I’d like to say I consider myself pretty good at platformers. Smashed Contra, plowed through Ghouls’n Ghosts, even made short work of Battletoads (yes with using the mega warps). So when I saw Random Heroes, I had to dive in guns blazing.
Ok first off, nothing in this game dies easily, especially in the beginning. I found myself thinking that I was missing some sort of mechanic, and I wasn’t doing it right. Nope. The most basic enemy just seriously takes 8 hits before it falls. Which in and of itself doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you start with a pistol that has a slower firing rate than the turtles outside of the OWC Corporate Headquarters, I felt like I was waiting for the new season of Dexter between each shot.
The game is pretty bland in terms of its backdrops but this is intended. This keeps the characters bright, and the NPC’s popping, so things don’t end up a wash of color. Castlevania did a great job with this, so kudos to the developer for making smart color pallet choices.
The basic premise of the game is; be a hero, shoot zombies, and jump over spikey pitfalls. While that sounds easy, combine the need to get tons of money to buy anything worth wild, off-scene pitfalls you have to assume are dangerous when jumping, and the fact that I had to fire more rounds in the first stage than were used in the first Rambo movie, this game is hard.
What makes the game even harder, however, are these absolutely irritating head-copters. They move DIRECTLY above your line of fire, and if you try and jump over them they move up, and you get hit. You WILL die the first time you see one, period. Certain area’s I’ve deemed impossible to not get hit by one, and you need to take the damage to get by it, which is frustrating sure, but also terrible game design. The head-copters honestly had me to the point where I wanted to make my 3Gs the star of a Will-It-Blend episode.
As you progress through the game, and you (painstakingly) get gold, you can unlock a ton of characters, from good Ol’ Abe and a Nun, to Indiana Jones, and RoboCop. Honestly save up for the Jester, he jumps the highest, and makes those decapitated flying heads so much easier to deal with, there are also some hidden areas that are only accessible by the jester and his higher jump. The game also provides numerous gun options for your pleasure; Pistols, Uzi’s shotguns and rifles, it’s all there. While I was quite sad that I didn’t find a cricket bat and a pixelated “Shaun” to destroy these zombies with, I found something quite appealing in jumping around as a jester with an ak47 hosing down hordes of zombies.
Enemy placement is also very akin to the Castlevania title in that they are where they should be at all times. Unexpected, dangerous, and multiple of them when needed to keep the game varied. However, whoever in the team decided to put enemies that don’t move, directly next to pit falls with spikes in them, shame on you. No matter what you do, the money they drop ends up in the spikes. Every time. Every single time. Please play the games you make, if at any point you say to yourself “well that’s annoying”… fix it. I can’t imagine the development team did not run into this while testing out the title.
I’m a sucker for pixelated goodness. I’m also a sucker for anyone who pays attention enough to make sure that color pallets are chosen with thought. The GUI and shop menus, as well as everything else are super clean and well made. Each bullet casing individually being ejected and rendered, is a really nice touch.
Recording the audio while I’m dealing with these… flying head things, would not be suitable to play on cable TV. That aside, I really enjoyed the platformer goodness, and after getting some stronger weapons things were a bit easier. However this is one of the few platformer games that while playing, I felt “the grind”. Mindlessly slaying enemies to collect money is boring. Konami made the same mistake in Castlevania2 Simons Quest, where that’s… pretty much all you did (and lost ALL of your money when you died). Random Heroes is definitely not a perfect title in the gameplay department, but still quite enjoyable.
The audio was decent and did give me a bit of nostalgia, but I was overall unimpressed with the sound in this title.
Well, it’s probably the second platform game I have played with a purchasing unlockable system for characters and guns. Generally power-ups are found, and hidden in random points in levels, not bought with HARD earned coins. Luckily they did not follow suit with Castlevania 2, and have deaths empty your pockets. Not that the system is bad, just wish there was more reward for exploring in each level.
Random Heroes is a good game, the studio behind it has put out some better titles honestly, and I have high hopes for playing the sequel. I think this title could have been made better with some more variance in backdrops, more rewards for exploring and fixing that flying head which is now my official arch nemesis. Definitely glad I gave this one a try, and recommend you do the same.