It's 331 years in the future and things on Earth are bad (and I don't mean Michael Jackson). In fact the entire galaxy isn't doing too well. Hostile forces from the other side of the universe are beginning to threaten the very stability of human existence. And whaddya know, there ain't anyone qualified to fight 'em. That's the result of all those education cuts...
Still, someone has to do it. Off you go to Stripworld (gerremoff fnarrrrrryerkyukyuk... - no, no Mark, you're on TGM now) to train for the alien-killing mania ahead. Hostile All Terrain Encounter (H.A.T.E.) training involves 30 levels of avoiding and shooting ground-skimming projectiles, guided missiles, and enemy Star Fighters.
Every level contains plasma energy cells, vital to successful progression. The object is to shoot off a covering and pick up the cells left behind. You require at least one plasma cell to get onto the next level.
Collect more than one, and the extra cells act as extra lives in as much as if you tail the next level you're sent back to the last level on which you collected more than one. The only drawback of this otherwise interesting feature is that it tends to make a game last for hours, and the levels get a bit repetitive tenth time around!
As well as all this (you lucky people), there are two different types of craft to pilot: the Star Fighter, which can vary altitude, and the Ground Assault Vehicle, which only zooms along the ground, but can also chuck bombs around as well as the usual laser bolts. These Iwo craft alternate, first level with the Star Fighter, next with the GAV, and so on.
H.A.T.E. is very enjoyable. It has superb graphics, with immaculate diagonal scrolling. Despite the repetitive feeling replaying the same levels can have, making it less tastable than it could have been, it's a jolly good and very pretty blast.
'I love to H.A.T.E. Well with this new Gremlin release anyway! The 3-D graphics and animation are spot on, and they're not spoiled by feeble attempts at colour either, good reliable monochrome right throughout, with a colourful border to brighten things a title. Music and sound effects are very arcade-like, and tic smooth scrolling adds to the enjoyment. The variety in the aliens and alternating craft levels make for a good lasting game that you won't get bored of.'
Costa Panayi's back on the spot with superb graphics and an enjoyable game.