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Video Game / Hero Core

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Hero Core is a Metroidvania Shoot 'em Up game by Daniel Remar, the creator of Iji. It uses old-school black and white graphics and 8-bit music to relate the never-ending war between Flip Hero and the Warmachine Cruiser Tetron. Though quite hard, it's a high-quality game with numerous bosses and endings.

Hero Core is also the sequel to an earlier game called Hero, also by Daniel Remar.

Hero Core contains examples of:

  • One Bullet at a Time: There is a limit of six (non-Expel) bullets at a time.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted with The Annihilator, which refers to two similar yet completely separate saurian boss-like enemies. The Annihilators in this game are flying cyborgs with a visible tail as its secondary weakpoint, while The Annihilators from Iji are Power Armor that look like tailless robot T-rexes.
  • Ambushing Enemy: The Eversion-like hands suddenly coming out of walls in Hero Forever. They don't damage you, but "just" copy\ your flags (that's bad already, though, since collecting flags is the point of Hero Forever) and will really creep you out the first time you encounter them.
    • One of them even takes you to an easter egg in Annihilation mode.
  • Arch-Enemy: Flip Hero and Cruiser Tetron.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Almost every boss has these little circular bubbles for weak points. You quickly get used to spotting and destroying them. If you can't see any, shoot its head. Only a very few bosses subvert this pattern, and those are all about your size. The Annihilator has a second. If you can't hit the head because it's facing away from you, shoot for the tail!
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  • Attack Reflector: The Blade. Apart from cutting through dirt and metal, it allows you to reflect some of the enemies' shots. The reflected shots don't hit the enemies, but the Blade itself inflicts damage.
  • Big Bad: Cruiser Tetron is the Warmachine that wants to destroy the Earth. Obtaining all computers reveals that the reason why Tetron tries to destroy Earth is because he thinks the war still exists due to his programming.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The threat of Cruiser Tetron is ended forever, but Flip Hero is dead as well.
    • Doubly so since the question of whether Cruiser Tetron created Flip Hero to try and kill himself for good or Flip Hero was one of his machines who turned rogue is never answered directly. If it's the former, then the ending is bittersweet for both Flip Hero and Tetron!
  • Bonus Boss: The Living Warmachine. (As well as Zero, the level 0 specialist).
  • Bonus Dungeon: Annihilation mode takes place in a completely different base, and it's unlocked after beating either Normal mode or Hard mode.
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  • Bootstrapped Theme: "Annihilator Factory", "Tetron", and to a lesser extent, "Light Factory".
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Annihilators take a ton of hits to kill, and spam absurd quantities of bullets.
    • Warp Eidolons make creatures while floating around and spamming lasers.
    • Nodes on hard difficulty, spamming lasers as well, being surrounded by orbiting spheres and quite tough.
  • Boss Rush: With hard-style bosses, as a bonus feature. As of 1.2, a version with (slightly powered-up) normal-mode bosses is possible as well.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Annihilation, which needs to be completed without upgrades or extra levels.
  • Bullet Hell:
    • Hard mode has elements of this. You can do this as well to a limited extent if you find the Expel ability. Just make sure to keep an eye on your health.
    • Though the Plasma Hydra boss fight has shades of this, it becomes ridiculous in Hard mode.
    • Annihilation's final boss fight.
    • reallyjoel's dad.
  • Canon Welding: Annihilation mode will seem familiar to fans of Daniel Remar's other big game.
    • Subverted; the fact that Annihilation takes place on the Ciretako looks like it's supposed to make Hero Core canon to Iji, but in his official guide, Daniel states that Annihilation mode isn't canon and he just did it to get people wondering about it.
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Flip Hero.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • The Expel ability. Applies to the Elite bosses, too. If they try to expel with one hit point, they can't — they only get a question mark over their heads.
    • The ultimate weapon of the Bonus Boss is also this. Because it's the Massacre, a weapon from Iji that also uses up health in that game.
