Heatseeker - Review|
Written by James Hobbs
I really, really love jets. Particularly fast ones, and those are definitely the kind you get in Heatseeker. It's fair to say that Wii hasn't really had a decent flight game yet – Wing Island was
possibly one of the most brain-achingly dull games I've played on Wii so far, despite the motion controls lending themselves perfectly to flight-based games. Sadly, however, the first 'proper'
fast-jet based game to be released on Wii is a port of a PS2 game. I wonder how many more million units Wii will have to sell before we start getting our own games.
Thankfully, with Heatseeker it's fairly easy to get past the fact that the Wii incarnation shares a great deal with it's last-generation cousin. The sheer speed at which the game moves means that
you're hard-pressed to notice the fairly lacklustre graphics, and the only time they become noticeable to any great extent is during the incredibly poor cut-scenes. Thankfully all of the in-game
cutscenes can be skipped, allowing you to get on with the action.
|'Are we still in Eye-Rack?'|
Heatseeker is based around a fictional world conflict, complete with the typical assortment of foreign rogues with which to do battle. There's the evil Mediterrean General, 'ace' pilots who
taunt you over the comm, and even a hotshot 'chick' pilot to fly alongside. It really couldn't get any more silly, but thankfully the game doesn't really take itself as seriously as perhaps it
could, and somehow the ridiculous plot doesn't really matter. When it boils down to it, Heatseeker is all about blowing things up. Lots of things, with lots of guns, very quickly indeed.
This is certainly where the game excels. The developers occasionally toss a few banal tasks such as identifying planes to ascertain their allegiance, but it almost always ends in a dogfight –
as it most certainly should. The dogfights, particularly later on in the game, are well-paced, exciting, and often very difficult affairs, and the game engine rarely struggles to keep up, even
with dozens of missile trails, clouds, enemy fighters, and gunfire raging through the skies. It looks absolutely excellent in motion, and whilst the overall level of graphical detail is low, it is consistent.
The control system adds to the intensity of the dogfights by offering a 'professional' option as well as an arcade control mode. The professional option allows you to rotate the plane through
360 degress with the Wii remote, allowing you complete freedom over the attitude and trajectory of the jet. It's superb, and for the most part it works without a hitch, allowing you to pull
off the most incredible turns and dives in order to get behind your enemy. You can even reverse the camera view to look from the nose of the jet backwards, which looks fantastic in a loop
or a dive. The dogfighting and jet control systems are certainly the major strong point of the game.
However, occasional glitching does mar the experience somewhat. As well as controlling the jet with the remote simulating the yoke ( or control stick ), you also have a pointer on-screen,
requiring you to point at the sensor bar whilst moving the jet. This is quite complex at first, and seems a bit uncessary – all too often fast movements resulted in the pointer being lost and
a temporary loss of control: not a good thing if you're flying 50 feet above the sea. The pointer-based targeting system doesn't really work that well, and feels like something of a
compromise – it's not awful, but when it does get in the way it really narks you off. It should perhaps be noted that if you hear a warning siren and you lose control of the jet, that's
because you're exceeding the maneuverability of the jet. You plonker.