Hovertank (also known as Hovertank 3D, Hovertank 3-D, and Hovertank One) is a first-person tank-combat game developed by Id Software and published by Softdisk Publishing in the April 1991 issue of the disk magazine Gamer's Edge, with a separate retail release in 1992.
As mercenary Brick Sledge, hired by the organization "UFA", players must pilot the titular hovertank to rescue as many human refugees within the time limit before the entire area is wiped out (usually due to nuclear missile strikes). While navigating the maze-like areas, they must contend with beast-like mutants, alien drones, and enemy hovertanks.
The game was known for its 3D flat-shaded ray-casting game engine, which is a precursor to the texture-mapped one used in both Catacomb 3-D and Wolfenstein 3-D. Its source code was later released under the GNU GPLv2 license, and can be found here.
Players control the titular hovertank using either the arrow keys or the joystick (for rotating and thrusting), as well as using the first button (default to CTRL on the keyboard) for firing from the cannon and the second button (default to ALT on the keyboard) to use the afterburner (thrusting them forward at a higher speed). Players cannot strafe the tank or control the cannon separately.
The objective is to collect as many refugees (highlighted in white on the radar) in the playfield as they can, then reach the warp gate (also highlighted in white on the radar), all of which within the time limit. Players are scored both on the number of refugees rescued ($10,000 per) and on the remaining time for the area. There are 20 areas in total.
The hovertank has three health states (green, yellow, and red), which are depleted through enemy damage. Once the tank takes damage while in the "red" state, or when the time limit is up, the game ends. The tank can only be repaired either through special Repair Drone pick-ups (highlighted in blue on the radar) or between areas (at the cost of $10,000 points per state).
- Mutant - Lumbering beasts who chase after the player's tank, attempting to damage them through close-ranged punches. Highlighted in red on the radar.
- Drone - Floating squid-like drones who, rather than chasing after the player, focus on a refugee at random, attempting to kill them through close-ranged collisions. Once there are no more refugees on the playfield, they instead focus on the player tank, attempting to damage them through close-ranged suicide collisions. Highlighted in green on the radar.
- Tank - Enemy hovertanks who chase after the player's tank, attempting to damage them through long-ranged cannon shots. Highlighted in purple on the radar.
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