LGR – Hover! – PC Game Review

LGR – Hover! – PC Game Review

[bass line]
So, it’s 1995
and you’ve got a new PC
with Windows 95.
You wanna play some games,
but you’re too poor to afford anymore,
or you’re bored of the ones you’ve got.
So you start wandering around the
crap that came with the computer,
and come across the Windows 95 companion CD-ROM.
Browsing the disc files, you see
game demos and some music videos,
and holy crap, a full freaking game
by the name of Hover!,
developed internally at Microsoft
under codename Bambi
and included with every
CD-ROM version of Windows 95.
Sorry, floppy people. You are screwed.
So, Hover! –
and yes, it’s pronounced like that
because of the exclamation point –
was pretty friggin’ awesome to poor kids like me
who didn’t have many games to choose from
and wanted games like Doom,
but couldn’t because, heh, parents.
But, hey, we got Hover!
And it’s awesome because it’s in, like, 3D-ish,
and kind of reminiscent of Doom, sort of.
That means it’s awesome, right?
I played it so much, it has to be awesome.
Yeah, let’s take off the nostalgia goggles and look at it.
So Hover! starts off with
the background of a level that’s
not actually in the main game,
and saying “Press F2 to start a game of Hover!”
Of course, you don’t really wanna do that, necessarily.
You can actually go ahead and
start from any level that you want to,
all the way up to 16.
You can also customize the game a bit
by changing the different sound options,
choosing the different controls.
Simple enough, just some direction
keys and pressing A-S-D for power-ups.
And then customize some details,
like, well, the details of the game,
which makes it run faster or slower,
the maze type maps options,
whether or not you want the mirror to show,
and vehicle difficulty, which
oddly enough pretty much just
affects how fast the turning happens.
So, yeah, I put it on Intermediate
because it’s kind of in the middle, and that’s good
for those of us that like middles,
and have problems committing to extremes.
Start the game, some rad MIDI music starts playing,
and you’re off to collect the flags before your opponent.
You are a hovercraft, the Hover 950,
an you try and collect the different
blue flags before your opponent
can collect the red flags.
And… that’s it.
Man, I… [laughs]
really seemed to have developed
some standards over the years
because as a kid, I played this a LOT.
And for the life of me, I can’t see why.
It’s just capture the flag in pretty sterile environments.
There are three different maze types,
so that does change up things
at least a little bit here and there.
One kind of looks like a medieval castley thing,
and another this… gravy-purple
futuristic flamboyant place.
And the other one is this sort of industrial,
nasty-looking sewage treatment facility
that, honestly, it wouldn’t look out of place
if I saw a Doom monster or two wandering around.
But these same three places
repeat throughout the entire game.
So every few levels, you’ll come across
the same textures, the same music,
the same level layout, the same
spawn locations of the flags.
The only that increases are the
amount of flags that you need to capture
and the opposing drones that are out
there trying capture flags before you.
They also get a little more aggressive
and smarter as the game goes on.
The only other aspect to this are the power-ups,
although, really, they don’t do very much at all.
As you’re wandering the monotonous mazes,
you’ll see different things on the floor
and different things floating in the air, these little orbs
with power-ups or power-downs.
Along the floor you’ve got pads
that will either take your flags,
speed you up in a certain direction or
glue you down to one spot,
and the floating orbs will give you different pickups,
some of which are activated immediately and
some you can activate whenever you want to.
The three that are activated no matter what
are the Map Eraser,
which erases your mini map, of course,
the Speed Up and Speed Down
which, uh… do that
for a temporary amount of time,
and a shield which makes you temporarily invincible
to the other things that are bad.
The three that you can pick up and use at any time
are the spring, the wall and the cloak.
The spring is probably the most useful.
This allows you to jump your hovercraft
over any obstacles
or over opponents or whatever.
Then you’ve got the wall,
which, uh, doesn’t really do much.
In theory, the enemy drones will bump into them
or be blocked from an area,
but they aren’t permanent
and they pretty much will just go around them,
even if you place it right in front of them.
Yeah, they don’t care. They’ll just go around it.
And the last one is the cloak,
which cloaks your Hover 950,
so your opponents can’t see you.
But really, that doesn’t make much of a difference at all
because your opponents don’t seem
to give a crap if they see you. Honestly.
They just don’t.
Like the wall, this seems like it would
make much more sense in multiplayer,
but there is no multiplayer, so who cares?
The enemies aren’t after YOU, they’re after the flags.
So even if you do use it,
it’s not like they’re gonna stop looking for flags.
They’re just gonna continue looking for flags.
The thing about all of these is that once you find out
that really the spring is the only
one that kind of helps here and there,
that and the shield,
then who cares about the other stuff?
You just avoid it when you see it from a distance.
The only thing that you might have a problem with
is if you accidentally get
bumped into one of these things.
But you know, it sucks to get slowed
down or temporarily pulled to the floor.
But it’s all temporary, so… yeah. [laughs]
The game isn’t that hard to begin with
and this just, it doesn’t really make it much harder,
except a very minimal amount.
And that really is it
for Hover!
You try to get the most points, last as long as you can
without the enemies taking the flags before you,
and, uh, there you go.
I have no idea why I played this so much as a kid,
except that I thought it was awesome.
Maybe it was the 3D novelty of the game
when I didn’t have many other 3D games.
Maybe it was Easter eggs like the “IBMAB” cheat,
which allows you to actually
roam around that startup level
and look at the people that designed the game.
Maybe it was that awesome sound
it makes every time you win a match.
[choral ahh]
And it was a free game,
so you can’t complain about that.
And looking at it through rose-tinted glasses,
yeah, I still think it’s pretty much awesome.
But… [laughs]
Objectively, I can’t say that there is
anything about this that’s really special.
It’s a super-simple capture
the flag game with hovercrafts,
which, really, that in itself doesn’t
make it very interesting, either.
It just feels like a first-person shooter with
extremely bad physics on an ice skating rink.
But if you wanna relive some nostalgic memories,
it’s still free to download from Microsoft’s FTP.
So go ahead and give it a try,
and if you haven’t tried it before,
well, don’t expect too much.
But, just, uh… look at it
and experience what kids had to deal with
when they didn’t have the option
to get other games back in the day.

