While the subject matter of Flying Heroes might not be original – and that’s putting it mildly; it’s a deathmatch game – the implementation definitely is. Imagine your Quake marine, not dressed in his laser-scarred battle armour, but rather in flowing silk, complete with turban and wielding a wickedly curved, razor-sharp scimitar, possibly with a small bar of Fry’s Turkish Delight tucked away in his top pocket, and you’re getting there.
For Flying Heroes is essentially a hybrid of the old Bullfrog classic Magic Carpet (aka Bloke on a Rug) and Quake – but is it full of Eastern promise, or Western duplicity?
The main game consists of a single player league in which you play ‘bots’, or computer controlled deathmatch opponents, much as in Quake III. Starting off in the equivalent of the Conference division, the idea is to frag your way up into the big leagues by beating your opponents, earning league points and cash with which you can upgrade your ‘craft’.
And it’s craft in inverted commas, as that can mean a lizard, a two-headed dragon, a magic carpet, a mini-zeppelin or even a giant flying teapot! Yes, you read that correctly. Depending on which race you choose to be, there’s a different selection of craft, although the two most advanced races can’t be played until you’ve conquered the lower leagues with the other two.
The gameplay is classic deathmatch, with the obvious difference that it’s airborne so you have to worry about your altitude and speed as well as your aim. Powerups abound and can be used to increase your speed, firepower and health – these play an absolutely key role, as is the norm in a deathmatch game.
League games can be straight timed deathmatches, races to a set number of frags, or alternatively a game of ‘tag’ (where the person who is ‘it’ for the least time wins).
To lend variety to the proceedings, bonus levels are thrown in here and there, which set you challenges – in the first you have to destroy a number of laser cannons whilst avoiding being blown up by them – and these can be completed for extra cash to purchase upgrades.
Flying Heroes isn’t anything particularly special, although it does put a different and interesting slant on deathmatch, and the season/league structure of the game will hold your interest. It’s quite snazzy on the visuals front too, with some well detailed, smooth moving environments to battle in.
Company: Take 2 Interactive