#67 H.E.R.O.

Posted: 10th July 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

439th played so far


Genre: Platform
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1984
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision

Time to be a hero… Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation time! It’s an old time platform game, predating the Super Mario Bros. mark, where (according to its lore) you descend into mine shafts using your helicopter to rescue those trapped in them.

Our Thoughts

I’ll be honest – these games can start to feel a bit dime-a-dozen sometimes. A platformer with now-crude graphics, enemies to avoid and generally just having to get to the end of the level, then start over on the next level.

H.E.R.O. is different in that it mostly entails you going down, with no bottomless pits. With the levels being divided into screens, however, you have to be careful not to be trapped, as while the helicopter allows you to fly up, your fuel is limited.

Your goal is to reach the miner you need to rescue at the bottom of the level (no need to fly back up). Aside from the general jumping up and down, however, there are loads of enemies to avoid, several placed where you land on them nearly instantaneously. You can kill them by firing at them, but as is common for the time, you have to be right on the level with them, no ducking or shooting up or down.

It leads to a lot of memorization. Although several rooms in the levels are repeated, helping a bit, a lot of trouble in finishing the game comes from you having to know which route to take, which walls to break through and where an enemy will pop up. The game, then gets easier once memorized, but it stayed a tricky affair.

Final Thoughts

H.E.R.O. is not a game I’ll go back to. It’s good for its time, with some interesting ideas – the levels mostly leading you down is a nice subversion of what’s normally seen in these games, and destructible walls that you can break through with explosives is the type of flexibility in level designs makes the game feel more interesting. In later games you might expect these to use to find secrets, but unfortunately this seems to miss that mark.

And that’s where it falls down. The game has plenty of great ideas, but it’s all slightly ahead of what can be pulled off, whether it’s down to controls, graphics or ideas. More modern versions feels like it would work better.