G.I. Hero

by J. Dave Rogers, Nigel Brown, Roger Pearse
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 61, Feb 1989   page(s) 18,19

GI Joe in jungle jaunt

Producer: Firebird
Purple hearts: £7.95 cass
Author: Blitter Animations

Sensitive NATO documents have been stolen and taken into a 'politically sensitive' country. In response a trained assassin, and Killer: The Wonder Dog (!), are bundled into a plane to be taken into the foreign territory. Engine problems mean an early parachute drop, though, separating Killer and the elite warrior strangely known as an ordinary GI hero.

If you choose to step into the GI's size 11 yomping boots then your first objective is to find the dumb mutt (and be careful some Israelis haven't strapped it with explosives). The forest is crawling with troops who you must dispose of. Initially you've just four clips of ammunition, but ammo is littered all over the jungle. To reload the gun you must usea menu system, which allows you to use items (like wire cutters) and turn objects on/off (like the torch for dark caves).

Once found, your poochy pal gives you some vital assistance in defending yourself. But with or without Killer you only have 24 hours to find the papers and prevent an international scandal.

Trudge, trudge, trudge is all you seem to do in GI Hero, and although the monotony is occasionally broken by shooting troops I soon found my attention beginning to wander. The scenery is almost as dreary as the gameplay, just jungle and caves before you get to the base camp. Ambushes with three or more soldiers often proved fatal, even with Killer, who often went walkies on his own. And after playing this for a while, I too soon felt like going for a walk.

MARK [54%]

Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: the extra-large sprites are well-animated
Sound: no tunes, mainly shooting effects
Options: definable keys

Killer is a brave mutt, running at enemy soldiers and biting their jugulars. Like him, the hero and soldiers and guards are well animated, considering their size, and a large black 'shadow' around them avoids attribute clash. Sound is less impressive, merely consisting of gun shots and quiet footsteps, but even more disappointing is gameplay. Too much time is spent plodding aimlessly around the jungle, shooting the odd enemy. Although GI Hero has original qualities, such as the easy-to-use menu system, it is ultimately very yawn inducing.
PHIL [58%]

Presentation: 72%
Graphics: 74%
Sound: 33%
Playability: 59%
Addictive Qualities: 54%
Overall: 56%

Summary: General Rating: A nice game to look at, but unexciting to play.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 39, Mar 1989   page(s) 45

£7.99 cass/£12.99 disk
Reviewer: David McCandless

You and your alsatian, Killer (named after his most amiable quality) have been parachuted into a politically sensitive tropical country, where you are ordered to recover some stolen peace plans. Unfortunately, you and your 'best friend' have a little mid-air tiff and end up going your separate ways during the descent. Mildly concerned about the fate of your slavering dog, the fact that the ground is rushing towards you at 42 feet per second slips your mind.


You land badly, damaging some vital equipment (and your chances of ever having a family). Not only that, but the place is swarming (and we are talking locusts here) with enemy troops, who have been alerted to your presence by your raucous cry as you hit the ground. And on top of all that, you've still got the four stages of your mission to carry out as well.

First: find your yapping canine. Second: kill the stupid mutt or locate the enemy camp and assassinate the leader. Third: search out the helicopter base and destroy it with your limited supply of mines. Fourth: escape. What could be easier?

Due to an incredible stroke of luck, you managed to retain your rifle, some ammo, a homing beacon, a cipher (which receives messages from a surveillance satellite), and a battery to power all those things. And all the enemy soldiers appear to have fingers made of butter, because there are discarded magazines all over the place.

So off you go trudging through a flick screen jungle, slipping through passages, climbing into sub-terrainean caverns, shooting the occasional soldier who's dumb enough to cross your path (yawn), finding the dog who will leap forward into the attack as soon as any enemies appear, trudging through some more jungle, shooting the... (snore).

The jungle locations are unremarkable and almost identical to each other. Sick looking but colourful palm trees on the surface, and a gloomy array of stalagmites and stactites underground. All the characters are huge, nearly one third screen height, and well detailed. They're all protected from colour clash by a thick black Dark Sceptre mask. The central character animates very well, crouching and turning convincingly, and the enemy soldiers crumple satisfyingly when shot.

But the gameplay has a lot to be desired. All the screens are too much alike and you spend most of your time getting lost or being lost (which ever is most interesting). Shooting the soldiers is not difficult, since they're so big. You just fire and they're history.

All this collects into one massive heap of boredom. Not even finding the enemy camp can resurrect it. I feel something could have been done to heighten the tropical atmosphere, like the odd fly buzzing past, or having water percolate from the stalactites or something.

And it's a pity you can't shoot the dog.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 5/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 5/10
Overall: 5/10

Summary: Tedious and thin tropical maze game. Good graphics but not enough action, not enough atmosphere, and too much boredom.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 83, Feb 1989   page(s) 61

Label: Firebird
Author: N. Brown
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Steve Mahoney

In a politically sensitive country, a spy has nicked some peace documents (things are sounding original aren't they?), and you have been sent into go 'yee har, kill, maim' and give that bad ol' spy a slap on the wrist. This is G.I. Hero.

The flight in sees you apparently meeting up with another trained loony, a dog, quaintly called Killer. This is when the plane's engines fophawarrowwwwcrooow and Killer (who obviously has more brains than you) decides to take his chances while you're still in the air, and jumps from the plane.

After a heavy landing, you go searching for Killer. I've seen some bad storylines for games before, but this is terrible.

