Heli Heroes Review

Heli Heroes is a throwback to the arcade shooter of yore, where wave after wave of enemies come after your lone ship as you scroll your way through a variety of environments.  It ostensibly places you at the controls of an Apache or Russian Hokum helicopter in a battle against terrorists, but this is about the extent of its basis in reality.  This is not necessarily a bad thing,  though, as mindless and wanton destruction can sometimes prove to be quite fun.

ScreenshotsThe controls for the game are pretty simple; keys are used to move the helicopter around and fire its machine gun and missiles.  Using the forward and back keys not only moves the copter up and down on the screen, but also serves to control the speed at which the map scrolls by.  Moving the copter to the bottom of the screen slows the scroll rate, while moving it up accelerates the scrolling to a frantic pace.  Other than being able to move around the screen this way, there is very little control over where you go.  Occasionally the game will provide branching paths allowing the player to select the left or right path, but that's about it - most of the time the player just has to let the computer do the navigating.

The game throws enemies at the player on the ground and in the air, and they can fire on the player in a variety of ways.  To fight back, the player has an arsenal consisting of machineguns and missiles.  Machineguns have a limitless supply of ammunition, but don't pack quite the same punch as the missiles.  Missiles come in various forms, and the player can reload by passing over the numerous missile power-ups which appear on the map.  In addition to the missiles, a variety of other power-ups can be found, including speed boosts, shield regenerators, instant repairs, and even an insidious one which will flip the screen upside-down and reverse the controls.

Unlike most of the scrolling shooters that have come before it, Heli Heroes uses a targeting system for the player's weapons.  A yellow highlight will appear around the current target and the weapons will be directed against this target.  Unfortunately, this is an annoying feature of the game as there is no control over the targeting reticle and it sometimes jumps between targets before the prior one is completely destroyed.  This proves to be a big problem when trying to destroy a key target as it can be difficult to concentrate the copter's stream of fire on the desired target.