I remember the first time I played Hogs of War and I couldn’t put the controller down. Playing Hogs of War was a defining moment in my life. This was one of the video games that made me want to be a gamer. This was a video game which you would talk about with your friends the next day in school, it was a video game that I would put down as one of the best video games ever made. This might not be everyone else’s opinion, but it is definitely mine. It was the year 2000 when Infogrames Studios released Hogs of War. I remember coming home from school and my dad handed me this game which I had heard nothing about. I thank him for bringing one of the best games I’ve ever played into my life.
This takes me back.
Hogs of War brought something new and something similar to the table when it was released 13 years ago. Infogrames brought us a video game which felt like something we had played in the past, something that felt natural and something that also felt new. The gameplay was very similar to Worms in a way, with the turn-based style and the way you could find weapon/health crates scattered around each map. Hogs of War (just like the Worms franchise) is a turn-based tactics game where you take control of an individual member of your squad to engage in combat with the enemy. Each round has a time limit, meaning you have to be quick with what you are doing before you run out of time. The round will end once the time limit expires, the player skips their turn, a weapon is used or the player accidentally injures themselves by walking into a minefield or falling from a great distance. So you have a set time to do certain things. For instance: you want that weapon crate that is on the other side of the map, but you only have 30 seconds to obtain the crate. Do you chance walking to the over side of the map or do you simply wait until a different round where another member of your team is closer? You have to think about everything you do in Hogs of War. The slightest mistake can lead to a loss.
There are plenty of ways to kill or be killed in Hogs of War. The obvious one is by gunfire. Each Hog has 100 health at the beginning of each match and it is each players objective to eliminate each member of the enemy team any way possible. Eliminating the enemy team can be done in a variety of ways. You can use the weapons which you are given, you can use vehicles (on some maps) or you can simply blow your enemy off the map (this can be quite difficult). Once the enemy team is eliminated you see a message which reads “Mission Accomplished” and then you move on to your next mission (or if you’re playing against a friend you can always play again).
Before you start playing Hogs of War you get the option to choose a team (or a nation if that’s what you prefer to call them), and with that team, comes 8 members. You decide which members participate in the match. You are also given options for each member. These options include: the choice to change the hogs name and the option to assign a class to the squad member. There are four main class types; the Heavy Gunner which specializes in long-range heavy weapons (Bazooka, Mortar and Rocket Launchers), the Engineer specializes in explosives (Grenades, Mines and TNT), the Espionage class. If you assign this class to a squad member he will not show up on the mini-map and he specializes in sniping and finally we have the Medic. The Medic class obviously allows the squad member to heal his other squad mates from close or long range. Any squad member can pick up and use any weapon despite only being specialized in certain areas.
Before you start the single player campaign you are asked to choose your team/nation of up to eight hogs. There are 6 different teams/nations you can choose from. Each one of them represents a different region in the Hogs of War World. You can choose from: Tommy’s Trotters (UK), Garlic Grunts (France), Sow-A-Krauts (Germany), Uncle Ham’s Hogs (USA), PiggyStroika (Russia) and Sushi Swine (Japanese). Each nation has over the top voice acting (From the amazing Rik Mayall) which is brilliant. During each battle you will hear insults coming from each nation which will make you laugh without a doubt. At the time, this was a refreshing feature in the game. It was quite rare that you would find somebody of Rik Mayall’s status doing a voice over for a video game.
When you have chosen your favoured team, you now start the campaign. The campaign starts with an introduction, showing an island known as Saustralasia (Australasia) which is located in the Pigsific Ocean (Pacific Ocean). Saustralasia has been found to be the richest source for swill (oil). It is explained that whoever controls this region will be the richest nation in the World, meaning that one of the nations will rule the World. The first mission is more like a tutorial mission than an actual challenge as it teaches you how to defeat the enemy with the weapons you have been given. Each mission becomes more difficult than the last. You will have to fight more squads as you go on meaning the campaign is quite lengthy. As you conquer each region you will earn tokens. These tokens can be used to promote a member of your squad, giving him better weaponry. This can be the changing factor in any battle. The campaign mode doesn’t really have a plot as it would be. The campaign is just basically battling against each nation until you have conquered the whole of Saustralasia. After you have succeeded in defeating each of the five other nations you will have one final battle against “Team Lard” and commando legends from all the other remaining nations. This is a hard battle and you will need to do everything to win. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of work. However, once you have completed this final mission, you see a final cinematic. This cinematic shows one lone soldier who feels like nothing was accomplished after the war. I.P. Grimly (Commanding General) gives a lengthy speech on what has happened to him during this 4 year war and tells the one remaining hog that this is what the war was for, and proceeds to hand him a medal. The soldier now seems cheerful whilst wearing his medal proudly. He marches off into the sunset before I.P. Grimly wishes him good luck once more.
Hogs of War could have been so much more than it was. In the year 2000, gaming wasn’t what it was today. It wasn’t a big thing. According to people ‘only nerds play video games’. That was what people said back then. I’ve had it said about me, but look at how gaming has evolved. It’s becoming something more. It’s no longer known as “nerdy”. It’s known as a lifestyle, a future and gaming is now used by millions of people. Now back in the year 2000 we had none of this. We basically had what we was given. There was no online gaming (on consoles anyway), there was no coverage like there wasn’t a big majority of people who played games. It was games like Hogs of War that made the gaming industry what it is today. Without games like this, we would have become disinterested in video games and probably moved on to something different. In 2008 Hogs of War 2 was announced for a 2009 release on the Playstation 2. Even to this day we have heard nothing about this game. It never existed. The only thing we can assume is that the game got cancelled. Infogrames Studios is no more and neither is Atari (Infogrames was reincorporated as Atari because of financial problems). This is sad news for many people who enjoyed this beautiful game. We can only hope that another company will revive Hogs of War and bring us another amazing instalment. We salute you Hogs of War, and we hope we see you again. Goodbye.