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by Russell Albach, Alamo PC

When you are trying to sell another cut and shoot game, it helps to attract attention by packaging it in an unusual container. Reality Bytes uses the same gray wood pulp material used in the supermarket dairy section to house eggs. The CD appears in the center of what resembles a photo holder with the name HAVOC at the top. 

 NOTE: parents- this would be an excellent gift for granny for the holidays; remove the game for yourself, place a photo of the kids inside, and give! (if Reality Bytes uses this, I want royalties.) 

 This game is one of the new breed that use DirectX, DirectDraw 3D texture-mapped graphics, Pentium optimization, is accelerated for Power Macintosh, an included extra player CD, up to 16 players on a multi-platform network, and can utilize the latest VR headsets. All of this should be regarded the same as the new MMX processors; useful for maximizing a multimedia application, but not absolutely necessary. 

If you have played ANY of these action games, you will be familiar with this game, as they all seem to have the same basic premis. There is some evildoer you try to destroy, before you are destroyed. Even the components seem to sort of run together from one game to the next, vehicles, lasers, missiles, shields, etc.. Most people can move from one game to another with little relearning. 

The only difference I see is in the visual and audio effects. Havoc does a very good job of texture mapping for the background terrain. Components are fair, but the uneven terrain is one of the better jobs of rendition I have seen. 

 Because of continuously changing "standards", this is not an easy area for programmers. The ActiveX and DirectDraw controls create problems for many computers that are fairly new, narrowing potential customers. When and if you have the computer to take advantage of them, the results can be tremendous. 

 Havoc is supposed to represent the state of affairs in this world. Civilization has broken down, there are no national borders, and Corporate Entities vie for control. Battles are fought by professionals, mercenaries, and "foolhardy newcomers" for the "three most coveted" territories, the Badlands,Fallout Wasteland, and the Tyrakian Territories. 

 You want to capture the conglomerate named Tyrakian Global. The way to do this is to obtain "keys" that control gateways allowing the holder to transport forces quickly to areas of conflict. Naturally, you must fight your way around these territories in the search. 

I will not go into the vehicles, weapons, etc, as there are far too many. There are 80 types of killer opponents, and 35 levels to the game! Now this applies to YOU against the GAME. The real challenge is against other people using a network. 

 The first task you have is to select a combat vehicle to compete in. I personally found the HyperTank to be a little more survivable while adjusting to the peculiarities of this game. Be sure to review page 5, and page 23 in the very sparse manual, as important tips are here. 

You can also customize the game to suit your taste, as well as optimize performance. Main controls are the usual arrow keys, alt, ctl, shift, space, and numerous other keys for the less important functions. This is another game where it would probably be best to use a joystick. 

I actually enjoyed Havoc, as I had a great deal of control over the action. By choosing different components, you can alter the speed and difficulty quite a bit. The one complaint I have concerns the music. It is monotonous! There is nothing wrong with the tune, it simply loops repeatedly. Just about the time I was going to turn it off, I reached another level, and the music changed! (A word to Reality Bytes; it would be better to play the music score only during specific times, or vary the music). 

At this time, I wanted to stop and take a break, but was not able to save the current game. It seems you need to reach a "Bonus Level" or a "Boss Level" to save a game. Otherwise, when you want to stop, you exit the game, lose your accomplishments, and start from scratch! 

The sound effects are very well done, as you can hear the hits you absorb on the armor plate of your tank as a kind of "whump". Whomever did this must have been in the armored corp, as the sounds are distinctive. 

 Installation is from CD, which means insert in the drive and close the door (assuming you have autorun engaged). Setup will install Havoc and DirectX drivers (only those files needed for running Havoc) and test your system. To optimize, refer to the Screen and Game Setup options. Default settings will depend on your processor speed. When you start the game, available options will appear as lighted icons. 

System requirements are: 

Windows 95, 486DX2/66 (optimized for a Pentium), 8MB RAM (for the game- remember, Windows is a resource hog and consumes around half of the available memory for it's own nefarious purposes), CD-ROM for installation and playing, Minimum 256 colors and a Sound card (not necessary, but more fun.) 

 I installed Havoc on a computer using a Cyrix 686L pr200+ cpu, a 32 bit access 12 speed CD-ROM drive, Soundblaster sound card, and an S3 Virge chipset video card with 4MB memory, and had absolutely no problems. 

 I was unable to find Havoc in stock locally, and current catalogs I have also were no help. Circuit City was the only local store that even listed it in their stock catalog. The program is available directly from the company for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. 

 Reality Bytes, Inc. 
1 Kendall Square Building 400 
Cambridge, Ma 02139-9478