Heroes of the Pacific

Moby ID: 19318
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Description official descriptions

Heroes of the Pacific is an arcade flying game set in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Heroes has six game modes including Campaign Mode, Mission Mode, Instant Action, Training, Historical Missions and Multiplayer.

In the Campaign mode, the player is William Crowe, a young pilot who survives the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but loses his brother. Crowe vows to avenge his bother's death, pursuing the squadron responsible though the major battles in the Pacific. The game follows the player's quest from Pearl Harbor, to Wake Island, Marshall Islands, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Gilbert Islands, Marianas, Philippines, and finally Iwo Jima.

As players progress through the campaigns, they earn new planes, including fighters, dive-bombers, torpedo-bombers, and medium bombers. Early in the game the player only has the most basic fighters; like the Warhawk and Wildcat. As they complete missions and progress through the campaign, they are awarded new planes.

The game features over thirty famous planes including: F6F Hellcat, P-38 Lightning, TBF Avenger, F4U Corsair, B25 Mitchell, P-51 Mustang, Seafire, A6M Zero "Zeke", J2M Raiden "Jack", Ki-84 Hayate "Frank", ME262 and FW190.

The war in the Pacific and William Crowe's personal quest for revenge both come together in the final assault on Iwo Jima, the volcanic fortress-island under Japanese control.

Spellings

  • Герои воздушных битв - Russian spelling
  • 太平洋英雄 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

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Average score: 74% (based on 39 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 2 reviews)

The story of WWII according to Uncle Sam ...

The Good
Although the title hints at the Pacific, this is really the story of US involvement in the second World War. It starts with Pearl Harbour and goes most of the rest of the way. They seem to have done their research and they make good use of historical resources. The cutscenes feature historical accuracy while advancing the storyline, plus they make good use of historical footage which adds nicely to the campaign.

It has a nice arcade feel to it, which they have extended to the comic-book style of the game. Everything is instant action, so there is almost no tedious flying to and from the target area. They rack up the difficulty nicely too, so things start out slowly and gradually get harder as the story advances. While the missions are scripted, they do a nice job of surprising you with changing situational objectives due to circumstances, so the missions feel surprisingly random when you fly them.

The graphics are great, although there is not much time to appreciate them due to the swirling action that you will very quickly become enveloped in. While you are expecting trouble on the approach, this sim quickly teaches you to also expect plot twists on the exit as well. If you are interested in watching yourself fly (which is fun - especially with wingmen) there are replay options and camera angle options as well. Once you have flown a mission (successfully or not) you can replay the whole thing to watch it and evaluate your performance.

The dive-bombing and torpedo-aiming missions are particularly well-implemented. These are done in such a way that they provide a nice degree of difficulty without skimping on the real-life details. Unfortunately the same level of detail has not been applied to the armaments, but this means that you will never run out of ammunition which is probably a good thing for an arcade-style simulation. They have really done a nice job of implementing the controls for dive-bombing and torpedo-dropping. As usual, you will probably want to re-configure the controls to match your personal preferences, but at least they make this option available. While I particularly like the Force feedback (or rumble) effects in this game, they are also configurable for those who don't care for them [I liked the XBox 360 gamepad for this title; as seems to be common for this controller, you will have to install the open-source XBCD driver to enable the option of Force feedback with this title - which is not something for which you can blame the game developers]. The Force feedback configuration only extends to the strength of the effects themselves; they are very useful for detecting that you are taking hits or about to stall but you can adjust their strength to your personal preferences.

They have a slew of configuration options for those who find the game too easy or too hard, or who just want historical accuracy (or not). One really nice feature is that any of these can be changed at any time within a campaign - without having to re-fly the entire campaign. And once you have completed a mission, you can re-fly it again at any time - at any level of difficulty as well. Bonuses include historical single missions as well as unlockable aircraft - you can re-fly these missions with any of the unlocked aircraft for an additional challenge. Upgrade points can be used to add firepower or armour to any of your unlocked aircraft (which will be needed in order to complete certain missions).

As if all this wasn't enough, you can also direct your AI squad-mates to a limited extent, which can be very helpful (if you remember this option in the heat of battle). You will need to master this eventually, as some objectives only seem to be possible with good squad management.

The voice acting is pretty good, although they have not really made much of an effort to flesh out the non-English speakers - who generally don't have a great deal to say.

The Bad
All conflicts have two sides, and it would have been nice to see both (director Clint Eastwood deserves credit for this with his recent war films). This title only has an American campaign, although Japanese planes do become available as unlockables. There is no real attempt made to give the enemy any substance, although that seems to be fairly standard for arcade-style games. In a like vein, there are frequent uses of terms that are historically accurate but considered offensive by modern standards. However, the game pretty much manages to avoid the N-word (either of them) instead opting for a term that - while considered offensive - is really just an abbreviation.

It would have been nice to have been able to save after a mission sub-objective was completed. Instead you have to re-fly the entire mission which can get pretty annoying as you have to re-do all of the preliminary sub-missions. A minor gripe, but you can really start to notice this when you have been re-flying the same mission for a while.

