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Hero - Official game guide

Introduction - Basics - Enemies - Maps - Secrets - Trivia


I first made this game in Klik'n'Play in 2004, and it required quite a bit of work to pull off with such a limited tool. It took about one to three months to make. Each screen was actally a big sprite with pixel-perfect collision overlaying the game window, and the enemies' positions were entered manually into Klik'n'Play's event editor. Once I started learning Game Maker in 2005, I remade Hero in one week with improved gameplay and more enemies.

Character names
As stated in the game's help file, Flip Hero was my superhero dream as a child. His nemesis was Cruiser Tetron, whose name comes from the English translation of the second boss in Lifeforce Salamander of the Gradius series. (The Japanese name was "Tetran", and the manual accidentally switched the names of the second and third boss.) The sound effects were also taken from that game.

When I made the music for Hero in 2004, it was the first and last time I composed in MIDI. It sounds terrible on most sound cards. I moved from MIDI to MOD and MP3 in later games, which are both much higher-quality formats.

The save system in Hero is the simplest possible. Each level has a number associated with it, and the savefile simply stores this number so it works like a password. The reason the savefile is hard to "crack" is because you need to find the right number for each level.

Alternate hidden room
In the early days of Hero's creation, the hidden room was located in Level 1. It was accessible by going through a wall in the middle left room on the map.

Not so picky
Although the game at first appears to run in a 160*160 resolution scaled to a 2x size, it's easy to notice that it really is made in 320*320 with 2x scaled sprites. I rectified this in Hero Core, which also uses 2x scaled sprites but draws everything rounded to the nearest even pixel.

Seems familiar
The concept of firing left and right with two buttons was inspired by Section Z, which also contributed the idea of Generators and Barriers. Traversing a dark world without a map was mainly inspired by Metroid. Tetron's entire throne room disappearing before he starts to move is an imitation of Lifeforce, where bosses were usually made out of background tiles, so they had to disappear before the boss starts moving.

Hiding a secret
The hidden room in Level 5 was kind of an afterthought, and there was originally no way of guessing it was there. When I included the developer maps as bonus material, one could find it through a blinking dot at the top of the map. A game's best-kept secret must have at least one unmistakable clue to find it, but making the clue small enough to go unnoticed by most people yet still be picked up by others is a hard thing to do. In my later games the player may discover entire levels, enemies and messages they never thought existed. A dilemma appears here; how much time should I spend on secret content that only a few players will ever see? Since these are my hobby games, the answer is "as long as I want". To me, letting the player discover things on their own is one of the best parts of game making.