"Just Grab Your Stick and Play!"
More like, Just Grab Your Stick and Leave...
Simple graphics....cheesy sounds...horrible game play. What do these three things have in common? Yep, you guessed it, they all describe 7th Level's pitiful attempt at a 3D flying game. Yup, I'm talking about Helicops.
The story line in Helicops is on the corny side, but is presented in such a way (cool music, some dude with a cool voice and Fire) to get the attention of the gamer. Here is a quick overview of the story: It is the year 2015, and NeoTokyo, the world's new center of commerce and technology, is now being threatened by Maxwell Giger, a leader of an international crime syndicate called Nemesys. An airborne strike force called HeliCOPS was put together and it is up to them (and you) to put an end to Giger's chaos.
Playing Helicops is, in a nutshell, boring. The gameplay just doesn't "grab" the gamer. As advertised by 7th level, the best control is achieved by just "grabbing your stick" ( Sounds like a fun game to me...- Ed ). Even with a joystick, it is still horrible. The throttle does not control the speed of your craft, but the altitude. Also, when tilting the stick forward, it will move your helicopter forward, as opposed to most flying games where it will tilt it down. Moving the stick back will move your helicopter back, as opposed to tilting it up. These controls are hard to play on and it is hard to actually get a feel for you helicopter.
The graphics in Helicops (not including all prerendered animations) are also below average. Although they aren't as bad as some games now released, they in no way measure up to many major games on the market today. All graphics rendered in real-time are big, blocky polygons. This takes away from the enjoyment of the game. Instead of flying a helicopter shooting at other helicopters and tanks, it feels as if you are flying in simple 3D space, firing as some blocky "things" which are impossible to identify unless you are the perfect distance away. The missiles and guns are also simple. When firing your 100mm cannon, all you see is a line (1 pixel in width) from your gun to your target. Missiles are simple while the missile trail is, again, a line (1 pixel) of one solid color. The graphics are simple and far from realistic.
Not everything in Helicops is bad. The most commendable attribute in this game is its complexity. You have a choice of 5 HeliCOPS officers to choose from. Each person has different characteristics (e.g. Height, Hair, and Specialty). Unfortunately, these characteristics have absolutely nothing to with the game itself except for heightening its story line. You also have the choice of five different helicopters: the Ninja, Spectre, Ronin, Triton, and Brutus. Each helicopter has a different amount of ammo, shields, number of weapons (there are different kinds: 100mm, Buzz Rocket, Devastator and Annihilator) and speed. There are 6 major enemies, with the leader/boss being Maxwell Giger, and a total of 19 different enemy vehicles. Most importantly there are a number of missions (I counted 6). Each has about 4 "submissions". You have to beat one to move on to the next. The object of each mission is to stop terror caused by Giger's men, and to eventually put an end to Maxwell Giger himself.
The sound is pretty bad. General effects, for example guns blaring, missiles launching, and explosions erupting, are simple and non-realistic. There is no music.
All in all, Helicops is just not fun. There is a very detached feeling when playing the game caused by bad graphics, unrealistic sounds, and awkward game play. The game does support multi-player networking - after all, why should one person be bored out of their mind when eight people can at the same time? If you are really want to be bored for hours on end, get this game. Otherwise, pass on it.