Anyway, on with the show! You have to find Killer (personally, I'd quite like to see a scrunched dog with a VERY surprised look on its face after realising it couldn't fly), and you've got your rifle or machine gun or whatever it is to blow away all the naughty try to stop you finding the kamikaze canine.

The graphics are big and well animated with quite a few different stances for the main character, as well as the enemies. You have a range of weird and wonderful equipment including a satellite link up which seems to have very little use, except to decipher the scrolly message from Telecomsoft.

When doing all the amazingly unoriginal things that your hero can do, you use a menu system which is fairly straightforward, but should have been explained slightly better for all the 'Fickos', as Jim calls them.

In G.I. Hero, you seem to spend much of your time doing sod all, and, as far as I've managed to get, there's absolutely no sign of ol' dog brains.

Apparently, you do eventually come to a base of some sort, but I can't believe that it could be so good that it would change opinion of this game. There just isn't any content to the game, and people being amused by simply shooting things for hours are few and far between nowadays, but if you are one of those people I'd recommend this game to you.

I was slightly bewildered by the fact that there was no mention of music in the high score table, but I couldn't hear nuffink from one tune on loading, and bleak effects, with a few chirruping crickets.

Well, that's all I can say about G.I. Hero, it's just uncommentonforverylong and quite mediocre compared to scrumidlyuptious games that we've seen in recent months.

I think this game would have been better as a Silverbird game instead of a full-pricer.

Graphics: 70%
Sound: 40%
Playability: 60%
Lastability: 45%
Overall: 45%

Summary: Playable yet uninteresting game with stupid storyline.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 18, Mar 1989   page(s) 57

Firebird send you on a recovery mission.

Spies are nasty pieces of work at the best of times, but when they start handing over stolen peace documents to the enemy they can be a real pain in the neck. What's needed in this situation is a hero, someone who is not scared to charge into heavily-defended enemy territory and bring those documents back. That someone, my friend, is you.

Just to complicate matters, the equipment you were supplied with has suffered slight damage after an impromptu parachute drop. Worse still, faithful hound and all-round wonder-dog Killer has run off because he was scared.

The real action takes place in the bottom half of the screen and is viewed side-on. To complete the game you'll have to accomplish certain tasks in order, details of which are relayed in code via a satellite link-up. To decode the messages you must switch on the cipher machine, and follow the clues. There is a drawback though: the cipher machine (and any other equipment) costs energy to use, and energy is strictly limited.

Being shot at by the enemy also uses energy, and shooting back at them uses ammunition, although that's not so much of a worry because you can discard used magazines and collect full ones that are lying around on the floor. Once Killer is found (follow the beacon signals) he'll maul any enemy guards who happen to wander onto the same screen as you.

GI Hero is definitely one for mapping fans. It's varied enough to keep you playing but takes a while and a bit of thinking to get into.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

Spec 128, £7.95cs, Out Now
Amstrad, £8.95cs. £14.95dk, Out Now
C64/128, £9.95cs. £12.95dk, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 80/100
1 hour: 75/100
1 day: 80/100
1 week: 75/100
1 month: 45/100
1 year: 10/100

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Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 7/10
IQ Factor: 4/10
Fun Factor: 7/10
Ace Rating: 702/1000

Summary: A tough but enjoyable game, likely to be of particular interest for mapping fans.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 88, Feb 1989   page(s) 55

SUPPLIER: Firebird
MACHINES: Spec cass, C64, Amstrad
PRICE: Spec £7.95 cass, Commodore £9.95, 12.95 disk, Amstrad £8.95, £14.95 disk
VERSION TESTED: Spec cass, C64

In the beginning there was Commando. Commando begot green beret. These seeds of unoriginality grew and grew until GI Hero came about, would it live up to its illustrious predecessors?

Peace documents have been stolen by enemy says and someone has to get them back. You as GI Hero (the christening must've been great) are given the job, predictable huh!

As you are being flown out suddenly the engine cuts and you find yourself parachuting groundwards clutching your canine pal - killer the dog.

Just before you land killer wriggles free. Can you find him and retrieve the documents.

GI is an Arcade side-on-view, flick screen adventure. There are no neverending attacks from enemy soldiers as in Green Beret. In fact enemy troops are very few and far between. Ammunition runs out pretty fast too, so look for extra clips which can be found scattered about the landscape. Incidentally, the landscape mostly looks exactly the same, which creates a "haven't I been here before" attitude.

Fortunately, finding Killer the dog brightens the whole thing as any enemies that approach will now be savaged by your four legged friend.

Now and then you'll come across gaps in the undergrowth, through which lie even more bland jungle landscapes. Eventually you reach some caves. If you face GI towards screen and press fire, up pops a menu screen from which you can choose many options, from deciphering codes to changing batteries. Batteries go with the torch which you will need to find your way around the darkened caves.

Sound FX are extremely sparse, just the repetitions sound of a cricket whining out of contempt. May be he hates the landscape too. Nice graphics with sufficient use of colour, although the main sprite is covered by a mask which shows a lack of programming care.

Furthermore the GI's walk is far too slow and looks far too passive.

Three to eight goes is the most I'd give this in the lastability stakes. No variation, hardly any sound and to frustrating to enjoy. Hard game to get into, easy game too get out of. Now where's that Operation Wolf cassette.

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Graphics: 61%
Sound: 25%
Value: 40%
Playability: 41%
Overall: 43%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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