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Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising

Entry updated 2 April 2015. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (2001). Rage Software. Platforms: Win.

Scripted by Warren Ellis, Hostile Waters is notable for the quality of its dialogue and the skill with which the linear plot (see Interactive Narrative) is integrated with the gameplay. The game is set in the twenty-first century, after a global revolution against warmongering capitalists and politicians has established a liberal utopia based on Nanotechnology. As the story begins, a cabal of powerful figures from the old regime has launched an attack on the new world order. Since the planet's stock of weaponry has been scrapped, the decision is made to raise an "adaptive cruiser" from the ocean floor, equipped with Nanotechnological factories capable of manufacturing advanced military hardware and chips containing the recorded personalities of dead soldiers, resurrectable for another tour of duty. The player takes the role of the captain of this ship, a radical avenger fighting a war to end war.

In gameplay terms, Hostile Waters is an experimental form of Real Time Strategy game. As in Battlezone (1998), the player can take direct control of their land and air vehicles as well as commanding them from an overhead view, but in Hostile Waters the default view is the strategic rather than the personal one. Also as in Battlezone, orders can be given to other units while in the direct control mode, using a sophisticated but somewhat cryptic interface. Many of the game's other features are reminiscent of Carrier Command (1988 Realtime Games, Amiga, AtariST; 1989 Amstrad, C64, DOS, Spectrum), a previous Computer Wargame based around a high-technology aircraft carrier. Hostile Waters is an innovative, atmospheric and well-designed game, but its utopian worldview can seem more morally simplistic than politically radical. [NT]

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