Featured: Hero Core

Like we promised last week, we're going to announce the newest featured games at the YoYo Games website.

Hero Core was featured with just 674 plays. Hero Core is an adventure game created by Ultimortal.

Download Hero Core (2.4 MB)


Screenshots by Brian Fetcher

Review by Jonathan Miller
After a brief furlough from game-making, Yoyogames-feautured developer Ultimortal is back with Hero Core, a retro shooter game. Ultimortal is known best for creating Iji, one of only two games to hold the title "King of the Cage Match" on the GMC (the other is FredFredrickson's Hover Tank 3D), and voted the best Free Indie game of the year in 2008 on www.bytejacker.com. Clearly, the expectations for this new game are pretty high - however, it turns out that Hero Core and Iji share very, very little in common.

Hero Core is a sequel to another less known game by Ultimortal - Hero - and is probably the most retro Game Maker game I've ever played. There are only two colors, black and white, the resolution is really low, and the controls are ridiculously simple. There is even an option to set the game language to "retro" for those of you who know what it's like to play old-school, poorly-translated games from Japan.

In the game, you play as what appears to be a jet-packed man, though you can't really tell because of the lack of color and low resolution. Your goal is to defeat some enemy of yours and simultaneously destroy the Tetron base your ship has landed in; not an award-winning story, but with this sort of game it doesn't have to be. You use the arrow keys to maneuver around a large world which is comprised of several different "threat level" areas, and can shoot and use other abilities with the z and x keys.

As far as game design goes, Hero Core is awesome. It is a blast the whole way through, thanks to the good variety of enemies, the upgrades you pick up every now and then, and the non-linear gameplay. The boss battles in particular tend to be very well made. How many other Game Maker games are there where you get to battle a three-headed, monochromatic dragon face to face? On top of this all, the normal and hard difficulty setting are two completely different worlds! Hero Core, as a result, ends up being a heck of a lot more fun than the original Hero.

Perhaps the only complaint I have about Hero Core is that the upgrades are not very influential to your playing. There is one attack you get which does almost nothing to help you - a sort of "slash" which, though more powerful than your bullets, takes too long to charge up to be of any real use in battles. It also is able to deflect shots, but this is rarely helpful when there are tons of shots flying at you from all corners of the room. The upgrade which makes your heat decrease faster when you are overheating (so that you can shoot bullets sooner) gives you only an ever so slight leg up. In a non-linear game where you can essentially go and fight your archenemy right off the bat, it would be nice for the player upgrades to have more of an impact on your character.

The graphics and sound are another thing that make this game great. Some will complain (and have already complained) about the monochromatic graphics and the low-quality sound, but this game couldn't be retro without them. Ultimortal has done a good job of balancing the low-res graphics with subtle screen effects like screen shake and motion blur, which compliment the style very nicely. The explosion effects and the effect that appears when you save the game are very fun to watch. I should say as well that Brother Android has done a fantastic job on the soundtrack, which is quite substantial and is downloadable at http://brotherandroid.110mb.com/herocore.html.

All in all, Ultimortal has outdone himself again. Hero Core is an excellent example of what a retro indie game should be, and the fact that it is created with Game Maker should make GM developers proud. For anyone who has ever enjoyed a game on a console like the SNES, Sega Genesis, or Atari, this is an absolute must-play, and for others who aren't so sure about retro games, this would be a great place to start.

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  1. nice review jonathan!!

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