Publisher: Firebird
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #26

Hero | SJ | RE | JR | Verdict


Set in a mine's dank shafts and caverns, HERO follows the exploits of Roderick Hero, a member of the HERO team - Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operations.

Kitted out with a Heli-Pack, dynamite and a laser pistol, old Rodders descends into the dark depths to rescue a party of lost miners. The intrepid hero ignores subterranean hazards including large poisonous spiders, bats and snakes.

Hero's path is barred in many places by walls of rock - blasted aside by use of dynamite. However, when a charge has been dropped Roderick has to run clear lest he be caught in the blast!


Should Roderick run out of dynamite and subsequently encounter another wall, continuous blasting with his laser pistol clears an adequate path. This method's drawback is that it seriously depletes his power, displayed as a diminishing bar at the bottom of the screen. A life is lost when the power level reaches zero, and also when any contact is made with creepy crawlies or glowing red lava walls.

Points are amassed during the game for the destruction of creatures, removal of walls, and the eventual rescue of each miner. The amount of dynamite used in the operation and the remaining power level are also taken into account.

The mine is split into seventeen levels, with a miner at the bottom of each. Later levels can be accessed from the title screen and played as normal, allowing you a taste of what's to come without having to play through the earlier stages.



Even though HERO was first released around three years ago, it still contains heaps of playability. It's nothing to shout about graphically, but it does have one or two neat effects and has enough addictiveness and depth (Excuse the pun!) to keep most people amused for some time.

Possibly overpriced when first released, it really hits the mark now and shouldn't be missed.


Now this is what I call a game... none of this poncing about with licensing deals - just pure and simple creativity. What particularly appeals to me is the way in which the game slowly unfolds the further you get.


Each level presents new problems, and slowly but surely you begin to learn the way things work. It's a pity that the sound is scarce, as I can't stop thinking how brilliant it would be with a tune playing throughout.

One of the best games to spend a couple of coins on this month.


HERO looks awful, sounds terrible but plays absolutely beautifully. What appeals most about this classic oldie is that it's simple in concept, but remains incredibly challenging and addictive.


While the gameplay is basic, finding the right route to the stranded miners takes some doing. Some of the later levels are very tricky and it's quite easy to take a wrong turn and end up screens away from the objective and out of power.

At two quid this is a steal - it might be three years old but it's still as fresh and exciting as ever.


Presentation 85% Demo mode, restart facility and many useful options.


Graphics 59% Generally bland, although occasionally effective.

Sound 45% No music and sparse but adequate spot effects.

Hookability 91% Endearing from the very first go.


Lastability 88% Five levels of play and seventeen increasingly difficult mines give scope for months of play.

Value For Money 96% A cheap and exciting thrill.

Overall 86% Not just a programming exercise, a fabulous exploration designed with the player in mind.

Hero | SJ | RE | JR | Verdict