The controls can be extremely hard to get used to; they do provide tutorial missions to get you over this (and I ended up flying some of them over and over again). On the plus side, once you get the knack of the controls, these types of missions become lots of fun (or at least rewarding rather than challenging).

This is only an arcade-style simulation; if you were looking for hugely realistic flying that required a twenty pound manual you will be disappointed. On the other hand, if you have tried that flight sim with the thick manual and found that you needed to improve your skills... well then, this sim is a good place to start. It has most of the same features that you will see on other, more realistic, flight simulations. But this one doesn't feature the same punishing level of difficulty (and is possibly a lot more fun).

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for an arcade flying sim for light entertainment, this more than fills the bill. Hard-core fans will not like it as much, but it does have an entertaining (if short) single-player campaign as well as historical missions, on-line flight, and co-op modes (I think. I only flew the single-player campaign and missions). I enjoyed this game a lot, and have been impatiently waiting for the next title in the series (Heroes over Europe) so that I can see if my dive-bombing and torpedo-dropping skills are still up to the task.

Windows · by thud (97) · 2009

Back to Bataan! Fair History, Fair Game Play

The Good
There just aren't enough WWII flight-sims anymore. That's why it was a pleasure to see a new release for the genre, especially with the setting in the Pacific. The European theater was undoubtedly interesting, but from the perspective of a gamer, flying CAP missions, torpedo bombing, dive bombing, and ground strafing in the Pacific far overshadow the run-of-the-mill escort mission that make up a large part of European theater-based WWII flight-sims.

The era and setting for a good flight-sim are set, so how does the rest of the game fare? Unfortunately, mediocrity is the key word to describe this game, but there are some interesting and well done aspects - and here they are!

The visuals are beautiful, there is no doubt about it. Nothing beats the site of a Japanese Zero blow to pieces before your mighty .50 caliber machine guns. (Historical Note: Japanese planes did, quite often, blow up when shot - their fuel tanks were not self-sealing like the Americans', so a few hot bullets and bam!). The skies and terrain are gorgeous and the detail on the plane models are well done. There is some music in the game, mostly themed. So while in some selection menu there will often be a Japanese-esque theme playing, while the actual game play has that robust American sound, complete with allot of strings and horns.

The meat of any flight-sim is, of course, the actual game play. "Heroes" does not drop the ball like many others in this genre; the developers have built a sturdy and usable flight-control system. There are two choices at the beginning of every mission: arcade controls, or realistic controls. Most will choose the arcade controls as they work best for the small PS2 game pad. Controlling the aircraft in the game should come naturally to most gamers: push the thumb stick to the left and the plane turns left.

There are many different types of missions that mix up the game play nicely. Some of the more interesting ones have you flying a B-25 bomber, or a PBY Catalina flying boat. And quite surprisingly, the AI controlled gun crews in the large bombers perform quite effectively. The diversity of combat missions is one of the few major strengths this game has.

The Bad
If I had to compare this game to a particular aircraft I'd have to choose the P-40 Warhawk. It looks cool, flies nice, and gets the job done, but when compared to the competition, there need to be some improvements. The primary failing of the game: the flight-control system. Please note, I am not contradicting myself, I did indeed state that it gets the job done, but this subject requires some further discussion. When compared to the controls of a game like "Ace Combat 4", "Heroes" falls sadly behind. It was as if the developers could not decide to make the controls completely arcade-like, or completely realistic. The developers decided on an amalgam or compromise in "Heroes", which is sad, because had the developers jumped instead of leaned to one side or the other, the controls could have been quite a delight.

What is most frustrating about this game is the difficulty in turning, rolling, and looping. The computer assisted arcade controls assist in the turning, but by doing so they restricting the latter two maneuvers. This can be quite deadly when engaged in a dog-fight. When fighting, I had to accelerate away from the fight, then rush back in and try to take the enemies head on, which usually resulted in my plane getting some damage. Which brings me to the next failing of the game, the lack of damage your plane receives when shot. The planes you'll fly are nearly indestructible on the normal difficulty setting; hell, you can even smash into other planes more than once and still survive! This is just ridiculous.

Finally, (speaking of ridiculous), the writing for this game is quite bad. When you're character, the hero of the Pacific, yells "Oh man!", you know you're in for trouble. The writing is silly.

The Bottom Line
This is not a bad game. "Heroes" does a serviceable job, (no pun intended). The game has many fun moments, but few are very standout. The visuals are nice to look at, but there is allot of bad dialogue. The controls work, but there is some frustrating limitations. There is an attempt at conveying some historical stuff to the gamer; there is actual WWII footage strewn throughout, but it isn't anything you haven't already seen on the History Channel. "Heroes" runs the straight and narrow path down the center of the grading scale. If you have grown up on games like Sierra's "Aces Over the Pacific" or even LucasArts "X-Wing" and "Tie-Fighter" games, then you'll most likely be a bit disappointed by this title. And if you have no idea what those games are, then there is a good chance you'll like this game allot.

PlayStation 2 · by D P (129) · 2006

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Game added by Justin Halliday.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Indra was here, Klaster_1, DreinIX.

Game added October 3, 2005. Last modified March 12, 2024.