Hard Nova. (computer game) (evaluation)
by Howard Millman
Nova's not your typical twenty-first century housewife content to sit home tending the antigravity machine. Armed with a generous supply of Sonic Mace and a Stun Club, this spacegoing barracuda seeks a more fulfilling life of contract kidnapping, assassination, and smuggling assignments. Nova's a mercenary, and she stays alive by never dropping her guard or her weapons.
Hard Nova offers a combination of arcade action, roleplaying, and strategy - providing a little something for everyone, including a choice of playing a male lead (Stark) instead of a female (Nova). First-rate graphics begin with the opening screens and culminate in a visual explosion as you traverse a stargate (providing you keep your Bremar-Nav sentient alive long enough to lead you through).
The graphics do more than just provide colorful eyewash, however; they serve to help orient you to your rapidly changing alien surroundings, reveal the whereabouts of your few friends and many enemies, and occasionally supply a way to rest your warweary brain by playing Zero-G Roulette.
The gee-whiz technology evidenced throughout Hard Nova extends beyond its top-quality graphics to encompass numerous ingenious ways to pillage, plunder, maim, and murder. In the four distant frontier worlds where you ply your trade, the power of your weapons contributes directly to the length of your life.
Hard Nova provides one of the deadliest and most diabolical assortments of personal or ship-based armament this side of, well, Ariel. Weapons alone, however, do not guarantee survival; you still need what on Earth would be called people skills. Most often when you encounter aliens or humans, you try to kill them (or they kill you).
Remaining alive and victorious requires that you collect useful, strategic, and current information. You do that by questioning foul-smelling bartenders, beautiful women, and spiritless aliens. You need not be polite - say (or do) whatever is needed to get your answers.
It's all in a day's work for a mercenary, and you'll fight anything, if the price is right. You've come a long way, baby.