by Guest Writer Didier Vanoverbeke
The original ‘Poon is back with a vengeance. There have been many re-releases of the original Harpoon by Three-Sixty. In fact, its follow-ups have already been out for years, Harpoon III being the “newest” one. However, this has not stopped Advanced Gaming Systems Inc. (AGSI) and its team of volunteers.
Harpoon Classic 2002 Gold has seen a public beta, and was let loose in mid-October. New features include better AI, a platform editor, an enhanced sonar model, and lots of smaller additions. These would include new and updated platforms, and one official, common database.
So, after the promising-looking beta, how does this version of Harpoon Classic add up? I invite you to read on and find out.
Downloading and/or purchasing the CD, you will find the installation to be a speedy and easy affair. Once you’ve completed your installation, you will be left to register your copy of HC2002 Gold, which is done by starting a demo scenario and registering the game from the Help menu. Not the flashiest way of doing things, but it’s functional.
If you don’t have Microsoft Access, and want to use the Platform Editor, the CD provides the Access Runtime you’ll need.
One gripe with the game is its rather sparse and outdated documentation. The game comes with the Harpoon Classic 97 manual, however the game has undergone some substantial changes since that release, so information included in this manual may not be as useful in-game. Of course, the main game mechanics have remained the same, so if you’re willing to take some time toying around with the game, the lack of in-depth and updated documentation won’t bother you too much.
The bigger problem with the documentation comes to light when you try using the Platform Editor. We’ll get into the editor itself later, but it is important to point out that the game doesn’t actually come with documentation for the editor, and what little documentation is available won’t allow you to use this editor to its full potential. This is a shame really, however I am hopeful that a comprehensive document will be released later to aid in utilizing the Platform Editor, which after all is very important in this game’s life span.
The game also comes with a Battleset Utility, which allows you to fetch your old EC2000 DBs to play scenarios you may have for this battleset, and recent patches have added the Scenario Converter (which was present in the beta), allowing you to convert EC2000 scenarios to the newer EC2003 standard. However, since I do not have the original Harpoon Classic 97 and its EC2000
battleset, I have not been able to test this. Whether the EC2000 files will be made available for people like me remains to be seen, however this is not a big problem, though perhaps it would’ve been easier for the team to include the files in the original HC2002 Gold installation.
Overall, getting HC2002 Gold and its sub programs are a cinch to install, run and update. Thumbs up in that area, however perhaps in the future it would be a good idea to release some more documentation for the game.