Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Mr Heli

Mr. Heli is a weird little game for you. Known to some by the (obviously inferior) name of Battle Chopper, this title would be a game put forth by the mighty Irem to arcades (and subsequently the Japanese PC Engine) in 1987. So what have the Makers of R-Type cooked up here exactly?

Yeah, so no two ways about it - Mister H is one funky looking little game, that is not hard to believe. A little cuter than the company's usual efforts (though not overbearingly so like many of it's contemporaries at the time), the star of this show is a little helicopter mech with feet who can walk around and kill stuff. He kinda looks like he wouldn't be out of place in a gangbang with Fantasy Zone's Opa-Opa and Konami's Twinbee. And don't tell me you'd not like to see such a thing either...!

Anyway the game plods around, sometime autoscrolling, sometimes more platformy, you shoot stuff, you lob bombs, you fire missiles. Powerups work by collecting crystals as currency, and then "buying" items which appear if you have enough cash when their item appears. Powering up gets your character from weak to badass mode QUICKLY - you feel it, and you need this, because the game wastes no time and unloading lots of weaponry at your character. If you hangout anywhere for more than a moment, you're gonna be a smear on the ground..

Mr Heli is no easy game, despite it's somewhat cutesy looks. As noted above, guys are trying to do you in constantly. And note that when you die, your powerup inventory (and cash reserves) all revert to zero. I can see it not being very popular these days as it's not exactly friendly to the casual player. On the other side of that, it's quite refreshing to see a game with a solid mechanic, a great feeling of control, and a decent competent level of design behind it. It feels a little cheap from the outset, but it feels like a fun game that you'll want to do some battle with!

Mr Heli - not for everybody, but definitely for me. It's the type of game which will convince me to buy a JPN adapter for my TurboGrafx-16 down the road so I can enjoy it as it was properly intended, slipping around with the (well-) emulated version on my beloved GP32 is just a little too frustrating!

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