Hogs of War

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Hogs of War
Hogs-of-war.JPG
PAL cover for the PlayStation release
Developer(s) Infogrames Studios, Sheffield House
Publisher(s) Infogrames Europe
Sony (PS One Classics reissue)
Platform(s) PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Network
Release date(s) PlayStation
  • PAL June 8, 2000
  • NA September 5, 2000
Windows
  • PAL November 3, 2000
PlayStation Network
  • NA March 19, 2013
Genre(s) Turn-based tactics, Artillery game
Mode(s) Single player
Multiplayer
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

Hogs of War is a turn-based tactics video game developed by Infogrames Studios and published by Infogrames Europe, released for the PlayStation and PC in 2000 for Europe on June 6 and North America on September 5. The game is set in a First World War-era where anthropomorphic pigs engage in combat. Play proceeds in a turn-based fashion, with 3D graphics, vehicles, a career-based single-player mode, and voice-over work (both narration and for characters) by late British comedian Rik Mayall.

The tune for the game is John Philip Sousa's Liberty Bell March. The design of the game is discussed in the book The Game Maker's Apprentice, which is co-authored by the lead programmer of the game and has a foreword by one of the game's designers.

Gameplay[edit]

Hogs use a variety of crude and explosive devices such as the rocket jet pack.

The gameplay of Hogs of War is a turn-based tactics game where players take turns controlling individual members of their squad of hogs to engage in combat with the opposition, similar to Worms. Each turn, a player takes control of a single squad member in a third-person perspective to move around the map, including jumping over terrain and swimming over bodies of water, yet can only engage in combat when stationary. Each turn has a set time limit and ends if the timer counts down to zero, the player skips their turn, a weapon or ability is used or if they have accidentally injured themselves such as walking into a mine field or falling from a high surface. Other hazards include bodies of water that, while they can be swam in, is damaging to nearly all types of soldiers and drains health as they swim. If a teammate is knocked into water by an opponent, they will automatically swim to the nearby shore line. While difficult, it is also possible to knock hogs off the map resulting in instant death. If all health is gone and the player is on land, they will fall over with a last comical remark before exploding.

Each squad member can be assigned a class type where they have immediate access to certain weapons and abilities. There are four main class types; heavy gunners that specialize in long range heavy weapons like bazookas, mortars and rocket launchers, engineers that specialize in explosives like grenades, mines and TNT, espionage that don't appear on the mini map and use sniper rifles and camouflage and finally medics that can heal other units in both close and long range. Despite the classes, any hog can pick up and use any weapon or ability if found in a crate that can be found across each map or dropped from blimps (that can be destroyed for further items).

Other than a hog's inventory items, players can also gain access to military vehicles like tanks and semi-aquatic and stationary turrets like heavy artillery and pillboxes, both or which provide health protection until they are destroyed and in some cases allow use of highly destructive weaponry unavailable for regular use. Bunkers and MASH tents also provide further protection but without weaponry, with the latter healing a small amount at the start of their turn.

Single-player[edit]

At the start of each campaign, the player chooses their nation and squad of up to eight hogs whose names can be customized. The main objective for the player is to conquer all five regions of the world map with each region containing five missions against each opposing nation (those not chosen by the player at the start).[1]

At the start of the campaign, the entire squad is made up of grunts who have little maximum health and only a small set of basic weapons. Hogs, however, can be promoted as the player progresses through the campaign by earning medals. A single medal is given upon completion of a mission and five with every region conquered, with additional medals given if all squad members survive and any others collected during the missions (most of which are in heavily guarded or hard to reach places). First promotion opens up the four possible classes (heavy, medic, engineer and espionage) with the choice to pursue one and develop further, for example espionage begins with scout before being promoted to sniper, then spy etc.[2] While all classes are distinctive, after enough promotions, all can eventually be promoted to a special commando class that specializes in all weapons and abilities, the final promotion being hero.

If a hog is killed during a mission they can still return for the next mission. If, however, three die, one will be permanently lost, and two lost if four die, along with their promotions.

In single player mode a significant difference exists in the versions of the game as presented on PlayStation and PC. On the PlayStation the NPC pigs are mobile and will move to take more advantageous firing positions or make use of buildings, vehicles, weapon drops and health packs; in the PC game the NPC pigs do not walk at all, and only move to acquire weapon drops when of a rank equipped with jet-packs.

Teams[edit]

There are six different pig nations featured in Hogs of War that, while not directly named, are represented by their comically named elite team of soldiers and commandos who differentiate from each other with unique uniform colours, accents and headgear for the gunner class. Each nation is parodied in the name of their squad and soldiers and by the pigs speaking during combat, usually at the start of each turn, before firing a weapon, after defeating an opponent or upon their own death. Voice work is delivered in over the top thick accents with comical lines emphasizing the stereotypical nature of each represented nation, usually acting in an exaggerated manner (some portrayals of which were even held during both World Wars) or speaking about topics relevant to a stereotype, acting primarily as the game's source of humor. The six nations include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States of America, Russia and Japan.