  • Chest Blaster: The Guardian has a laser and something which obviously is a MPFB Devastator built into its torso.
  • Collision Damage: Flip Hero suffers from this. So do the Elites.
  • Combos: How Expel is triggered. ↑↓←→ then either fire key.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Rocksmasher, Liquid Metal Processor, Grand Mother, and Star Splitter.
  • Cowardly Boss: The Eliminator/Hunter-Killer leaves the area after a couple minutes have passed or Flip Hero moves to a different area. However, once Flip Hero reaches level 9, the Eliminator won't leave without a fight to the death.
  • Destructible Projectiles: Homing missiles can be destroyed with either the gun or the blade. In fact, homing missiles can be guided to hit walls.
  • Determinator:
    • Cruiser Tetron could be this. His last stage involves him being barely able to fight, and only able to lift his gun briefly, but he's still shooting.
    • The normal ending reveals that Flip Hero hunts down Tetron again and again to protect Earth, even though Tetron is rebuilt every time he's defeated — unless Flip Hero finds the way to finally destroy him and his forces.
    • Anyone who has completed Hard or Annihilation difficulties without cheating.
  • Developers' Foresight: Remar had programmed in ranks pertaining to finishing Boss Rush in less than 4 minutes ( called "Seriously") and in less than 3 minutes (called "Reallyjoel's Dad"). These ranks are supposed to normally be impossible to obtain... but at least one player managed genuinely to get the rank of Reallyjoel's Dad, even if only via cheating.
  • Door to Before: When a destroyed Generator lowers a nearby Barrier, it will occasionally create a shortcut to a previous room.
  • Dual Boss: The Elites. Also a Mirror Boss.
  • Easter Egg: Oh so many. The Best Times room, Expel, Shapeshift, the Zero Specialist, reallyjoel's dad mode, Trollis' grave...
  • Elite Mook: The Elites and the Hunter-Killer are powered-up versions of lesser enemies. They offer a clue, and the ending reveals, that Flip Hero himself is one.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • The Reaper Drone takes this to its logical extreme.
    • The Grand Mother is this on multiple levels — it spawns Mothers, which are themselves Mook Makers. The Guardian also has statues at the top of his room that come to life after you damage him enough, and the Liquid Metal Processor is a more standard example. Seems like Daniel really likes this trope.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One boss fight sets you against near-perfect copies of your character. This plays a part in the Good Ending.
    • The hidden mode is called Annihilation for a reason...
  • Forever War: Tetron outlasted the war his creators built him for, and his directives concerning said conflict were never repealed, forcing him to engage in a war that ultimately persisted beyond the fall of his parent Empire.
  • Genre Throwback: To late-70s and early-80s video games.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss:
  • Harder Than Hard: Annihilation (although it's easier than hard mode, really). Parodied with Reallyjoel's Dad mode.
    • The game has a "Threat Level" that goes from 1 to 10 as you work your way towards the final boss. Annihilation Mode has Threat Level 15. Reallyjoel's Dad Mode has Threat Level 255.
  • He Was Right There All Along: The Rock Smasher remains idle until you enter it's hull.
  • Health/Damage Asymmetry: Not actually in means of damage, but in means of fire rate and intelligence. Bosses — with the elites (128 HP each) as the most striking example since Flip Hero is otherwise identical with them — have health ranging from 50 or so to some hundreds of hitpoints, while Flip Hero has only 10-20.
  • Here We Go Again!: In the normal ending.
  • The Hero: It's right there in the name! Flip Hero fights Tetron and his army to save Earth, even if it costs him his life.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the good ending, Flip Hero dies from the collapsing fortress after destroying Tetron and his army for good.
  • Hit Point: Flip Hero initially starts with 10, but each level increases his hit points by 1. Every enemy and boss has a set amount of health that is only visible with the HP Scan, which is unlocked after beating Annihilation mode.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Guardian boss. Also Cruiser Tetron and the Annihilators.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Cruiser Tetron is eternally locked in the cycle of dying at the hands of Flip Hero and being rebuilt and trying to destroy earth again. Killing him is the only way to end this, though it's questionable whether or not Tetron himself is a big fan of dying.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: One of the game's three language settings is "Retro!". When selected, it will display all messages and dialogue in humorously-broken English.
