American Hero (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 29.11.2021

Review for American Hero on Nintendo Switch

Once upon a time FMV-based interactive story games where all the rage… only they weren't. Yes, young gamer, don't believe everything you read online. Interactive story games, and especially those released in the '90s, were at best cult pieces of history, and nothing more than that. The reason? First of all, they were even less interactive than visual novels, and choose-your-own-adventure games. Secondly they sucked in terms of writing and audio-visuals, and sucked big time. Long story short, is there a point in restoring an unfinished FMV project like American Hero, which was once supposed to an upcoming release for the Atari Jaguar? Well, for the sake of historical preservation... not really.

Okay, one thing should be made clear before everything else. The one writing this loves '90s taste of corn and cheese. He can't get enough of B-movies and games that are "so bad it's good," so the news of a corny action flick in the form of a FMV game were more than welcome, especially since said game wasn't a modern attempt of capturing the "charm" of that part of the industry, but something straight from the source. As is mentioned in the intro, American Hero comes from a specific time of history, and is an obvious product of its time. In other words, one should be aware that it's full of sexism, homophobia, crude humour, and an overall lack of sensitivity. Well, it would actually be great if this was as offensive as one would fear it to be, because this way it could be memorable in some way. In reality, however, this is stupendously bland.

Screenshot for American Hero on Nintendo Switch

This is just the story of Male Hero and Romantic Interest, who must foil the plans of Evil Nazi Scientist, who wants to rule the Los Angeles via the use of a virus. That's it. There's nothing more to it. Nothing that stands out. The men are all mindless goons, the Evil Nazi Scientist is the stereotypical laughing villain, the Romantic Interest is a short skirted scientist that acts like women do in Tinto Brass films, and the Male Hero is… err, Jack. Plain, boring Jack. For goodness sake, why not Jack Hooter or something?! In other words, this won't give you your B-movie fix. Want some of that? Try out something obscure like Riana Rouge, or go straight to "classics" like Night Trap or Plumbers don't Wear Ties. Even better? Just watch the ultimate bad movie masterpiece, Samurai Cop.

Gameplay-wise it's what one could expect from an FMV interactive story. A scene plays out, and at specific intervals players are given a binary choice: 'Left' or 'Right' when trying to escape the lair or the Evil Nazi Scientist, 'Fight' or 'Run,' when confronted with a bad guy, 'Stay' or 'Leave' when given the choice between going to the final area of the game in order to win the game… or going straight to the local strip club you started your mission at, stare at some censorship bars, drink some carrot juice, and just watch the credits. It's simple, and, to be perfectly honest, not that entertaining, despite the existence of a surprising variety of different branches.

Screenshot for American Hero on Nintendo Switch

Most deviations from the main path usually offer a slightly different scene, like when the Romantic Interest seduces some scientists (Heavy Cringe Warning), rather than letting Jack handle the situation via the use of an axe. There's a somewhat neat mechanic here, called 'Fight or Flight,' which basically alters Jack's personality via player choice, something that opens up different paths depending on whether he is in an aggressive mood or not. It's not something that increases the fun factor that much, but it's nice that it's there. The real question, of course, is this: is there a reason to replay this and try out different outcomes? Well, since there's nothing to like here, the answer is an obvious 'No.' In fact, you'll barely find the courage to complete it the first time.

Screenshot for American Hero on Nintendo Switch

Occasionally, failure will occur. You can safely return to a previous checkpoint, of course, and pick a different choice, with the only downside being the fact that you need to re-watch a scene - when the whole thing is so boring, however, this downside is far from a minor one. Thankfully, most scenes are one minute-long, but there are a few moments where death will go way, way back, forcing you to re-watch more than five minutes of painful blandness. Can you imagine going back to the very beginning and trying out different paths, just for the sake of completionism? Well, at least you can pretty much do everything in an evening.

The main criticism towards American Hero, however, remains the one pointed earlier. It just isn't as corny as it is supposed to be. If anything its taste is mild, and as such it never really becomes "so bad that it's good." On the other hand, this is less an entertaining piece of software, and more a relic from the past, which has been cleaned and polished. It belongs in a museum. Somewhere where you can take a look at it, before going to the next ancient piece of history in line. It doesn't belong in your library. There's no need to purchase it. Avoid.

Screenshot for American Hero on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

FMV games were never that great to begin with, so there was never much hope for American Hero, especially since it was actually an unfinished project. Even worse, the joy in low-budget movies (interactive or not) is their unintentional comedic side, and frankly, this doesn't have much cheese. Pick any bad action flick from the '90s you want (start with the filmography of Jean-Claude Van Damme), and it will be much funnier and corny. This is extremely forgettable, and it only has value as a piece of history that would otherwise be lost to the black void of abandoned video games.

Developer

Empty Clip Studios

Publisher

Ziggurat

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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