Software Review: Microsoft's Hellbender

by Anne Doyle

Shoot to kill. Think to win.

Get ready for a wild ride when you decide to meet the Hellbender challenge! What a stress reliever! I'm not a huge action game fanatic, but I have always liked Microsoft products, so when I got the chance to review this game, I figured, "What the hey?"

After quickly loading the game into my computer--when the CD ROM is put in, an automatic set-up screen comes up, so this was a snap--I eagerly watched the opening sequences, which laid out the story of the Coalition of Independent Planets. It seems "I'm" the only qualified pilot in the galaxy that can save the Coalition. So I get into my trusty ship, called Hellbender, and take off. On board the ship is a computer called E.V.E. and as the voice of Gillian Anderson guided me through some pretty dangerous missions, I found the game easier to play than I thought it would be. Once I remembered which weapon was which, I found myself yelling "All right!!" every time I made a hit. It was hard, though, to not destroy parts of the planets I was supposed to be protecting and I have to admit, I failed miserably at first. Once I got the hang of it (I recommend saving often), I didn't do too badly. I do have to admit, I haven't finished the game, but what I've experienced so far has me eager to finish and hoping there will be a Hellbender 2.

The graphics are well done, and were even more fantastic with my 3-D board, the storyline is wonderful (created by Hollywood screenwriter Geof Miller) and the voice of my favorite actress, Gillian Anderson, was a definite plus.

For those of you who take the Hellbender challenge and buy this game, enjoy it. I have a few hints and tips for you:
1. For a quick energy boost, fire a Hellion missile. This restores hull integrity and your main energy back to 100 percent.
2. If you are prompted for a PIN number during the installation of a beta or gold code, put in 10 1s (1111111111).
3. Cheat code: TOTLPWR brings the main energy back to 100 percent.
4. Cheat code: AUNTEM# Warps you to the planet that corresponds to the number you enter at the end of the code — use a number from 1 through 8.
5. And if you're totally stuck, cheat code: IMSTUCK skips the current mission and advances you to the next mission on whatever planet you are on.

Nah, I won't give away any more. Have fun!

PRODUCT: Microsoft's Hellbender© Action game
PRICE: Retail $44.95, but it's available for much less these days at local computer retail outlets.

FOR MORE INFO: Call 1-800-426-9400 or visit the Microsoft Games Web Site.

Anne Doyle is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at Shiba Hill.

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