H.E.R.O. Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation

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H.E.R.O. / El Heroe
Title image of HERO
Game No. 19
Voting 7.99 points, 75 votes
Developer John van Ryzin (Atari 2600), The Softworks (C64)
Company The Softworks
Publisher Activision, Load 'n' Run
Release 1984
Platform Apple II, Atari 800/2600, ColecoVision, C64, C128, MSX, Playstation 2, SG-1000, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Windows (2010 + 2011), Xbox 360
Genre Arcade, Platformer (Multi Screen)
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick
Media Diskette Datassette Cartridge
Language Language:english Language:spanish

Description[edit | edit source]

... an animation from the game

The hardworking miners of "Mount Leone" have been locked in the lower pits of the cave system through sudden volcanic activities.
Our hero "Roderrick Hero" now starts for the search of the missing persons with his special equipment (backpack helicopter, integrated helmet laser and dynamite).
After a successful rescue you reach the next level.

The enemies[edit | edit source]

In the pits lurk different creatures such as spiders, bats, poisonous moths or snakes. To remove the vermin, you should use the laser. At some rivers, an invincible, hungry sea monster appears that constantly follows our hero. Some walls that contain magma sediments glow red and mustn't be touched.

The dynamite[edit | edit source]

The pits spread far vertically and horizontally into the interior of the mountain. Sometimes walls, which you need to blow away with dynamite, block the way. At the beginning of every level, the player gets 6 bars of dynamite. After the ignition Rod must move away fast or else he will lose a life.

The raft[edit | edit source]

A heat resistent raft can be used at some places to cross the lava river.

The lanterns[edit | edit source]

Lanterns light the dark pits. A shot or a touch is enough and the light goes out forever.

Energy display (Power)[edit | edit source]

The energy is filled up at the start of every level. When the full energy is used up, the player loses a life and starts again at the beginning of the level without filling up the dynamite supply.

Design[edit | edit source]

  • multi-coloured 2D graphics
  • single screens, which are switched when crossing the screen frames
  • simple sound effects, but no background music
  • The number of lives is displayed by small hero icons in the lower left area. In the lower right the current number of points is shown.
  • 20 levels, after that the PRO mode starts, where 13 to 20 level are repeatet again and again

Hints[edit | edit source]

... another animation from the game


  • Start the game: F1  and then move the joystick or press fire button
  • Setable starting level: 1, 5, 9, 13 or 17 (pro) with F3 
  • Pause: Run-Stop 
  • Restart of the game with Run-Stop +Restore 

Controls on the ground

  • Joystick left/right = walking left/right
  • Joystick upwards = go upwards
  • Joystick downwards = ignite dynamite bar
  • Fire button = laser beam in direction of sight

Controls in the air

  • Joystick left/right = flying movement left/right
  • Joystick in resting position = go downwards
  • Joystick upwards (short) = hover
  • Joystick upwards (long) = hover, then go upwards
  • Fire button = laser beam in direction of sight

Lives[edit | edit source]

  • you start with 4 lives
  • every 20.000 points there is an extra life
  • as a maximum 7 lives can be reached

Table of points[edit | edit source]

50 shooting a cave animal
50 for every dynamite bar that is left at the end of the level
75 removing a wall
1000 rescue a miner
energy left after the rescue
  • At 1.000.000 the points jump to "!!!!!!!!!!!!". No further score is recorded, even if you run out of lives and start a new game.

There are at least 3 different disk versions/releases of this game:

One starts you off in a Level 1 with a yellow background, and the (probably) newer version starts you in Level 1 that is two-tone orange/brown.

Some sounds can be different between the two, especially the bonus counting at the end of the levels.

The cartridge release seems to contain the last version (orange/brown Level 1).

Solution[edit | edit source]

  • If you run the risk of running into a glowing wall after igniting a dynamite bar, you can use the laser to evaporate the wall. This method is safer, but also more time consuming (about 10 seconds).

Cheats[edit | edit source]

  • For training you best use the version by the cracker group Remember. Here several training modes are available (unlimited lives, unlimited dynamite, unlinimited energy, level jumps, and more).

