This is a futuristic flying game. The plot casts you as a captured Nethacker forced to Netrun for the mercenary Black Sun Corporation for their own greedy purposes.
Just what is Netrunning? in the year 2306 5 megacorporations control the world, each of which requires lots of data and information to mantain their position at the top of the food chain. If a certain data can't be obtained peacefully they then resort to hacking the other corporation's net with cybernetically enhanced individuals (such as yourself) that can cruise the Networks in virtual vehicles called Traces. This then means that as a Netrunner you have to "race" in futuristic trenches and several other Tron-like settings while avoiding ICEs and other countermeasures and trying to achieve mission objectives like capturing a certain data file, clearing up a Net of intruders, etc.
A precursor of Bethesda's much later X-Car Experimental Racing, Delta V is an example of a game designed to take advantage of industry capabilities rather than being too concerned with presenting a satisfying, intelligent gaming experience. In order to fully appreciate the performance of the game when it was released in 1993, you had to have a fast, leading-edge computer to enjoy the arcade flight sequences and it seems as if that's what the designers had in mind. And therein lies the rub: Delta V designers focused too much on "pushing the envelope" of technology that they forgot the most impotant element: gameplay.
The premise is decent, although a thinly disguised attempt at intrigue set in the 24th century. In this cyberpunk world, you are a "netrunner," meaning that what you do for a living is to cruise the virtual reality world where mega-conglomerates battle each other for world supremacy through accumulation and exploitation of data. As the game starts, you are being blackmailed into working for the Black Sun corporation, and must run the dangerous pathways of the vast Global Internet (literally transformed into a virtual environment where data and information are depicted as solid objects and mistakes can kill you), infiltrating competitor's heavily guarded systems, and defending Black Sun's database from intrusion by other netrunners like yourself.
So far, so good. Unfortunately, the action in Delta V is so repetitive that you will quickly lose interest in the plot. Although considered a flight simulation with adventure overtones, Delta V is basically an arcade game at heart that forces you to fly into innumerable trenches and battle the same endless enemies. Your Trace (the virtual flying machine you're in) rockets down the selected paths or trenches with options only for flying up or down or side to side. You can never turnaround so if you miss enemies or important objects you're destined to run it again, and again, and again. From a technical standpoint, though, the game is much prettier and advanced than most games of the period, with object shading and flashy effects.
In the end, Delta V is a bore-- definitely one of Bethesda's worst releases, a game that focuses far too much on visual and sound components that gameplay suffers as a result. The game's "extra" elements of upgrading your Trace fighter and earning credits help make it a bit more interesting, but not by much. Great graphics, poor gameplay-- not unlike many games today.
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