I AM THE HERO
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on December 6, 2018
What would be the result of a union of Double Dragon and Street Fighter? Well, it had to be a game with fast and fluid fighting gameplay, massive combos, a cool backstory, awesome pixel art and loads and loads of enemies for you to beat into a bloody pixilated pulp... Now, this may seem an unlikely offspring of two great games, but it is exactly what the developers at Crazyant created back in 2017...
The original version was made for PC but now, through the magic of porting, courtesy of our friends at Ratalaika Games, we can finally play this game on our PS4, PS Vita or Nintendo Switch. So grab a friend, grab a controller and start bashing skulls like there is no tomorrow! Experience what it feels like to be able to use fast and furious combos, best known from AAA one-on-one fighting games in a 2D 16-bit platform setting. Now, if that doesn't sound like an awesome thing to be doing, then I don't know what is!
I am the Hero tells the tale of a nameless protagonist who, we are told, is a hero with a mysterious past or, as is actually the case, a mysterious present as well. You see, our protagonist always wakes up in a different place and time, which only adds to the mystery. Although our hero is, in his own mind at least, the most outstanding and glorious champion of innocent people, there is also something shady going on. As we start, we actually know very little about the hero's past, so we'll have to unravel the mystery of his shrouded past as we go along.
Gameplay-wise, I am the Hero is exactly like I described in the introduction of this review; a Double Dragon type game with attacks that wouldn't have been out of place in a Street Fighter game. It represents, as far as I'm concerned, the best of both worlds. You've got the speed and awesome attacks from the latter and the rolling scenery from the former, which is a win-win situation in my book! The 16-bit pixel art gives the game the look and feel of the games of yore, as does the soundtrack. This makes the game perfect for those among us that just love the aesthetic of old games, but cannot abide the wonky controls they often came with.
While playing, I could not help but wonder if the art people at CrazyAnt are also fans of games like Day of the Tentacle, because I thought I saw a few facial expressions on various NPC's that instantly put me in mind of my time spent with Hoagie, Laverne and Bernard on their quest to stop Purple Tentacle from taking over the world. So, although I am the Hero is a love letter to old beat 'm up games, it is also filled with little nods to other cool games of the same era. After you finish the story campaign (or, basically, whenever you don't feel like playing the campaign), the fun doesn't end! Why not try your hand at the Workshop Fight mode? This additional game mode pits you against waves of enemies to see how long you can survive.
Of course, no game that is partially inspired by the old beat 'm up games can do without a decent co-op mode. Lucky for us, I am the Hero has just that, both local or online! Just grab a second controller and an additional hero is added to the mix, which means you can start working together. Besides the fact that this makes the game somewhat easier, because there are now two against the never-ending onslaught of enemies, it also adds a little more spice to the mix. You see, because of the fast and fluid nature of the combo attacks at your disposal, you can also work together to defeat a enemy by taking over from each other. The first player starts bashing an enemy and the second player can take over and finish him off, if you wanted to.
I can't actually recall playing a beat 'm up in recent years that felt so good! I can only say that I had tons of fun playing I am the Hero and am pretty sure a lot of people out there will feel the same if they tried it! If you're a fan op beat 'm up games, this title is definitely one to try. The developers state that they made the game out of love for the games from their childhood and that really shows! A lot of love and attention to detail have gone into the creation of I am the Hero and this is exactly what makes the game so much fun. As far as modern beat 'm ups go, I am the Hero is a hard one to beat (especially because it hits back.) It is a really fun game that is just pure awesomeness from its pixilated face to its bloodied and bruised knuckles!