Genre: Flight Simulator, Real Time Strategy
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Rage Games Limited
Publisher: Rage Games Limited
Age Rating: 18+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 8 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold
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Here we go again! In the near future, war has been abolished and the world lives in peace, which sounds like fantastic news for the human race. However, since this game is called “Hostile Waters” you probably already guessed that the peace doesn’t last. A group of megalomaniac dictators decides peace is for pussies and decides to launch a missile attack against the rest of the world. The surprisingly capable intelligence services of the newly pacified planet are able to predict this threat. With weapons a thing of the past however, all they can give you, the saviour of the human race, is one beaten up old aircraft carrier. It’s not just any old rusty floating runway though, the Antaeus comes with nano technology and is capable of repairing itself and building a whole new army of vehicles. It’s up to you to command this vessel and unlock its secrets. Hostile Waters (known as Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising in the USA) is an engrossing, classic strategy and action title inspired by the well respected classic Carrier Command.
The game should install on modern PCs without any issues. We recommend performing a full installation for best performance.
There was only one patch released for the game, which works only with the European version of the game. Apparently, no patch is required if you are playing a US version. To download the patch, click here (link broken? Let me know here). The file is downloaded as a zip folder. Simply open the folder and run the HostileWatersPatch_English.exe file inside, then follow all on-screen prompts.
Running the game
Start the game as normal from the Start menu or Start screen. If you run the game from the Start menu/screen shortcut, it will launch the Hostile Waters setup program first. Click on the “Hardware Setup” button first and the following window will appear (click on the picture to see a bigger version).
The first decision you need to make is what screen resolution to run Hostile Waters in. Whatever selection you choose, make sure you select a mode that is 32 bit colour. You can run Hostile Waters in a widescreen mode (such as 1920×1080, which is 1080p), though the game isn’t optimised for this kind of display. In practise the game performs reasonably well when running in widescreen. While controlling your vehicles everything performs fine, though you may find that when accessing menus and tactical options, that certain elements on the screen are cropped. If this concerns you, choose a 4:3 (non widescreen) screen mode such as 1280×1024 instead.
The other options on this screen should be set as per the screenshot above. Under troubleshooting, you should select “Disable Joystick”. Joystick support appears to be broken in the game and leaving it enabled will typically cause your vehicles to spiral out of control. There aren’t enough buttons on a typical joystick or gamepad to manipulate the game anyway, and the games instruction manual and quick reference sheets make no reference to joystick control at all.
Before we click on “OK”, lets take a look at the “DirectSound” tab. Click on “DirectSound” and the following window will appear.
Like many older games, Hostile Waters supports both hardware and software sound. Back when the game first came out in 2001, the amount of computing time required to process audio could have a detrimental effect on gameplay and so offloading this processing to a dedicated audio processor was common. These days, with modern multi-core computer processors there is simply no need for dedicated audio processing hardware. Crank up the quality settings to the maximum by selecting “Manual” configuration mode, increasing “Number Of Voices” to 32 and changing the bottom drop-down box to “HRTF Full – highest quality and large processing”.
As seasoned PC retro gamers will know, support for hardware accelerated audio through DirectSound was dropped in Windows Vista. That means that you shouldn’t try to disable software mode for audio, unless you have a PC equipped with a sound card that supports DirectSound emulation, such as a Creative Audio sound card that supports ALchemy. In this case you can add Hostile Waters to the Creative ALchemy software and then use hardware accelerated audio mode instead. However, in practise this didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference to sound quality while playing the game.
With basic sound and graphical options configured, you can now click on “OK” and start the game by clicking “Play Hostile Waters”. When the game first starts, it may minimise itself to the taskbar, but don’t worry, simply click on the taskbar icon and the game will maximise again and stay maximised.
Tweaking visual quality
As well as the visual options you can configure in the setup program, there are several visual quality options you can configure in-game too. Start the game, watch the intro (if you haven’t already) and then you will be taken to a main menu. Choose “Options” and then “Effects”. On the sub-menu that now appears, you can comfortably turn all the settings on or dial them up to maximum on even a modest modern PC.
If you’re comfortable with using the registry editing tool, there’s one more tweak you can make. Exit the game and then start the registry editor (regedit). If you are on a 64 bit machine, navigate to the following key:-
On a 32 bit machine, navigate to the following key:-
Find the string “FullScreenAntiAlias” and click on it and change its value from 0 to 1. Now start the game again, this should improve the quality of the 3D graphics by smoothing the edges of objects. If you need a simple tutorial on how to use the registry editor, you can find one here.
Since the games configuration tool needs to run as administrator, the game will ask for administrator rights every time you start it. If you are installing the game on a standard user account and don’t want the hassle of entering your administrator password every time the game is started, simply change the Start menu/screen shortcut to point to HostileWaters.exe rather than HostileSetup.exe. By running HostileWaters.exe the game will launch directly, without loading the configuration tool first. See the troubleshooting section regarding save games if you do choose to do this.
Problems saving games – Like many older games, Hostile Waters places its save game files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. By default the game will ask for administrator rights each time you run it, which will grant it permission to write to any folder on your PC. If you followed the steps above and changed the games shortcut so that you don’t get the UAC prompt each time it is launched, you may then have problems when it comes to saving your progress. To avoid these problems, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\HostileWaters) or manually edit the permissions on the Hostile Waters folder. If you used the default installation directory, the games folder can be found at “C:\Program Files (x86)\Rage Software\Hostile Waters”. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here.
Vehicles are uncontrollable or pull to the right – First of all, make sure you disabled joystick control in the Hostile Waters setup program. If you still have issues, disconnect all game controllers from your PC before starting the game.
I got a PC cd-rom of this game and I try to run it on Windows 10. But the game isn’t starting. It looks like it’s starting, but nothing happens.