Alien Abduction (H.E.R.O. 2) on Atari 2600 – The DVDfever Review

Alien Abduction Alien Abduction is out now from John Van Ryzin and Audacity Games, and it’s the long-awaited successor to 1984’s H.E.R.O. (Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation), coming 40 years after the original graced our consoles.

In fact, I didn’t realise H.E.R.O. only had a limited release at the time, but I played it so much that when I was at school, I would imagine pausing the day so I could go home and play it for an hour before returning!

That first game ran across 20 levels, and even then I don’t recall actually completing them, but then this sequel has 80!

Although, despite the large number, they’re not 100% different from each other. Some are ones you’ve come across before, but now a lot faster, meaning you’ll be working your way through them many times, like Peter Capaldi in that awful Doctor Who episode where he spent about 2 billion years trying to break through a wall. Martin Roberts would’ve dealt with that within the hour on Homes Under The Hammer!

Still, even after the first 20 levels, I’m trying to figure out how to land on my feet to stop dropping down through an unsupported floor. In theory, it’s very straight forward, as you just press down once before you land on that floor, but with so much to think about and NOT die – as well as the fact that to simply drop through the floor above, you must first press up, it feels counter-intuitive to the brain when it comes to the landing. So, that’s something I need to overcome.

John Van Ryzin Interview on ZeroPage Homebrew’s Twitch channel

But how have I got through this game’s first 20 levels so quickly? Erm… the Stella emulator has save states. Yes, full confession, the reason is NOT because I’ve suddenly become immeasurably better at videogames 😉

However, despite using these in order to save my progress after each level, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. After all, when playing the recent platformer Ziggy, that keeps a record of the levels completed by default.

This time round, for the sticks of dynamite, you come across them as the game dictates requirement, rather than placing them yourself, but the fuse is as short as my ex’s temper, so light it and be gone!

Plus, some levels will have you dropping down like the original game. Meanwhile, others will see you going from left to right, or even up, and in later ones, a combination of all of these!

Oh, and that frustration when you JUST run out of energy, a split-second before you would’ve reached the next energy pickup! D’oh! 😀

I also noticed a roguelike element in level 20, as well. Early on, there’s an opening/closing wall you have to pass by or through (depending on your preference, but working around it is easier). Sometimes, it’s glowing red, instead of unchanging purple. When it’s the former, such walls can hurt you if you bump into them.

Additionally, this sequel now uses a 128K ROM, as I understand it from the very entertainment Twitch stream interview with John Van Ryzin, from last Friday. I’ve embedded this above, and the interview starts at the 36-minute point.

Thanks to our friends at Audacity Games for the review code for this game.

Score: 10/10!

Alien Abduction is out now for Atari 2600.

Alien Abduction on Atari 2600 Playlist – Gameplay (4K UHD 60fps) – DVDfeverGames

Important info:

  • Developer: Audacity Games
  • Publisher: Audacity Games
  • Players: single-player

PC specs:
Motherboard: MSI MPG X670E CARBON WIFI AMD X670 S AM5 DDR5 PCIe 5.0 4x M.2 2.5GbE AMD EXPO™ ATX
RAM: 64GB (2x32GB) Corsair DDR5 Vengeance RGB PC5-44800 (5600Mhz)
Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX NITRO+ 24GB GDDR6 Ray-Tracing RDNA3 6144 Streams
1st Storage Drive: 2TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2 (2280) PCIe 4.0 (x4) NVMe SSD TLC V-NAND 7450MB/s Read 6900MB/s