100 thoughts on “LGR – Hover! – PC Game Review”

  1. Microsoft shut down their old public FTP servers with the launch of WIndows 10. However, you can still find it on the Internet Archive as well as an archived copy of MS' public FTP.

  2. I love finding out about the games I played when I was a kid. I never remember them until you show them to be LGR, thank you!

  3. Just figured out what this game was called and now its all coming back to me! I used to play this game, SkiFree, Rodent's Revenge and probably some others I cant remember.

  4. Thank you for convincing me I was not alone in my scouring the cds that came with my computer and thinking that I hit gold when I found that game. I also see that I was not alone in my reclusiveness (for lack of a better term). I see that at least 113k people around the world and counting are just like me, so I will not kill myself. Thanks!

  5. Haha, I used to waste a lot of time on this game too. I think it looked pretty good for a 3d game from back then. And hey, it was free too!

  6. This is the game I probably played the most at a young child.

    I still have it on my computer, and it works great!

  7. It was less of a game, more of a demonstration of what DirectX was capable of, and a demonstration of Windows 95 as a gaming platform.

  8. It looks like it has a great deal of potential. It could have been a great game. Maybe it's time for a remake…

  9. But wait! we have new tech and super advanced computers that allow you to spend ours on MINECRAFT 😂😂

  10. And now i think how you do difference between anecdote and joke? I always think in USA|Brit all anecdotes just joke (litterally, by name, not in offencive way).

  11. This came with the PC my grandma bought.

    Found memories of playing this and eating pizza at her house as a kid. 😀

  12. Oh man I played this game for hours 20 years ago, I really loved it, the aesthetics and the music were amazing, and it was kinda disturbing too

  13. I dont remember this game from my Win95 days..Was it not included on the European Win95 CD?
    Or was I just lazy in going through my Win95 disc folders?

  14. Watching this, all I can think of is the amount of mistakes I've made in life since the last time I played this game.

  15. Have you ever played the remake? Its on the Windows Store currently and its actually very good. It was made by Microsoft too

  16. Since this video was made 5 years ago, and in the 385 comments it might have been mentioned, but there WERE different types of enemy drones, and they showed up as different colors on your minimap. I forget the exact colors, but one color was the drones searching for a flag and hadn't found one(blue?), one color was the drones searching for a flag and had found one(yellow?), and the third color were drones that chased you (the ones that made the sonar sound when they spotted you…green?) So no, not all the enemies were after the flags. If I was near a flag capturing drone, I would do everything to try to delay it, walls, sticky pads, etc. So there was a little more to the enemies.
    Otherwise, loved your review, I was the same, played this for hours on end because I wasn't allowed Doom. It's still a fun one. I Loved the sfx and midi tracks.

  17. Wow, I forgot about this game until this video popped up!

    Honestly, it was just interesting as a Windows tech demo. But shareware versions of Doom and Duke Nukem 3D were 100x better if you were poor and wanted to play some 3D games for hours.

  18. I have been looking for this game for the longest Freaking time. This game was my pc childhood and was engrained in my brain. I remember not knowing the goal of this game ever and just drive around the areas for hours. Ahhhhh great times

  19. I used to play this all the time at grandmas! I could never remember the name of it as I was between 3 and 5 when I was playing it but it was the coooooooolest thing to me!

