Whereas the original NetWars was developed by Novell to be bundled with their Personal NetWare program to show off NetWare's IPX capabilities, this update with more advanced graphics and new features was released with OpenDOS.
The main idea of Advanced NetWars is much like the original: you are placed in the cockpit of a space fighter and sent out into the vast reaches of space to shoot down your enemies or be killed yourself. You are given plasma guns, missiles, and turbo boosters to help you on your mission.
Your 3D radar is also very important to you, as it shows where other fighters are relative to your position, but also how far "above" or "below" you they are.
Advanced NetWars is a little-known sequel to NetWars, a great 3D space shooter that Novell bundled for free with their Personal NetWare program to show off IPX capabilities. Caldera upgraded the game with better graphics and more features, then released it as part of its OpenDOS application (long discontinued).
From the README file, Advanced NetWars has the following major new features over the original NetWars that Novell shipped: Six players can now take part in the Multi-Player gameThere are computer controlled ships in the Multi-Player game, 1 per player. So the maximum number of ships in a game is 12!. Computer controlled ships can be disabled from the options menu. The Multi-Player game now has a 'Shoot-Out' mode which forces all players to start at the same time and prevents them from rejoining the game once they have been killed. The last player alive is the shoot-out winner. Shoot-Out mode is enabled from the options menu. Players can fire missiles in the Multi-Player game. Shape editor software is included (see NWDRAW.EXE). Players can design their own ship using the shape editor, save it as a file, then load it into the Multi-Player game from the options menu. Help for the shape editor is included. There is support for Sound-Blaster compatible sound cards. There is support for Joystick control. The Single-Player game has been enhanced. Play it to find out more! Players can see external views of their ship in the control panel by pressing the F1 key during a game.
Overall, this last version of NetWars looks and plays better than the original, and is very addictive in multiplayer mode via IPX protocol (although the single player mode is quite fun too, with decent computer-controlled pilots). I especially like the innovative "3D radar" that shows ships' distance from 2D plane - this predates Homeworld by many years. If you like the original NetWars or space combat games in general, Advanced NetWars is a must-have.
Note: The download here includes an IPX wrapper program you can use to connect to Kahn Central to play a multiplayer game.
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