WA

The Hive

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The PC has been considered for years as the best platform for adventure, strategy and simulation games. One of the reasons behind this was the greater processing performances of the PC over the existing consoles. While consoles had better video and sound possibilities than a PC, they were suffering of a lack of power which prevented them for example, to handle large and complex calculations needed in simulations. Instead, the consoles confined themselves to certain types of games where they achieved the very best of gaming such as shoot'em-up and platform games. After all, Sega and Nintendo both built their success on these games!

Today the story is different with 16-bit sound cards and fast video graphic cards, the PC is in a position where nearly any kind of game can be adapted for it. However, although there are nearly no more restrictions for both graphics and sounds with the adequate hardware, the processor's speed rapidly became essential to have the same sensation as with a console game. It is not rare nowadays to see very high system requirements for just an arcade game. Just like Shockwave Assault, "The Hive" is one of these games that you can't really play on a 486. At the least, you will need a Pentium to fully enjoy this fast action-arcade game that is the latest production from Trimark Interactive.

A long time ago, the Ancients engineered a mutant race called Hivasects, capable of producing a highly poisonous bio-toxin. The substance was so toxic that it caused the extinction of the Ancients, and it is now feared that the recent discovery of Ancients archeological sites could cause history to repeat itself and thus, threaten the safety of the entire galaxy. The Noir Dyne Corporation managed to recreate an entire hive from an archived DNA sample of a Hivasect Queen with their only goal being to produce the lethal bio-toxin.

In "The Hive", you are MAX, a Federation agent in a mission to infiltrate the Noir Dyne Corporation. With the help of Agent Ginger Malloy, you will have to make your way through the heavy defenses of the Hive battling against enemy fighters, ground troops, automatic weapons and Hivasects themselves.

The graphics in The Hive are quite stunning with remarkable rendered cinematic sequences using the latest 3D technology. There are four levels of details you can select for the graphics in order to match your system performances. They range from 320 by 200 to 640 by 480 using 256 or 65,536 colors. However, it is important to notice that the SVGA modes can only be used if you have a fast PC with a VRAM video card. If you don't, the frame per second rate might not be fast enough and you should instead try the VGA modes to experience a real thrill!

What is new in "The Hive" is the Panoractive technology which offers a 360 degree view in which you can turn while playing. To give you an example, there is one level in the game where you control a gun turret. If you aim your gun to the left, the entire view will move to the left as if you were really there. But watch out, the enemy could come from behind your back, so don't stay too long in the same position. Not all the levels feature Panoractive sequences. Some levels play the same as in Cyberia or Rebel Assault 2 where you can only move your gun sight while shooting. There are levels where you don't have to shoot at all, simply maintaining the proper trajectory for your ship or choosing the right path in a deadly labyrinth.

Among the nineteen levels of "The Hive", you will find some easier than others, but the overall difficulty of the game remains high despite the presence of two levels: normal and expert. A practice level will offer you some training through two different levels but if like me, you encounter too many difficulties playing the game, you can download a patch at the end of this page to make the game easier. You can also play with a joystick instead of the mouse for better playability.

This review would not be complete without mentioning the fabulous soundtrack of "The Hive" that deserves a perfect score. When you listen to the orchestral soundtrack, you feel as if the music comes directly from a multi-million dollar movie production so intense and heart-pounding. The developers were so proud of it that they included a wav file of over 20 Mb on the second CD to give an idea of the soundtrack.

We must also notice that the Hive is a 32-bit game that is exclusively available for the Windows 95 environment. As it uses the DirectX library like Shockwave Assault, you must be sure to have a compatible sound card to play with it, if not, you will experience jerky animations and sound cuts.

Conclusion:

From all the shoot'em-ups available on the PC, The Hive is a way ahead of the competition. Although you will need a Pentium and a good video card for maximum performances, it is a must for any shooting fan. Definitely on my list of great games!

System Requirements:

486 DX2-66 MHz or higher,
Min 8MB memory,
Hard disk,
Windows 95,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
256-color SVGA video graphic card (VESA Local Bus or PCI recommended),
Microsoft mouse or 100% compatibles.

Thrustmaster, CH Flightstick, or any analog joystick supported.

Windows 95 compatible sound card supporting Direct Audio.

Developers

Rainbow America.

Publishers

In North America:

Trimark Interactive,
2644 30th St,
Santa Monica, CA 90405-9729.

Technical Support: 310-392-3243

Web site: www.trimarkint.com

Ratings:

Graphics:95%
Sound:94%
Music:96%
Gameplay:90%
Interest:88%
Overall:92%

Click here for additional screen shots.

Click here to download the patch.

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