Computer Graphics Memory Disk Space Minimum 386 VGA 640K 8 MB/(16MB w/Dblspace) Max/Rec. 486/33+ Control: Keyboard, Mouse(Required) Sound: Adlib, Sound Blaster (and compatibles), Roland MT322/MT100/LAPC1/CM32L/CM64(and other compatibles). Notes: Supports simultaneous Roland and SB. Requires that you have HIMEM.SYS or some other memory manager and DOS loaded high. Reviewed on : Intel 486DX33, 8MB RAM, Sound Blaster 2.0. Reviewer recommends : Runs fine on a 386 or 486 with 2MB RAM.
Each superhero is represented by a picture of the bust (head and torso). Sadly, there are no animations at all for our brave heroes. However, the pictures are so colorful, so unique and lively that identifying with the characters is easy. Captain Excitement, Oxide Man, Princess Glovebox, they are much more memorable and interesting then any amount of warriors or mages. Every character seems to spring to life. Still, I would have liked each picture to have some endearing animations, like Captain Excitement snoozing off or GloveBox twitching her nose etc.
There isn't much animation in the game. Mostly hand drawn still screens for each adventuring location. Party movement between locations are done on a map, which is viewed from above. Combat takes place in a separate screen, with the backdrop mirroring the location. Animations are limited exclusively to the bad guys waving their arms or appendages during combat. Weapons used during combat tends to make funny sounds, like paper tearing, arrows flying past, whips cracking etc. The sounds are played randomly, purposely not matching the weapon. The music is excellent, considering the overall simplicity of the rest of the game. There is a different piece for every type of scene. I like the piece in the SLH HQ where it seems to fit right in as a theme for cheerful yet purposeful superheroes. All the music are appropriately light and matches the overall cartoon feel. No Bach, more like Mozart with the Beetles. It took me a long while before i tire of the music. Towards the end of the game, i just turn down the volume.
The RPG aspect consists of buying/selling, movement and combat. When moving between locations, the entire party is shown as a large dot moving on a map. A bit primitive, but it works well. In a sense there is automapping, with each new explored tile revealing itself. However, to see all the territory you have covered, you will need to go back to HQ and use the maps. The villages, mansions etc. on the map and are unmarked. Fortunately they are fairly easy to make out against the barren and scarred terrain.
One big problem with this lack of any sort of markings is that later in the game, its easy to lose track of the locations. Say you want to visit a warlord. First off, where is he? The name of his mansion means nuts, cos the map is unmarked. You refer to the manual where there is marked map. Ops, but its only for the New York/Jersey area. If its not in New York/Jersey, you got to find the correct subway, but which one? After you took the subway, you still have to search the entire submap for it even if you have already explored the area before.
With the completion of every level, your party receives bonus money and members increase points. Also the maximum size of the party is increased and new superheroes come a-knocking. Superheroes has superpowers ranging from the practical (Very good at treading water) to the ludicrous (See contents of pizza boxes without opening it). Some powers are indispensable during combat, like inducing rust, while others are good only for a particular mission. Along the way, your party can buy isotopes that allow characters to gain an addition superpower. You have to balance a mix of talent and brawn to complete the game. Dun worry too much though, the game is unquestionably forgiving. After all, fun is the name of this game. If an area is too tough in combat, its probably not time yet to venture there. If the items in the hardware booth are too costly, you won't be needing it to handle the baddies just yet. The designers have really sure there is as little frustration as possible. Everything is as straightforward as can be, leaving you with more time to enjoy the wacky humour.
Combat is turn based. Depending on who surprises who, either your party or the bad guys will start first. Turn passes to the other party when all members have completed their actions. In keeping with the nature of the game, combat actions include begging or bribery. Double click on an enemy picture to obtain his/her/its info. Besides hit points, greed ratings and mercy ratings are also given. If the greed rating is high, you can choose to bribe. Superpowers are usually more effective in combat than pure brawn. This is especially true at the initial levels where your best weapons consists of a letter opener and a paddle stick. The trick is knowing which superpower for which baddie(Induce Rust against metallic monsters etc). The catch is that superpower has a higher chance of fizzling out.
Selling and Buying is nothing new. You go to booth, you buy or you sell. In an effort to save disk space, every weapon dealer is a twin to every other weapon dealer. Ditto for Hardware merchants and pawnshopkeepers. The types of weapons and hardware available boggles the mind. Imagine a train doberman or a swarm of hornets at your disposal. SLH has it all, not to mention a couple of chainsaws as well.
If there is a weakness in the game, its the last level. Its where SLH came closest to being frustrating. At least one of the items to be obtained (a tubepass) is hard to find and the player is without a clue as to where to start looking. Worse, the endgame leaves much to be desired. After doing in the bad guy, the game came short of just dumping you back to DOS. It gives your scores, then dumps you to DOS. Bumper.
The manual is adequate, mentioned here only becos the hilarious part at the back on software legal stuff.