If I know you, you're just sick and tired of reading all these professional reviews of boring,relevant games that come out practically every day. You ask yourself, where are the reviews I care about? Well rest easy friends, because I'm here to help. More importantly, Renegade's Random Review Theater is here to help.
Today's game is an important, genre defining experience that has flown completely under the radar. Oh, did I mention it's an airplane game? Because that's important for that joke to work. It's a game that steers clear of the Danger Zone and instead flies straight into the Twilight Zone, a game that, you might say, is on bingo fuel.
Today, I'll be reviewing the underdog Wii game known as Hyper Fighters.
To get a basic idea of what Hyper Fighters is, just imagine Afterburner mixed with Sin & Punishment or Star Fox and then stick it in the microwave for three hours until the whole thing is a giant, bubbling mess and cover it in cheese. If you thought most air combat games were just too exciting, then Hyper Fighters is the game for you.
Let's begin with the game's gleefully terrible story. You are a pilot, named John X, who flies one of three airplanes known cleverly as Hyper Fighter X, Hyper Fighter XX and Hyper Fighter XXX. After visiting a local pub with his brother, Jake X returned from the restroom to find his brother John X abducted by their sworn enemies, The Company. Since Jake X is the only remaining person in the world who can fly the only planes left in the world, it's up to him to stop The Company from an unknown plotline and save his brother.
I can't make this shit up.
Once you pick one of the three planes, which are balanced for speed, firepower or rounded for both, you jump into one of several missions prefaced by wonderfully awful briefings such as "Our scouts detect weapons being transported through this area, this could lead to trouble." You are then thrust into the mission with no further explanation as to how you got there, and why exactly you're following orders from an unknown, presumably government entity while on a revenge quest in a plane owned by your brother.
The controls in Hyper Fighters share more in common with a first person shooter; despite the fact that you're flying an aircraft you move with the nunchuck stick and fire by pointing at the screen and pressing the B button using a nose mounted machine gun that can mysteriously shoot in any conceivable angle. While you are free to move the plane and do a barrel roll, you are restricted by forced camera angles as to how far you can move.
Enemies, however, have no such restriction, and will happily fire at you while they are off screen meaning, a) You can't shoot them back and b) You can't see the projectiles to dodge them. But at least the planes go down easily, one hit will usually bring them down, and you have a stock of homing missiles which you can replenish while flying for a point deduction. This is all assuming you can tell the difference between an enemy, projectile and the scenery, since they all look suspiciously similar to piles of dirt.
At the end of each stage you'll get to fight a boss, which is usually some kind of impractical flying fortress that apparently sapped The Company's budget because their regular fighters are clearly made of cardboard and thumbtacks. These bosses require intricate strategies to defeat such as dodging constantly and firing missiles, with an occasional burst of your machine gun that, by the way, overheats in about 10 seconds.
Once defeated, you'll watch the flying whatever explode, and then it's off to your next seemingly random location to do it all over again. This would sound a lot more tedious if each level weren't only a few minutes long, which is almost like the game admitting how little effort was put into it.
The graphics on display here are actually pretty great for a Dreamcast launch title. In fact, everything here is pretty good for a Dreamcast launch title. Unfortunately, this game wouldn't play in my Dreamcast, so I had to use my Wii where everything becomes much less impressive. Textures look like mud, the airplanes all have an odd shine to them until they become damaged and smoke (which conveniently, also looks like mud) obscures everything. Scenery, while looking slightly less like mud, isn't helped by the fact that most stages take place in areas dominated by mud and water.
Sound plays an important part here as well, with stock sound effects and music that could have easily been pulled from Flashkit.com. While it isn't unbearable, I found the experience to be more accurate and authentic by muting the TV and making woosh and explosion sounds with my mouth, occasionally throwing in some pew's for good measure. This method also allows you to blare 'Danger Zone' in the background, thus making the entirety of the game much more compelling.
I'd like to say it's hard to hate on Hyper Fighters. It's a small game made by a small group of people who were frankly lucky to have any publisher release their game on anything, let alone a major console. I'm not sure how exactly they pitched this to ZOO, but I have a feeling that none of it was accurate. If playing this game is equivalent to sitting in a cockpit of an airplane, then I'd be grasping at the eject handle desperately, except it doesn't work.
There is one guy in the credits who's name is repeated about 10 times or more throughout the course of the credits, not because he's egotistical, but because he literally was the 'head' everything. From graphics to sound to marketing, it's the same exact handful of people that would have been easier to include under the header of 'everything.' But if these guys were actual pilots, there's a good chance they would have been shot down by their own wingmen.
But underneath this travesty of a game is the simple joy of laughing at something so abysmally lazy, boring and cheesily uninspired, that it almost threatens to be entertaining. Had it any redeeming qualities beyond that, it would threaten to be a collector's item too, eBay had only a handful on sale and no Gamestop in my state had a single copy. Even Counter Force couldn't say that.
You can find Hyper Fighters and other quality titles in a participating Target used game section.view gallery