    This upgrade has increase my "level" 1. Remember eat vegetables also to grow strong.
  • Interface Spoiler: Various question mark items in the menu.
  • Internal Homage: Remember Iji? Annihilation difficulty gives you a first-hand view of Ciretako!
    • Iji itself contained an homage to Hero, the game to which Hero Core is a sequel.
    • Cruiser Tetron's second phase duplicates his attack pattern from the original Hero.
  • King Mook: The Reaper Drone and Grand Mother.
  • Lava Pit: Averted. Lava (molten metal) can be flown through freely and only serves to shut down your weapon for a period of time.
  • Level Drain: To avert this, Flip Hero didn't gain any levels and equipment upgrades before fighting his way through Tetron's asteroid. Which is why Annihilation is a Minimalist Run and Low-Level Run...
  • Luck-Based Mission: The behavior and fire patterns of several enemies is random. For instance, fighting the Guardian or an Annihilator-with-mook on hard mode is a lot easier if you get lucky with their movement.
  • Mascot Mook: The Drone.
  • Mercy Kill: The final fight against Cruiser Tetron is implied to be one of these, as you free him from the endless cycle of hate that he's locked in. It's really driven home by the final form, where Tetron is unable to even stand, limited to lying prone in the corner and feebly trying to hold up his arm to shoot you.
  • Metroidvania: It's a blend of this and Shoot 'em Up. Also a slightly unusual example, as none of the upgrades are required to reach the final boss, though getting there without the item received for killing your first boss requires using a secret move.
  • Minimalist Run: See Metroidvania above. Furthermore, a Bonus Boss is only accessible on one of these. Annihilation mode is also this. You don't get any upgrades from bosses, and it's much more linear.
  • Mistaken for Granite: Guardian's room contains some statues of standard enemy machines you fought many times. Appearing to be decorations, they're actually idle machines that aid the boss once he takes enough damage.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Spawners, which were the only Mook Makers in the original Hero.
    • Mothers are archetypal for this; however, other foes note  have this habit, even if they only create Mooks as a side effect of, for example, firing their Wave-Motion Gun. One boss even spawns Mothers, making it a Flunky Boss on multiple levels.
    • Tetron is this in the back story.
  • Multiple Endings: There are at least two endings to the game. Beating the game with all computers used gets you the best ending.
  • Nintendo Hard: Normal mode is fairly easy, but Hard is brutal. Annihilation is worse, thanks to the lack of upgrades.
  • Non-Lethal K.O./Death Is Cheap: For Flip Hero, who has a built-in restoration unit. Also for Tetron, except in the good ending.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Plasma Hydra is a three headed robot dragon with one Hell of a Hydra Problem. When enough damage is taken in Normal Mode, a new head takes the destroyed head's place. In Hard Mode however, it grows two new heads for each destroyed head, and grows a third powerful head after the previous heads are destroyed.
  • Rank Inflation: In the boss rush, there are five ranks above A: "Hero", "Lord of Game", "You can stop now", "Seriously", and "reallyjoel's dad". The last few aren't intended to be achievable, but Daniel Remar put them in based on the ridiculous performance of certain Sacred Grounds runs.
  • Recurring Boss: You have to destroy several Generators to progress, just like in the first. Also, the Eliminator/Hunter-Killer, who attacks many times until you are powerful enough to beat him.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Thanks to his restoration unit, Flip Hero always comes back good as new after death. Sadly, this does not apply to the True Ending where he permanently dies after killing Tetron and his forces for good. The same is also said for Cruiser Tetron and his army in the Normal Ending, except for the True Ending.
  • Retraux: Up to two colors simultaneously! The sound effects and music are chip-tune too.
  • Robotic Reveal/And Then John Was a Zombie: In the good ending, although this probably wasn't a secret to the characters.
