Tony Wilkins reviews the classic PlayStation One game “Hogs of War” as a rival to “Worms 3D”
Without a doubt the daddy of the turn based strategy game is Team 17’s classic Worms. The game remains one of the most loved ever thanks largely to its party factor. It was the game my friends and I almost always got out to play when the beers were being thrown back in those reckless days of my teenage years. For years however many wanted a 3D version thinking it would improve it. Worms 3D left many people feeling luke warm however with the fact of the matter being that in three dimensions it had lost some of its charm.
However that doesn’t mean to say that the turn based three dimensional strategy game is a flop in its premise or that it can’t be as much fun as Worms. Enter Infrogames’ Hogs of War. Labelled as the most politically incorrect game of all time Hogs of War combines the fun and laughs of Worms but in a three dimensional setting complete with a backstory. Instead of playing as heavily armed worms you play as squads of pigs each being a stereotype of a real country e.g. ‘Tommy’s Trotters’ are British while the ‘Garlic Grunts’ are French. Each pig country is fighting over territory on a pig shaped continent called Saustrilasia which is rich in swill, the life blood of pigs. The game mimics the First World War in its appearance and many of the weapons are of that era. Finally much of the voice talent lent to the game is from the recently deceased Rik Mayall and he is hilarious in this game.
Once you have chosen your team you can then fight it out for pig supremacy. Unlike Worms each of your team can be promoted to different roles that allows them the use of additional weapons or tactics. You can have medics, commandos, snipers and so on and promoting your guys properly is key to finishing the game. Promotion points can be earned by finishing battles with as many guys still alive as possible. Each team takes turns with which to make a move against the other and a timer means you have to be thinking a few steps ahead in order to know what you want a specific pig to do so you don’t waste time standing around. Pick ups include health and additional weapons and it is always a good idea to either acquire or destroy them before the enemy can use them. For someone used to Worms the weapon options seem a little limited at first but this is where the promotion angle comes in making it that little bit more strategy oriented. The voices are very stereotypical bordering on racist at times but no one country is shown in a more positive or negative light than another. It just adds to the fun.
The controls are very easy to get used to but aiming some of the weapons such as the grenade and bazooka require a certain level of practice to master. I have said this game is huge amounts of fun but I should emphasize that after you pass the halfway mark through the campaign mode things get extremely difficult. Your enemies become quite competent which means you have to be on the ball with every move. Then it gets damn near impossible when the enemy teams are able to call upon reinforcements while you are stuck with the guys you started with. This leads to intense frustration and starts to wear down the enjoyability factor. Like all turn based games though it is most fun when played against some one else.
If you find this cheap somewhere I highly recommend it. It is immensely good fun especially in two player mode and when you master it and can defeat hordes of heavily armed pig there is deep satisfaction to be had. Failing that Rik Mayall will keep laughing right the way through.