD for Windows 95 titled “funstuff.” Inside this folder included some image files and a few video files (one of these video files was the music video “Buddy Holly” from Weezer). The other item in this folder was a game called Hover!. The reason for showcasing the game was its graphics due to it being a 3D type game similar to Doom or Duke Nukem 3D.
Hover! is a capture the flag type game that has you maneuvering around the environments in a hover craft called the Hover 950. The goal of each level is to capture all of your opponent’s flags before they capture all of yours. It’s a 3 vs 1 game where you are the one. Each level is of a maze like design, so everything for the most part is hidden behind walls, forcing you to peek into every nook and cranny of the environment to find a flag.
As you’d expect with piloting a hovercraft, the steering is very loose and has you sliding around all over the place. You can see your opponents in their own blue colored Hover 950s moving around the level, allowing each other to bump into one another. When they see you are near, they will stop searching for flags and instead start to go after and bump into you; preventing you from collecting their flags. Hazards in each level in the form of tiles cause some problems during gameplay. Some tiles will fling you forward in a certain direction at high speeds for a few seconds before you can take control again while others may trap and prevent you from moving for a bit before letting you go. And others will take away a flag you have already captured and release it into a random location in the level that you will need to find again.
Helping you are items that are scattered around each maze that you can use to your advantage. For example, you can setup a temporary wall that can block your opponent from getting to a flag or to prevent them from bumping into you. Other items include power-ups that can momentarily increase your speed or shield you from the tile hazards.
There are three different themed mazes in Hover!: a medieval castle, a futuristic neon lit city, and a sewer. When you have captured all the flags for all three stages, the levels will cycle again, but during the second cycle, you’ll need to capture four flags instead of three, then five with the next cycle, etc.
Like a cockroach, this game never really goes away. Hover! can run on any Windows operating system post Windows 95. Heck, you can even run it on Windows 8! In 2013, a team from Microsoft re-released the game that runs on a web browser and includes a multiplayer mode. Although each level’s graphics look different compared to the original, the mazes are mapped out exactly the same. Hover! can still be downloaded from Microsoft’s website and is still free to play so there’s no reason not to play it. Don't deny it. You know you wanna play it.
Posted on: December 30, 2014