Review: Heavy Fire: Special Operations (WiiWare)

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-buyer's remorse

There’s certainly no lack of lightgun games on Wii; in fact, one of the more vocal complaints about Wii shooters is that too many of them are on-rails. It’s a silly thing to complain about given the dearth of them in previous console generations and the relatively high quality of the Wii’s catalogue, and a great one can be an awesome source of heated, ridiculous fun.

Teyon’s WiiWare effort Heavy Fire: Special Operations, however, is not one of the greats. By the second stage, everything about it feels half-baked, but it does make a great first impression.

Taking place during a fictional conflict in Somalia, you play as a soldier in a unit sent in to shoot every person ever. It looks reasonable for WiiWare – albeit a bit muddied and generic video game Middle Eastern – and runs at a solid framerate with smooth cursor movement, and starting off with commandeering a mobile turret leads you to think that Heavy Fire ain’t so bad in that penny arcade sense. Then you trade the turret for a pistol (with a 30-bullet clip; that’s one hell of a pistol) and start running around the city; the pistol shot sounds tinny, unimpressive, but hey, it’s supposed to be the weakest gun in the game, right? So you continue shooting more dudes that pop up or audaciously sprint across your field of view for no apparent reason other than man, these guys just can’t wait to die.

By the end of the first stage, your combos, accuracy, time and level destruction boost your score, which in turn unlocks new guns for you as you go through the half-hour game. Next is an automatic weapon with a bigger clip. It sounds like a plastic toy; there’s no sense of power behind it. All six sound like plastic toys. Oh well. Back to shooting. Shooting shooting shooting.

Sometimes enemies even shoot back. Sometimes! Actually, they are always shooting back, but they are terrible shots. An exclamation point plinks up above an enemy’s head to warn you that they’re getting closer to hitting you and that maybe you should focus on them for a spell, but in reality it doesn’t seem to matter much as they pose just as much of a threat as those who are shooting because it’s apparently the cool thing to do. The few enemies that managed to hit us didn’t actually have an exclamation mark over their head, throwing the whole warning system into question.

Even reloading is handled in an odd manner. It’s awkward at first, requiring a shake of the Remote instead of shooting off-screen like an arcade-style on-rails game, but you get used to it. Later weapons allow you to reload by tapping the A button, which makes the shake feel like more of a needless handicap than anything else.

Would you like to save and resume from a stage later? Sorry, you can’t, back of the bus. Want to do a pistol-only run? Sorry, you have to use the newest weapon you unlocked. How about grenades or something? Sorry, all out. Would you like an online leaderboard? Write down the code you get after completing the game and enter it on Heavy Fire’s website. Want your money back? Sorry, no refunds or trade-ins for WiiWare.

Conclusion

Not even the 500-Point price tag can justify a purchase of the mindless Heavy Fire, because for a whopping double that you can get a miles better retail game like Ghost Squad or House of the Dead: Overkill. If you’ve already exhausted Wii’s rail shooter library, you’re better off deleting your save files and starting anew than playing Heavy Fire.