Heatseeker Review
Heatseeker box art
System: Wii, PSP, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: IR Gurus 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Codemasters 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 1, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Things are not great when you're Downtown

by Adam Brown

June 11, 2007 - Throughout history, man has constantly dreamt of being able to fly. Over the years, many attempted to make this dream a reality and failed. Eventually, we got it right and then quickly turned this amazing achievement into an exceptionally useful weapon. The only thing that is better than soaring majestically through the heavens is blasting all of those who oppose you out of the sky. This mindset is the basic foundation for the recent Wii port of Heatseeker.

Heatseeker screenshot

Graphically, Heatseeker is a mixed bag. Much of the game clearly resembles a last-generation port but there are still some nice graphical touches throughout. The plane and ship models all look fairly good, at least from a distance. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, however, they look very jagged and unfinished. The water in Heatseeker is unmistakably lifeless and bland, looking more like a blue sheet than actual water. Still, when the game is in motion, it becomes more difficult to see these fairly obvious flaws. The sheer speed of your plane mixed with the excellent and abundant smoke and explosion effects further help you to ignore these rough edges. Another great effect in the game comes from Heatseeker's impact camera. Often throughout the game, when you are destroying an enemy with a missile, the game will enter slow motion and give you a cinematic view of their demise. The impact camera doesn't only look good, but it also makes you feel like you are really sticking it to your opponents.

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Despite being graphically underwhelming besides its few impressive effects, Heatseeker's controls are by far the game's biggest disappointment. On the website for this game, the controls for the Wii are constantly toted as making the game more fun and precise. It must have been opposite day when they posted this information. The motion-sensing controls actually hinder your experience and make this game more difficult to control. You use your Wii-mote to steer your plane by pointing it in the direction that you want it to go. If you want to turn left using the analog stick, you simply move the stick left, pressing harder to make a tighter turn. While playing on the Wii however, pointing the Wii-mote further in the direction you want to turn will make the Wii lose track of the controller's position. This results in your plane entering into an uncontrollable tailspin. If you are high enough in the air, you may be able to recover from this, but if you are flying at a lower altitude, you will likely splash down in the ocean or even crash into a mountain. This obviously becomes incredibly frustrating, especially during a difficult and hectic battle.

Heatseeker screenshot

The combat in Heatseeker is just what you would expect. The Z trigger is used to fire your plane's machine gun, and the B trigger is used to fire your missiles. For your machine gun to be effective, you actually have to accurately aim at your enemies, but with the missiles, all you have to do is basically keep your opponents in front of you to be able to get a lock on them. Since it is fairly difficult to control your plane with the Wii-mote however, you will likely use heatseeking missiles to dispatch the majority of your airborne foes. Fortunately, each plane does come equipped with a variety of missiles to choose from. Some are better for air to air combat, while others are more effective on ground based targets. Thankfully, these various missiles can also be cycled through easily using the D-pad.

Besides the large variety of missiles, there is also a plethora of planes used to deliver devastation. Heatseeker boasts over 35 different planes for you to take into the danger zone. Each one has different attributes, making plane selection vital to the success of your mission. Choosing the wrong plane for a level can make it incredibly more difficult to achieve victory. This really adds a level of complexity to the otherwise straightforward shoot, kill, and repeat gameplay. Unlocking all of these planes will also add more replayability to the game, at least if you are willing to play Heatseeker's many levels multiple times.

Heatseeker screenshot

As with most games however, if you would like to unlock these planes without all of this effort, you can just input a cheat code. Unfortunately, this game takes the most bizarre and backward approach to cheat codes that I have ever seen. I sincerely hope that this game doesn't exemplify an attempt for the Wii to have an awkward facsimile of micro-transactions. Each copy of Heatseeker comes with a unique code. You must then call a $2.99 a minute phone line, input your unique Heatseeker code, and then you will receive your desired cheat code. I honestly can't imagine who could have ever thought this was a good idea.

Screenshots / Images
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