Reviewed by Jim Short



Issue 17

Sep/Oct 85

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Activision are currently converting their top VCS games to run on the Atari Home Computers, using the advanced capabilities of the computers to produce much improved versions of all their popular games. H.E.R.O. is one of the recent conversions and, for my money, is Activision's best game to date.

You control Roderick HERO in his mission to rescue trapped miners from their underground 'prisons'. Roderick is kitted out with all the latest equipment including a miniature jet heli-pac strapped to his back and eye-level lasers built into his helmet. He also carries a supply of dynamite which he uses to blast his way through solid rock walls blocking the various tunnels and passageways. He must then negotiate the labyrinth of tunnels and vertical shafts in order to find the miners who are trapped deep underground. There is only one miner to be rescued on each level of play but HERO has to travel deeper and deeper on each level in his bid to locate the miners. Once rescued the miner will give a wave of a hand whereupon you advance to the next level of play.

HERO will encounter spiders, snakes and other assorted nasties on his travels which he can dispose of with a quick blast of his lasers. Unfortunately the inhabitants of the tunnels tend to lurk in unexpected places and when faced with a choice of passageways a wrong decision invariably proves fatal for our HERO costing him one of his allotted lives. As with most other games, once you memorise the screen layouts, you will know which passageways are safe and which are best avoided.

Some of the tunnels are illuminated by lamps. These are usually positioned in the vertical shafts and HERO must take care not to accidentally knock them out otherwise the whole screen will be plunged into darkness. Definitely not the best way to go about things! In the higher levels of the game, HERO will face many more hazards such as radio-active walls and lava pools which he must negotiate either with the aid of a raft or by precision flying. The choice is yours.

H.E.R.O. is a game which merits the highest possible praise. The graphics are outstanding with horizontal and vertical scrolling up to the usual standard. Sound is excellent and special attention has been paid to the use of colour with, I suspect, extensive use of Display List Interrupts for all those extra colours. Activision certainly know how to get the best from the Atari.

If you are looking for a highly original game with multi levels of play, a game which is a constant challenge and also one which you will not tire of too easily, then look no further. H.E.R.O. is the game for you.