HyperBlade PC CD violent futuristic sports armed combat skating competition game 






If the recreational, violent world of Activision's HyperBlade were a reality, it would be every hockey fan's dream - and every hockey player's nightmare. In the fantasy future where the newfangled game of HyperBlade takes place, the rules governing popular sporting events - at least the humane rules - have become pretty scarce. As the member of a "blading" team (maybe the term "team" should be replaced with "mercenary squad"), you must compete in several international arenas to become head of the class - or lose your head trying. Combining elegant, silken 3-D graphics with ultrarealistic character movement and exhilarating yet harsh gameplay, HyperBlade is sure to win over those sports gamers who want to see a little bit more blood hit the ice.

Well, you're not exactly on ice in HyperBlade, you're just trying to put your opponents on ice, so to speak. Your team consists of three players, each armed with a "jak" (a throwing-slashing device) and clad in about as much protective shielding as they can afford to wear. Two of these teammates are controlled as your offense, and one is a goalie. You can customize your team by selecting players of varying skill at the start-up screen; some players excel in speed, others in strength, etc. A typical match begins when an electronic puck or "rok" is ejected into the air. The competitors then skate around the huge hyperbolic arena, vie for possession of the rok, pass it around, and toss it into the goal. The rules are just that simple, because after that, anything goes.

Between the two goals at either end of the arena, there are several jumps and obstacles to maneuver. You can send your player catapulting into the air with strategically located ramps or activate turnstiles which make a salad of the next poor fellow who runs into them. Trip mines and missile projectiles can also be picked up and deployed, toppling any opponent who is trailing you.

Toppling isn't the only evasive tactic at your disposal, as good sportsmanship quickly gives way to merciless brutality. There are several attack moves that you can test out on your competition. Body-checking an opponent will send him sprawling helplessly onto the court, losing the rok if it's in his possession. To really make the opponent cry out in agony, you can try slashing. And if you slash him enough times, you'll actually be able to decapitate him, carry his disembodied cranium over to the goal, and toss it in as if you were in some sort of Aztec basketball tournament. Pretty sick ideas here. But watch out for the other team's goalie, because he or she may swoop down and unjustifiably kick the crap out of you simply for treading on the wrong turf.

The developers of this game seem to have gone all out to create a believable atmosphere. A lot of time went into rendering the skaters' actions and, judging from their incredible fluidity of movement, the effort was well worth it. At times, your skater will have to perform dramatic rail slides and aerials off the sides of the arena, or go for a power shot during the climactic last seconds of a round. The celebratory explosions, sirens, and uproarious crowd cheers, accompanied by a pulsating soundtrack, add to the dramatic tension of each match.

As a competitor in the Hyperdrome, you're bestowed with all the glory of an internationally competing sports hero. But by the same token, you're constantly reminded of the fact that you're only a sacrificial dupe, risking your neck for the enjoyment of a sick, fury-driven crowd. This is the sinister, immersive environment that HyperBlade creates for the player. Little nuances, like the despondency with which the players keel over and die, and the participants' preliminary stretches that seem to say "another backbreaking day at the 'drome" effectively suck you into the dark theme. Whether you're play this over a network or just try and beat the computer, HyperBlade should provide a half-pipe of joy for sports and action game fans alike.

For Windows (32-bit Systems) [*Please review compatibility/platform sections in 'What You Get']


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