The UK is represented by "Tommy's Trotters" who are clothed in green and wear standard issue First World War helmets. They are based on the British Expeditionary Force and are portrayed as either incredibly posh or hooligan like and use British slang with multiple regional accents. France is represented by the "Garlic Grunts" who are clothed in dark blue and wear army caps. They have thick French accents and act in a stereotypical snooty and insulting manner . Germany is represented by the "Sow-A-Krauts" (a play on the pork garnish sauerkraut) who wear grey and pickelhaube helmets. They are based primarily on Imperial Germany and act in an aggressive manner and at times speak a faux-German language with many references to sausage in hogs' names. The United States of America is represented by "Uncle Ham's Hogs" (after Uncle Sam) who wear light blue and cowboy hats. They are mostly voiced in Southern US accents, typically portrayed as rednecks and country music singers. Russia is represented by "Piggystroika" (after Perestroika) who wear red and ushanka fur caps. Despite the First World War themes of the games, they are portrayed more like the post-war Soviet Union, using communist terms like "comrade". They also speak at times in an drunken manner, another Russian stereotype. The last nation, Japan, is represented by "Sushi Swine" who wear yellow and tropical visor caps. They are portrayed as having strict codes of honor while lacking knowledge in a more modern form of warfare, along with names taken from old Feudal Japanese positions like ninja and shogun.

Campaign[edit]

In an introduction by the commanding general, I. P. Grimly, a pig shaped collection of islands located in the South Pigsific Ocean known as Saustralasia has been found to be a rich source of swill (depicted like oil being harvested by pumpjacks) that is described as the "life blood of pigs", that who ever controls the swill controls the world thus leading to all nations engaging in an all out war to conquer the region. Under the supervision of I. P. Grimly, the player's chosen national squadron battles through each of Saustralasia's five main regions; Hogshead, Saustralia, Trottsville, Bellyopolis and Arstria.[1]

Upon conquering each territory, the squad is shown an educational film (in a satirical vintage fashion) on survival techniques including how to ration and stockpile, defamation of the enemy, unorthodox methods of camouflage, how to use boots in combat, keeping secrets safe (while at the same time showing off a secret military project) and simple if underplaying the importance of first aid. Upon defeating all other nations and laying claim to Saustralasian mainland, the squadron engages in a final battle on the Isle of Swill with the nationally ambiguous "Team Lard" and commando legends from all remaining nations. Regardless of which chosen nation is victorious, all pig nations celebrate the end of the war and now a time of peace. After the completion of the game the player is rewarded with a large number of promotion points or has the opportunity to play the campaign again as Mardy Pigs, this playthrough will be in hard mode with all enemy troops promoted, making the game very difficult as they will have access to more powerful weapons and have more health.

An ending cinematic shows one remaining soldier however who feels like nothing was accomplished from the war. At this point I. P. Grimly counter argues this notions by stating while in the space of four years his sweetheart has left him, his home destroyed and now with no chance of employment asks what was he even fighting for. Grimly then presents the soldier with a medal before he expands on his point with an oddly upbeat voiced closing statement:

Would you give it all up? No! A soldier has war in his blood and if we can't find a war, we'll blooming well start one! Thats the spirit! So long as politicians can create a pointless argument some where in the world, there will be a pointless war for us to fight! No stockpiled weapons will go to waste. Rest assured we'll be sharing this arsenal with all manner of new and unsavory enemies across this world of ours.

This is narrated as the soldier now cheerful and wearing his medal proudly, marches off into the sunset before Grimly wishes him luck once more where ever he may be or fighting.

Reception[edit]

Following its release Hogs Of War currently has an averaged critic score of 73.58% at Game Rankings based on 19 reviews. Gamespot rated the game 5.5, or mediocre,[3] IGN scored it 7.4/10,[4] while Official PlayStation Magazine awarded it four out five stars and Eurogamer gave it nine out of 10.

Sequel[edit]

On February 13, 2008, Infogrames announced Hogs of War 2 for Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2 and PC.[5][6] It was slated for release in April 2009, but is now presumed cancelled. During this period Infogrames was experiencing financial problems and was reincorporated as Atari, SA.[7]

Re-Released[edit]

The game was re-released by Urbanscan in late September 2014. It was put on GOG.com for the price of £3.69. The game has currently got a 4.5 star rating on the site.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Infogrames Studios, ed. (2000). Hogs of War official game manual (PAL). Infogrames Studios. pp. 8–9. 
  2. ^ Stahl, Ben (1 May 2000). "Hogs of War Preview". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  3. ^ "Hogs of War - GameSpot.com". Uk.gamespot.com. 2000-09-30. Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  4. ^ "Hogs of War - IGN". Uk.psx.ign.com. Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  5. ^ "Infogrames Confirms Hogs of War 2, Airborne Raiders Return, NWN2 Expansion 2 News". Totalvideogames.com. Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  6. ^ FISCAL YEAR 2007-2008 THIRD QUARTER RESULTS (not audited figures)
  7. ^ http://corporate.infogrames.com/infogramesgb/2008/10/infogrames_entertainment_sa_an_1.php