Normally, I attempt to discuss games that are ridiculously more difficult than gamers would normally anticipate or titles that straddle the line between fun and stupid to the point that they usually avoid the former entirely in favor of the latter. Heavy Nova is a case of a game being stupid to the point that I sincerely hope nobody actually ever shelled out money for it and if they did, they were quick to demand a refund.
Created by Holocronet in 1991 expressly for the Sega Genesis, it put players into the shiny metal boots of a side-scrolling beat’em up robot. While this was a bit different in an era where most side-scrollers would usually have a furry animal, ninja or coverall clad plumber, robots would seem a natural choice for developers looking to mix it up. Sadly, this couldn’t have been less the case.
The graphics animations, while detailed and cool looking reduce the overall speed and quality of the game to nothing more than a steaming pile of crap. Seriously, I spent much of the week attempting to come up with a really nice way to say it, but there isn’t. Where most creators actually demonstrated some form of fucking intelligence in making a game that would be native to a 16-bit console, whoever decided the main character in Heavy Nova needed to have such detailed movements should be sent to the deepest, darkest circle of Development Hell, where they keep people who make games for pedophiles and Imagine games with wayward “Z’s” on the end.
I’m not knocking attempts at innovation, merely people who believe a product can do significantly more than it was ever designed to do. You wouldn’t jump out of an airplane with a life jacket on and expect it to fill the same role as a parachute? Probably not. But Heavy Nova allows the main character to walk with the detail you’d expect from a 32-bit game, which makes every single other aspect of the game complete and utter crap. More often than not, you’ll be sluggishly attacking long after the enemy robots have finished getting their shots in on you.
Frustratingly, you can make it to the larger boss-like robots if you just run through the levels and take your lumps, but half the fun of the journey is kicking ass all the way to your destination and Heavy Nova has absolutely no problem taking that away from the player. Oh, and if you do attack, all you can do is kick, punch or do a jump kick. I wish I was kidding.
I mean, what’s the point of having a giant ass kicking robot if you don’t have a single long-range offensive attack?
Suffice to say, this game is an absolute mess on the same scale as Hurricane Katrina and I sincerely hope someone from Holocronet was fired as a result. The game isn’t difficult because it offers a cohesive challenge that will keep determined players coming back for more. It is a contrived narrative wrapped up in gameplay that compels intelligent, skilled or any player with an IQ higher than the amount of days in the week to suicide by controller.
Maybe if there was some kind of redeeming quality to this game, I could give it a free pass and focus on its whimsy nature, but this game is just painful to play and should be avoided by all costs lest you hurl your Genesis or PC against a firm wall.
In the meantime, Heavy Nova can kiss my shiny metal ass.