The Underrated 4X you’ve never heard of.
Developer: Webfoot Technologies Year: 1997
Delta Hydra is pretty much an unknown 4X sim that even to this day is the very foundation on which I started playing 4X games; Masters of Orion anyone? From the get go there is your basic plot line: Earth is destroyed by war and pollution and we take to the stars in order to find a new home. Luckly we find a solar system in the Delta Hydra system and it is inhabited by nine planets, all in which is for you to send out probes to do research, develop colonies and so forth. Oh, did I forget to mention that there are two other space agencies? The SEAM and AASA have launched their own colonist into space for the very same reason.
Delta Hydra is very simple to play and very plot driven. You can try going the peaceful route with the other agencies which not surprising they hate each other and if you are friends with both, they will likely find out and maybe declare war on you. With that being said you can declare total war on the faction if you like but be warned that is only if you are plenty stock piled for battle as the opponents usually out perform you. As for talking to the agencies, you can give gifts, exchange tech, declare war or offer a peace treaty. Which ever route you go, the recommendation is to always send pods for research to discover the new planets and developing new technology.
The Graphics for the time aren’t really all that great and are in full-blown early 3D and most of your time is going to be spent on the colony menu (see Below Image) checking on colonist, developing new habitats and greenhouses are essential to a happy life. One of the funniest things and probably the saddest are the representatives of the agencies; You control ULSA, The SEAM is controlled by a goofy looking European and of course the AASA which is the Asian agencies, is controlled by an even goofier looking Asian woman. The art work that accompanies the game is hilarious to look at and at times I can’t take them serious when they declare war on me, which by the way is all the time. (Maybe because I laugh at them?)
The sound quality is probably where the music really doesn’t shine to bright here. You do have music albeit in MIDI form and all the different planets and the main menu have decent atmospheric music but it’s not the best. For the most part you really won’t notice the music at all unless you’re on the Main menu. Don’t Expect too much here. Although the music isn’t the best it does have sound effects like any normal game would have right? YES it does, I can’t tell you the many times I have played DOS games and there was simply no music or effects at all. The effects from war to lasers to ion engines burning, were all in the right spots.
Combat is fairly simple and a little bit less challenging than other space 4X games but that doesn’t mean to take it easy as you can get your butt handed to you in an instant. It’s all done in a pseudo 3D map and you take control of any available ships that you might have and any weapons that have been developed at that time will be equipped on to your ships. Unfortunately if you lose your all your ships, you will lose the weapon and have to develop it again. The map features are smaller that the other games and the replayability is high as well due to the randomization of the map on every new game.
I really love this game and it will always be remembered as an amazing game. Its simple features and game play make for a fun and interesting time, if only for 30 min. While the music is not the best, it does the job. If you can find this game, I would tell you to pick it up and try it out although the graphics may be a put off for more of the graphic heavy person in this day and age, it’s a shame that this game was left behind in the dust of time…