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Activision Inc
1984
Arcade: Maze
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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13
Chris Bourne

Roderick Hero (R. Hero for short) is an all-round American good guy whose greatest joy in life is to go around rescuing people. In the case of this particular game it happens to be a bunch of miners who are trapped in the deepest recesses of a nightmare mine. The object is to rescue as many as possible before dying! The miners, resembling shipwrecked mariners, are obviously pleased to see R. Hero when he arrives because they raise a weary hand and wave at him as much as to say, 'Go away.'

As R. Hero you are equipped with a reasonably heat resistant suit and mini helicopter blade on top. The suit also has a head-mounted micro laser for blasting the varied nasties that thrive in the warm depths of this mine complex. The mine seems to have been okay until volcanic activity released lava into the shafts and tunnels with the result that some of the walls and floors are red hot and kill on contact. The other useful device Rod has considered is dynamite - six sticks of the stuff. This is dropped near to a wall and blasts it away. Alternatively walls can be blown apart with the laser except this takes up time and uses energy, which is limited.

The mines are large with each screen only showing a small area of the total. The object is to rescue a miner at each level of play. Level one is dead simple to get you used to the idea. By level 4, however, you are finding much more complex mazes, more creatures, more magma walls and the fact that in some places the lights don't work. You can also put out the lights accidentally by touching or shooting one. In this event feeling your way around is the only alternative, unless you have some dynamite left - lighting a stick is rather like lighting a candle.

Rod Hero, of course, having lit a stick, must retreat quickly or get caught in the blast. Points are scored for killing nasties and for rescuing miners, with a bonus being added in the form of how many sticks of dynamite are left. An energy bar is situated under the display area and failure to rescue a miner before this runs out will result in the loss of one life. Rather as in River Raid there is a level starting option to allow more skilled players to enter the game at higher levels - 5, 9, 13, or 17.

CRITICISM

'Can't say I've seen this one before. It's a highly original game. The graphics are good and the effect of the dynamite going off is - explosive! This is a very good play, although unfortunate that it should be in the Atari/Activision price bracket. I liked the effect of the water (or is it lava) at the bottom of the shafts very much. I found it to be a very challenging game and even the demo can tire you out.

'H.E.R.O. is the best of the lour Activision games just released for the Spectrum. The graphics are not particularly brilliant but serve their purpose well and the sound is fine. The best thing about the game is that it's very addictive and fun to play. It's certainly a challenge because the better you get and the further you go the harder and harder the game becomes. l still think Activision games are a bit pricey, but this is still a very good game!

'H.E.R.O. is enormous fun to play and very addictive with just the right amount of frustrating and challenging ingredients to keep you going just when you thought you might give up. As a hero Roderick isn't exactly a stunning graphic but I do like his little helicopter blade. And that's the only point I found a little irritating - his thrust is a bit slow to come on. Perhaps this is intended to be realistic but it can leave you in some very awkward situations and kill you-off when you least expect it to. Had it been £6 instead of £8 I would have given it a very high value for money alongside the other ratings, but this is a bit steep, especially in the face of some much better looking budget software recently.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: 2/A thrust/dynamite, O/P left/right, E for laser
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: reasonable positions although fire is slightly odd, but responsive once used to slow thrust
Use of colour: good, bright and lively
Graphics: simple but effective, smooth moving
Skill levels: 5 actual entry levels but many overall on progressive basis
Lives: 5
Screens: numerous
General Rating: Very good, original, addictive and fun, but still a bit pricey.

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Screenshot Text

Hello frail, abandoned miner, I'm here to rescue you. You don't know me, but my name's HERO - Roderick Hero.

Rod HERO boldly faces up to some aliens and a magma wall.