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Hover Force [Model 8500]

Mattel Intellivision cart. published 38 years ago by INTV Corp.

Listed in MAME

Hover Force [Model 8500] screenshot

Hover Force © 1986 INTV

Terrorist forces have taken over the island city of New Seeburg. Luckily, civilians have been evacuated from the city, but the enemy is destroying buildings and bridges, causing millions of dollars in damage. Fires are burning out of control throughout the island.

Our intelligence reports show that their troops are well equipped with heavily armed combat helicopters. The only way to fight 'em is in the air, so we're sending you up in the top secret JAF-3000 helicopter. This copter is equipped with laser cannons to blast the enemy out of the sky, water cannons to put out fires, and a sophisticated radar system. This baby is highly maneuverable, with advanced jet air-brakes that stop you with change back for your dime.

You have the fire power, but you'll need brains. The enemy isn't just going to sit pretty waiting for you to blow him to bits. You'll have to watch for his patterns to outsmart him. And of course, he'll be gunning for you.

You'll be flying a series of missions, each more difficult than the one before. Every mission, though, has the same goal -- eliminate the terrorists! You must also put out as many fires as possible. You can return to home base twice -- and only twice -- per mission to repair your chopper and refuel.

One last warning. This isn't some game, this is combat. None of this three lives foolishness. Crash your copter and it's all over -- you're finished.


Model 8500


Developed at Mattel Electronics as 'Hover Force 3-D'. It was developed under greater secrecy than any other Mattel game. Researcher Richard Steenblik working at the University of Georgia had developed pseudo-3-D glasses. Small prisms in the glasses bent different colors of light entering the eye at different angles, fooling the eye into thinking that, for example, blue objects on a flat surface were actually farther away than red objects on the same surface. The University approached several game manufacturers to see if they were interested in the technology. After a middle-of-the-night test session in which Keith Robinson (Solar Sailer) quickly threw together an Intellivision screen full of flying bugs of different colors, Mattel management decided to aggressively pursue an exclusive license for the glasses.
Game development was ordered to start immediately, before the license was secured. For fear that a competitor would find out and try to outbid Mattel, the project was kept top secret, even from the other programmers. It was code named "Peach" since the glasses originated in Georgia, the Peach State. Steve Ettinger and Joe King, who had worked well together on Magic Carousel, were given a locked, windowless office in which to work (the rest of the software staff worked in open cubicles); it was quickly dubbed "The Bat Cave."
Midway through the project, Mattel won the license and Peach emerged from the cave. The 3-D effect, while not eye-poppingly dramatic, was effective, especially given the visual cues Steve and Joe had designed. And Dave Chandler's group had developed an inexpensive method to manufacture the glasses, making it practical for the game and glasses to be sold together at the price of a normal cartridge. Marketing felt they could strongly promote the 3-D feature in ads and the press.
Hover Force 3-D debuted at the January 1984 Consumer Electronic Show to good response. While the 3-D effect got mixed reviews, everyone was talking about it. Management immediately started talking about putting two more 3-D games into development, including a flight simulator cartridge, but before anything could be started, Mattel Electronics closed.
For the INTV Corp. release of the game in 1986, Steve and producer Dave Warhol beefed up the "intelligence" of the enemy helicopters, adding more strategy to the play. Since the glasses were not included with the game, '3-D' was dropped from the title.


* Navigate using the radar map as much as possible. Switch to the aerial view when directly over a red or yellow blip. (If you switch to the aerial view when over a yellow blip and don't see an enemy copter, its best to switch back to radar immediately.)

* Terrorist helicopters are easier to shoot down if you aim at their main rotors.

* Whenever possible, engage the enemy over water, streets, or parks, so you don't damage structures if you miss.

* Terrorists shoot at buildings even when you can't see them onscreen. Not every shot that hits a building starts a fire, but if you hear an explosion without seeing one, it means that a shot has started a fire somewhere on the island.

* Some of the copters are impossible to catch if you simply try to chase them. Use strategy! Watch their movements on the radar map to see what patterns they follow, then lie in wait!

* You cannot fly beyond the island due to the mission instructions programmed into your navigation system. Some terrorist copters can fly beyond your range. Lie in wait for them to return.

* When one or more of your copter's systems is heavily damaged, fly in a direction that will affect a stronger system in the event you are hit until you can land for repairs.

* You should familiarize yourself with the landmarks of New Seeburg as you fly over the island, such as the location of the parks, of industrial areas, and of Force Island. If your radar is knocked out, you can still navigate visually.

* Highest ratings are achieved by destroying enemy helicopters in the least amount of time with the lowest overall amount of damage to the city. Concentrate on destroying low-flying enemy copters (that shoot at buildings) before destroying higher flying copters (that shoot at YOU). Fires should be put out as quickly as possible.


Design: Steve Ettinger, Joe Ferreira (King)
Program: Steve Ettinger
Graphics/Package illustration: Joe King
Sound Effects: David Warhol


Game's ROM.