Looking for an original flight combat game that offers brand new ideas? If so, you need look no further than Flying Heroes, a game that combines a fantasy storyline with flight combat.
In the realm of Hesperia, war has been obliterated and replaced with the Global Hesperian Aerial Tournament to determine airborne supremacy. It's a competition that involves a warrior from each race on Hesperia: Sky Knights, Hammercrafts, Magions and Lizard Riders. Each race has a completely different mode of attack with separate combination moves.
Should you select single player career mode, your only option at the beginning of the game is to offer your services to one of two factions, the Magions or Lizard Riders. Joining the other two races requires you to have more experience and the option to fly for them becomes available later in the game. However, if you play the single battle mode, you may choose from any of the four races.
The four races differ in appearance but are very similar in actual gameplay. Each has a main weapon, which consists of a laser ball fired at the enemy, albeit with different effects. If you're a Lizard Rider, for example, your weapons cover your opponent with green ooze for a short time. Similar weapons of other races simply do the damage without the ooze. Each races' main weapon has a unique appearance. The Magion weapon looks like a magic wand while the Lizard Riders have a large type of gun.
Controlling two of the races is restricted at the beginning of the game due mainly to difficulty in control. The Sky Knights' bird corners more easily than a flying carpet but takes some time to adjust to and master while the Hammercrafts require you to fly a hot air balloon in which you must learn to use the raise and lower controls more quickly. The functionality of both these races is actually the same as the Lizard Riders and Magions in that you still have a main weapon that fires lasers with the speed remaining the same.
None of the four races is actually more fun to play then the others but each has a slight difference in gameplay and a totally different look. So, you might find yourself wanting to play the Sky Knights simply because you like the idea of flying a bird rather than a carpet or other object.
Additionally, as you gain money in tournaments to buy new creatures/flying objects, the races change quite a bit. For example, as a Lizard Rider, you fly a bat-like creature early in the game but eventually upgrade to a two-headed dragon. This evolvement may well dictate which race you might want to play.
One issue that bothers me very much while playing Flying Heroes is the speed at which you move. Whether you're on a bird, in a hot air balloon, riding a lizard or flying on a carpet, your speed is always very slow. Although you can use speed boosts that temporarily make you go faster, they only last a few seconds and the speed increase really isn't that significant.
Using a combination of the mouse (firing) and keyboard arrow keys (movement) is the standard interface and eventually results in very easy control of all craft. Control can be difficult at first, though, until enough practice allows you to smoothly integrate the various movements (directing your craft with the mouse while using the arrow keys to move forward, back and side to side).
Raising and lowering altitude commands are the most difficult aspect of control. It requires pressing the control key as well as a letter key simultaneously, usually not near the arrow keys you're using. Using the mouse to direct the up and down movements of my vehicle (bird, carpet, balloon, and so forth) was much easier and more natural. Using the numeric keypad's arrow keys would have made control much easier.
If you use a joystick, though, control is even easier and ultimately the preferred method of playing. The fire keys and movement are easier to control because of their close proximity. Of course, the same movement keystrokes still apply (using buttons that go forward and back while the arrow keys point you in the right direction).
The aspect that really makes the game easy to control and handle is the slow speed and the fact that, if you stop and don't do anything, you simply hang in mid-air. Doing so, however, invites an enemy to fire on you continuously, so that particular strategy is not recommended. But, stopping for short periods of time does give you a chance to orient yourself and plan your moves.
Your best bet is to constantly fly in all directions and never stand still for too long. It's not possible to outrun your opponents because they fly much faster than your vehicles do during gameplay, thus putting you at a disadvantage. By increasing the speed a tad in the game, the designers would eliminate this worrisome flaw and still enable you to control your rides easily.
With the aforementioned negative aspects of the game aired, the rest of it is a rather interesting experience. The graphics paint a picture of a unique world that seems to share some qualities with the Greco-Roman era of architecture. If you begin the game as a Lizard Rider, a guy with a New York Brooklyn accent gives you the tutorial. While the atmosphere of the game is directed towards the fantasy world, there isn't any compelling story to go along with it.
The environments in Flying Heroes are diverse in every sense of the word. First, the actual terrain is different; the ground is divided into sections in some levels, giving you a feeling of flying high above the planet. You can fly around, under and above land when it's sectioned off and can actually fly through water and waterfalls (required when you are burning up from fire). If flying in the Magion race, you actually need to replenish your water at times and a voice tells you to do so.
Power ups in the levels stay the same and include items such as mana, health, stealth, invincibility and speed boosts while actual objects you navigate around change. In some levels, you can hide behind giant land formations or waterfalls and in others, such as the first level, you can fly into ditches that surround the arena.
If you crash into any part of the terrain, you incur no damage whatsoever due to your slow speed. The speed does not change regardless of what graphics configuration you use (acceleration or software mode). Apparently, the pace was designed this way intentionally because it makes the game easier to control (although less exciting). This places all of the game's focus on destroying the enemy fighters and offers the terrain as a way to strategically hide from enemy fire and cannons.
The difference in environments as opposed to typical space shooter games is that Flying Heroes takes place in a more Earth-like atmosphere. You encounter water, grass and trees and are always surrounded by clouds. It's like taking Star Wars and replacing your X-Wing with a bird, then slowing the game down by half and putting yourself on a planet. This is not to say the game looks or feels like Star Wars but the objective is still to shoot down the other players.
Flying Heroes is simply an action game with a fantasy image. The only storyline is the one behind the premise of the tournament and it's a battle to the bitter end. The training missions, such as the one involving cannons at the beginning of the game, are helpful and break up the monotony of flying in battles. However, each area in which you fight is very different from the next. Terrain is very diverse and you won't find yourself getting into any ruts of flying to certain areas to avoid being shot down.
This is a shooter-style game of a different color. If you're tired of the typical space ships and lasers found in similar games of the genre, Flying Heroes is worth a look. The game's premise seems to make a lot of sense in a "perfect world" scenario. But, no matter how heavily races throughout the world compete in sports, the action doesn't seem to quell the hunger for world domination.
The capability to upgrade ships and weapons with money you earn after victorious battles is sufficient enough to keep you playing after you master the controls. Flying Heroes has a vast number of items, nice scenery, excellent variety and plenty of challenge for even the most experienced player. The action may be a little slow but some gamers may actually see this as a plus since it can offer better control.
Flying Heroes is much like combining Roman gladiators with Final Fantasy characters in a great combination of beauty and violence. Fantasy weapons abound as you destroy your opponents and bring them crashing to the ground.
Graphics: Excellent graphics make the image of this fantasy world come alive with brilliant colors and a variety of animals and aircraft. The video of your instructor in every group is very fuzzy and pixilated, whereas the rest of the game is just fine.
Sound: The sounds are not anything special and there is no music during gameplay at the various levels. Weapon sounds are standard fare.
Enjoyment: After you get used to the speed and controls, the game is fun to play. Each group has unique weapons and different animals or machines they can control. Each level is different than the next and the game isn't simply an "arena battle" per se.
Replay Value: The single battle mode is a great feature in the game since you can play as any of the clans using their best weapons and aircraft. In addition, you can use the Internet to play against seven other people in the multiplayer mode.
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