"As a huge Purdue fan, I should on principle be glad to see anything Hoosier tank so quickly. Not the Hoosier City series, though. It's not the first time a sequel failed to match the original, but here it's shocking considering that the flippant humor that makes the original such a laugh seems natural enough to continue. Also, part one was shareware, with nags to order the last two. They weren’t worth it. The three games share the same engine but little else. The corny jokes and puzzles h..."
As a huge Purdue fan, I should on principle be glad to see anything Hoosier tank so quickly. Not the Hoosier City series, though. It's not the first time a sequel failed to match the original, but here it's shocking considering that the flippant humor that makes the original such a laugh seems natural enough to continue. Also, part one was shareware, with nags to order the last two. They weren’t worth it. The three games share the same engine but little else. The corny jokes and puzzles have gone, replaced by a brief push for survival in unfair environs. The only flippancy in HC3 is the design.
You're still the same poor sap in a red radiation outfit, though from your rush to liberate Freedom City in HC2, you've got that magic wand you didn't need, and all those guns too. Apparently you need to find your castle, which can't be far away, as the game-world is still not very big: five screens by five. But now an oil river blocks you in, with a lethal tank guarding the bridge. The river is black, which is never explained, and so are the monsters. I call lazy graphics! Or I would, if I didn't have to duck off screen to avoid the fire demons that pop up every few seconds. Perhaps HC3 is trying to establish a breakneck endgame pace. But it is not the first game to bail out from actual plot and ideas this way.
HC3's not the first shareware game to abridge plot, either, but I don’t know any game has an in-game preview it so embarrassingly contradicts. Apparently, there's an antidote, according to the game introduction. I never found it, or its use. I wasted enough time gaining $20000 for a stamina boost at Bob's Ammorama (funny vendor stolen from HC2) before I went to the Rock, a dungeon with a few secret rooms exposed by rudimentary mapping. You find the key to your castle, hope random monsters don't shoot you too much in the Long and Winding Road, and walk back around the river. Enter the castle, get the jetpack in the basement, and look! Another dungeon!
Wait, no. It's the rock again. Same long scenic route. Then you use the jetpack, and HC3 is the first game to make THAT item tedious. You'll fly around blank screens but still need that edge-hugging you got bored enough on foot. Fly far enough away, and you'll learn you defeated some enemy or other. This may fool anyone who really did sleep through the game or who wants to believe something happened.
So where are the funny location names? The puzzles to find weapons? Even survivors giving meaningful clues? I didn't end with much of a resolution besides that aliens might've done something. I can't think of anything remotely weird and funny here besides a flaming couch in your castle, which has three mazy rooms. They are the highlight of HC3.
Maybe there is one final joke: that the shareware released for free is not the REAL shareware, and the designers' frustrated genius is wreaking vengeance on all who did not support the original product. Not a good joke, but the thought is still better than what we got. While HC2 forgot humor but had some interesting magic bits, I figured HC3 would set up for a grand conclusion or, at least, combine with HC2 to be comparable to the original. It didn't come close. Perhaps I should be grateful HC3 didn't try for coherent plot by railroading me into further nasty areas. Or maybe that HC3 is that it isn't HC1--I mean, I didn't play it first. I'd never have gotten to Assault of the Orcs then. So, series completists beware: this half-effort doesn't erase the light-hearted humor of HC1, but it comes close.
Community review by aschultz (June 29, 2009)
Andrew Schultz used to write a lot of reviews and game guides but made the transition to writing games a while back. He still comes back, wiser and more forgiving of design errors, to write about games he loved, or appreciates more, now.
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