This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Heavy Forces 3D: Review

Category:Video Games
Console:Mobile Games
I’m not really a video game-player at all. I do play video games, but only on my cell phone. Put it down to being just too old to catch the video-game craze of the late eighties with the black and white hand-held thingies like calculators turned on their sides. You know what I’m talking about.

On my cell-phone, though, I do play video games, usually at such earthshakingly busy occasions as when I’m sitting on the loo or attempting to fall asleep or something. Almost all of these games are on my Sony Ericsson K790i, the first of a line of cell phones I’ve owned which has had decent pre-installed games along with internet access. And since my service provider allows me to download free games (or at a nominal amount, 99 rupees a game) once in a while, I did download a few, only to delete each and every one when they either became too much of a time sink or else failed to live up to expectations.

For a while, in fact, I was without a single downloaded game on the cell, and feeling pretty good about myself. I thought I’d kicked the habit. Well...

Recently I got another of those download-games-free messages and I just thought “Well looking can’t hurt" and I checked what was on offer. And when I saw the games on offer included something I’d been looking for – a tank warfare game – I went ahead and got it anyway.

First thing: This was created by Cepteki Dunya, which we Indians would normally think is a Hindi name (“ki dunya” means “world of”). It turns out to be a Turkish company though, which probably explains the game as well.

Now, my experience with this needs to be seen in view of the fact that this is the first first-person-shooter 3D game I have ever tried, so I have no basis for comparison, and that it’s a game formulated for mobile phones, so it’s obviously not going to be of the standard of computer video games. So my review may leave something to be desired.

Here’s the idea of the game: you are in charge of a tank (your POV is that of the tank commander looking over the turret – see the picture), driving through an ancient city (basically a maze of stone walls with sand dunes visible in the distance). This city is occupied by enemy forces (tanks, armoured personnel carriers and attack helicopters). Your task is to annihilate them and pick up a key which allows you to progress to the next level.

At the start you have 100 points. Each time you’re hit (hits indicated by a red flash) your total is deducted by 5 points, and when you reach zero, the round is over. You begin with 40 shells and can pick up more on the way if you find ammunition boxes. There are three boxes you can find: orange ammunition boxes, red health boxes (if you find these you get 50 points extra) and pink key boxes. Only if you find the pink key boxes and you discover the exit gates can you reach the next round.

No, I have no idea how many rounds there are; I’ve only reached the third round at most.

Mostly the game consists of driving round the maze of stone walls, shooting at tanks and helicopters when they appear, and hoping to find the boxes and the exit before you run out of points. It sounds dumb when put like that but it’s certainly the best mobile cell game I’ve found so far and as yet I have no intention of deleting it.

The tanks and armoured personnel carriers are yellow and stationary, and they appear in the distance or when you turn a corner. When you hit them they explode with a pretty yellow flash and leave a shattered chassis behind to mark their final resting place. Helicopters are a much greater problem, since they blink into existence just about anywhere, even right behind you. When you hit them they explode leaving nothing behind. I hate the attack helicopters, and I suppose a real tank commander will hate them as well.

Now for the downside, or why this gets only two and a half stars from me. First, there is no overview of the battlefield. You just have to keep careening around until by luck you find what you are looking for. Second, the three rounds I have seen offer no variations; you are in the same maze in the third round as you are in the first and second, fighting the same enemies. And as for those enemies, there is a kind of circle in the middle of the bottom of the screen showing green dots indicating your relative distance and position from them, so theoretically you could drive orienting yourself by that scope, It however has all the charm of taking a scenic drive navigating entirely by radar, and isn’t too good when it comes to the helicopters either.

About those helicopters, there is another problem. If you’re too close you can’t see them. If you’re too far you can’t see them. If you shoot at them when you can’t see them you can’t destroy them...but they can shoot at you. Although the enemy do not hit you each time they shoot, it’s definitely something that needs tweaking.

I'm taking an entire star off for another problem, which is that the game is prone to sudden unexpected freezes, and has to be restarted all over again from the beginning. Also if you get a text message, call or anything, the game freezes and needs restarting from the beginning. Annoying, especially if you're on a roll.

All in all, not a bad introductory shooter tank combat sim game...for a cell phone. I think I won’t be downloading its like again.

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