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Hooves of Thunder

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:

GAME DEVELOPER:Action Games

GAME PUBLISHER:Micro League

Copyright 1994, Action Games

Sequel to Quarterpole and one of the last games Micro League released, Hooves of Thunder is a very comprehensive simulation of horse racing sport that rivals Virgin’s classic Sport of Kings in playability, realism, and scope. PC Gameworld has the lowdown on this Micro League underdog:

“Make no mistake, it takes lots of hard work to pick winners with any consistency. Keep your bets small until you get a chance to study how horses perform at different lengths and track conditions. When you get to know the horseflesh, step up the wagers and look for horses to buy. Its an involved and sometimes tedious process, but fortunately the game rewards you with consistent, logical outcomes, so your perseverance will pay off.

The game advances on a calendar, with 125 races a year to challenge your luck playing the ponies and your skill at building a winning stable. There are five racetracks on the circuit, both turf and grass. As a stable owner, you buy and sell horses, choose trainers and jockeys, and decide when to run your horses. For a little side action, you can bet the whole bank on any race.

All the data you need is at your fingertips, including jockey, trainer, and horse histories. If youre unsure which races to enter with which horses, you can let your trainer enter races while you study the other horses and watch your bank account dwindle. And if you dont care to watch every single race — and you probably wont — you can fast-forward to a specific date, or to an auction, claiming race, or a race in which you have a horse running.

The flexibility of Hooves of Thunder doesnt force you to play the game in a certain way, and provides a nice balance of gameplay for nearly ever interest at the track. You can bypass the stables and concentrate on betting, or you can keep your money in your pocket and focus on building a rich stable of thoroughbreds. And there plenty of scenarios to give the games a few twists. You can be a poor slob with $100 to wager during a day at the races, or you can or play as the pampered son of an industrialist, given a stable of horses to keep you amused.

The SVGA graphics are lovely, especially the horses themselves, which are rotoscoped for a very realistic look and feel as they thunder around the track. You can watch the action from the side, or from a neat top-down perspective. The sound, unfortunately, didnt get the attention that developers obviously paid to the graphics. There isnt much — just the pounding of hooves and a bit of crowd noise — and it adds little to the experience. A little track ambiance would have been nice since the races themselves are pretty lifeless to the ear.

Overall, Hooves of Thunder is a solid simulation, but if you arent interested in horse racing or betting at the track, theres not much here for you. But if youve always wanted to try your luck with the ponies, Hooves of Thunder is a sure winner.” Must-have for every horse racing fan.



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