POKE 14652,25

  • Versions without trainer can be modified with the following POKEs:
Unlimited lives, 1st version: POKE 39687,0 : SYS 7488
Unlimited lives, 2nd version: POKE 13865,0 : SYS 7488
Unlimited lives, 3rd version: POKE 19310,0 : SYS 7488
Walk through enemies: POKE 39580,169 POKE 39581,0 : SYS 7488
Set number of lives (x): POKE 37318,x*2 : SYS 7488
Set number of lives (x) in Demo: POKE 39664,x*2 : SYS 7488
Set number of lives when starting the game (x): POKE 33087,x*2 : SYS 7488
No enemies, 1st version: POKE 14652,55 : SYS 7488
No enemies, 2nd version: POKE 14652,25 : SYS 7488
Cheat mode: POKE 12601,25

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
7.99 points at 75 votes (rank 104).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 7 23rd June 2007 - "very good" 13628 downs
Lemon64 8,3 23rd June 2007 - 146 votes
Gamebase64 10 May 2005 - "Classic!"
Rombachs C64-Spieleführer 7 1984 - "Mark 3"
Kultboy.com 8,67 23rd June 2007 - 9 votes

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Sledgie: "Nice Arcade – Game. It is easy to learn and lots of fun."

Guybrush: "Not outstanding but okay."

Rombachs C64-Spieleführer: "Despite the honourable mission, an initial motivation is quickly reduced (Vote 3 - September 1984)"

Rockford: "A very good game of skill, as Sledgie already mentioned: easy to learn, but very hard to master. In any way, my motivation doesn't decrease, even after 20 years, maybe after a perfect round, but who can claim he ever had one? Every death is only the fault of the player, this is very fair. A nice idea is the effect in a dark room, when a dynamite bar is lit up. I love this game, I am welcome to give it 8 points."

TheKills: "Interesting game, even though it is a bit hard at some points. For me it belongs into a good collection."

Shakermaker303: "This is a classic for me personally. I can remember that one also liked to play that on the ATARI 800XL, but I liked the conversion in the C64 more. 10 out of 10 points - I need a H.E.R.O.!"

The Heist: "Also one of my faves. When you have started, you cannot stop that soon. Nice are also the rising levels of difficulty, that offer enough occasion to improve the technics. I still have the exact reverberant sound in the ears, when you accidentally crashed into a bird. It was also nice, when you could blow up something and the the whole cave world was alight. Despite the mentioned rising of the difficulty the game can be made, which was not the case with every game (some games just start at the beginnung and only get a bit faster or get more enemies). We thought about the resuced guy anything between funny and stupid, always lifting his hand when the Hero came to him. Hero surely belongs to the most important C64 games of the early time."

Shmendric: "Simple game principle which can get quite addictive! I've spent ours with it. 10 points, no doubt."

Blubarju: "H.E.R.O. was and still is one of my absolute favourite games. Here (alomst) everything is right: graphics, controls and a moderate grade of difficulty. It could only have a bit more sound. But the way it is now, it is already super. 9 points."

Bamse: "This belongs for me to the absolute "basic"-classics. Simple game principle that absorbs one for a long time. No sign of "fast reducing motivation"! On the contrary: the one who knows the first levels by heart will try to fly through them faster and faster. Very soon the end of the level is not the aim, but the time needed. H.E.R.O. veterans (like me) can straightaway fly through the first levels blindfolded even after 20 years..."

Farador: "I received the game for the Atari 2600 as a gift in those days, by far one of the best games for this console. I hadn't played it that intensely on the C64 any longer, similar to Pitfall 2, as in 1985 there were far better games. Nontheless an absolute classic -> 10/10 points."

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Cover[edit | edit source]

Cover of HERO

Video[edit | edit source]

Video longplay by Werner

Video longplay by Monty Mole

Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of Rockford
  1. Rockford - >1.000.000 (30.05.2008)
  2. Werner - 482.196 (25.05.2008)
  3. Tayo - 273.962 (07.03.2004)
  4. Vitus - 213.419 (12.09.2013)
  5. Blubarju - 130.435 (18.02.2010)
  6. Radi1975 - 115.571 (04.08.2017)
  7. Sheep64 - 105.485 (09.11.2006)
  8. FXXS - 93.070 (09.11.2006)
  9. Ivanpaduano - 90.074 - 13 (15.05.2019)
  10. Keule - 63.151 (12.11.2012)
  11. Broch - 60.226 (14.01.2012)
  12. Macrobee - 49.938 (22.12.2005)

#2 Werner #3 Tayo
#2 Werner #3 Tayo

Highscore (without extra lives)[edit | edit source]

Rule: Here the special Competition Version by tnt/beyondforce is used, where you receive no extra lives (8-digit score display).

Topscore of Werner
  1. Werner - 230.178 (09.06.2008)
  2. Rockford - 201.820 (31.05.2008)
  3. Nobody - 0 (dd.mm.yyyy)

#2 Rockford #3 Nobody
#2 Rockford #3 Nobody

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: H.E.R.O.