  20. I played this a bit on my first computer, an Acer Aspire with a P-100 and 8MB of RAM and Windows 95. I promptly forgot all about it once I started buying my own games and playing shareware like Doom. This game quickly felt pretty half-baked after playing much superior 3D games like Descent.

  21. That "true story' intro, I think you used your Duke Nukem voice, but with some tweaking you could do Big Boss. I was reminded of the Metal Gear Solid 3 intro, the "after world war II, the world was split into two sides:east and west… " part.

  22. Only in the CD original…. and videos… This game still works in Windows 10 despite a ironic and funny error about driver video 256 colors… really technology has advanced so much in 23 years.

  23. I found a copy of Rapid Assult in my grandparents barn. It is in great condition in its cd case. The cd was pristine. It was made by IBM. I can't remember them getting it for me but it must have been when we first got a pc which was an IBM, I belive. It came with Wolfenstein 3D. We bought it from a barbershop that was upgrading. We still have it around it some where. The computer didn't have a cdrom drive is why it was probably never used. I remember we bought a helicopter game on floppy disk but it ran horribly because we were using the integrated video. I wish I was as computer savvy then as I am no. I missed out on so much fun stuff because of my stupid child brain. I was self tought. I didn't have any older folk to help me out.

  24. Hover! was everything I needed back in the day. We had an IDE hard drive with a huge 4 gigabytes of storage! This game was amazing, not just because there was a sky, drift physics, pleasing sounds but something taught driving coordination. I dare say this game taught me vehicle size and blind spot perception way before I could drive my car. I loved the wall, I mastered dropping two walls right ontop of the drones and the got them stuck for at least a few seconds. Great for me roaming for the flags.

  25. I remember booting this up a few times as a kid, but I don't remember the game being very good at explaining what your objective is or what you're doing, so I quickly lost interest because I couldn't figure out what anything was or why anything existed.

  26. I have some additional info. I was kind of in the DOOM scene back in the day, so to speak. HOVER! actually uses the same engine as DOOM. You can even open its levels in a DOOM level editor. Apparently Microsoft wanted some better games to ship with the CD Windows releases so they tried their hands at creating some variants on popular genres at the time. HOVER! is the only one people outside of Microsoft got to see and even that was unfinished.

  27. The cloak actually turns you to look like their faction, you can use it to prevent them from taking your flag by using it while going towards your own flag. Cheers!

  28. I remmember a game similar to this but that game had like motorcycles with 5 or six different colors. You have to collect items and use them agaiinst the others vehicles and the place seem to be and station maybe from space.. I cant recall the name of the game but it was fun!

  29. Hours and hours spent playing this at our junior high school library waiting for my mom to pick me up… cool to discover this again!

  30. Esté juego creo que lo jugué de niña, no estoy segura, pero si lo jugué. Se me hace muy familiar pero no recuerdo mucho.

  31. I never understood why they never included this in the OS instead of having it as a seperate game. It's like Microsoft were lazy to copy the game into the OS.

  32. "Oh look, a sanitized version of Doom" – My older brother upon finding this on his new Windows machine some time in the early 90's

  33. what did you run this on? a Virtual Machine? Looks like Windows 2000 from the title bar window colors….great video. The whole checkerboard floor and bumper car thing reminds me of 1950s doo-wop, for some reason….please make a video of Weezer and Rob Roy xD

  34. "It's still free to download from Microsoft's FTP." Why am I envisioning a computer somewhere in an office building that everyone just forgot about?

  35. I had a lot of fun with this game! I think part of it was indeed the cool music. Would my original disc still work in a windows 10 or is it still free to download?

  36. Oh hey, I remember this. Never cared to play it more than five minutes, though, because my Acer '95 came with Descent and Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of Orpheo's Curse (which was freaking awesome, by the way).

  37. I swore that the 3rd level was from Chex Quest as a kid… Hmm… I guess I'll find out soon enough

  38. I never really had an original Windows 95 computer, but I like screwing around in older systems. I got an ISO from WinWorld for a Windows 95 PC, and I was just trying out random crap on it, so knowing about the extras that were on Windows 98 CDs, I just sculked around the 95 CD, and felt like I won a prize when I stumbled on this game!

  39. There is a game similar to this that I remember as a kid I was super young.. it's future looking like that level and there were jumps in the game, I remember you could switch from the cockpit view and a third person view, and I remember I couldn't play it for crud and kept running into the wall but this game reminds me of it so much and this is the first time I've thought about it in YEARS like this video just brought it back holy cow the flood nostalgia

  40. Good god for the longest time I thought I was the only human being on the planet who played and remembered this. I just randomly found it on the computer while I was clicking any executable I could find looking for games. I loved this thing, though I don’t remember almost ever actually ‘playing’ it so much as just driving around and ramming into stuff.

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