  • Segmented Serpent: The Chain Snakes are mechanical snakes whose bodies are made of lined-up balls. While their main attack is to simply chase Flip Hero, the stronger variants called Dire Vipers leave explosive mines that explode into more bullets.
  • Sequence Breaking: You can bypass most of the game and get to the final boss with Expelling.
    • Marathon Boss: Fittingly, the Plasma Hydra in Hard Mode. Also, Tetron and the Guardian.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • The Star Splitter, Guardian, and Tetron.
    • Plasma Hydra is a variation of this. Blow off one head, out pops the next! Fortunately, at most 3 heads in a row pop up (in Normal mode, that is). So, not quite sequential boss, but a case of sequential boss targets.
  • Series Mascot: Flip Hero seems to be this for Remar Games, seeing as he gets referenced in a few other games that have nothing to do with him and appears in the Remar Games logo in the Garden Gnome Carnage Flash version. In a strange variant of the trope, he's not even from Remar's most popular game.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Liquid Metal Processor.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Cruiser Tetron" was originally the name of the tentacled core battleship boss from the Gradius Gaiden Game, Life Force/Salamander.
      • Speaking of Gradius, the first boss (Silence Maker) borrows the core battleship design philosophy, including the feeble barriers that protect the core itself. Another nod to the Tetran battleship is from the Grand Mother, as it forms several segmented arms that spin around to protect its weak points. Flip Hero's fire trail resembles the Vic Viper's Options in a way.
    • Plasma Hydra is named after a boss from Star Fox 2, although they barely resemble each other beyond having long appendages.
    • As mentioned above in Cast from Hit Points, The Massacre came from Remar's previous game, Iji.
      • Another Iji reference comes in the form of a Bonus Boss called the Living Warmachine, whose appearance is strikingly identical to the Komato Annihilator.
  • Sound of No Damage: A high-pitched "ding" whenever Flip Hero's weapons hit anything that's not a weak spot.
  • Speedrun: Daniel Remar made one for the Normal and Normal Boss Rush modes, as he did for Iji.
  • Stationary Boss: Tetron's final form, which, aside from being awesome, also makes it incredibly easy. Also, Generators and the Plasma Hydra.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Everything in Hard Mode, especially bosses. And especially the Reaper Drone.
  • Turns Red: Inverted with several of the bosses, as Daniel Remar dislikes cheap shots. That is, all bosses that have multiple phases start with the hardest one. Unless it's the Plasma Hydra.
  • Unwinnable Joke Game: The highest Difficulty Level, called "Reallyjoel's Dad", which is less a difficulty level and more a special Boss Rush where you fight all eight bosses at once; it's almost impossible.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Both the Expel ability and the Blade are pretty much useless in combat. However, both have a specific function in speedrunning (such as damaging or destroying bosses from every direction with the former, and cutting down dirt and pipes with the latter), and the Blade can slaughter certain enemies and bosses. Also, Shapeshift is mostly for fun.
  • The Walrus Was Paul: Daniel has stated that one of the main reasons Annihilation mode is set on the Ciretako is to create Epileptic Trees.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: This trope is the sole reason why despite Flip Hero's efforts, Tetron and his forces keep coming back by rebuilding each other, unless Flip Hero finds a way to permanently kill them.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: The game initially starts off as Black-and-White Morality, with Flip Hero protecting planet Earth from Cruiser Tetron and his forces, but collecting all ten core computers throughout Tetron's base reveals a somber example of this trope: Tetron and Flip Hero are weapons built for a war that ended long ago, but unlike Flip Hero, who outgrew his programming and fights to protect Earth and its inhabitants, Tetron tries to destroy Earth because he is trapped by his programming and thinks the war still exists. After the final battle, Flip Hero frees Tetron and his army from their endless conflict by mutual death out of mercy. Even The Living Warmachine from Annihilation Mode is treated with sympathy by The Hero for a similar reason: a destructive yet tragic weapon that deserves to rest in peace.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Found in some Apocalyptic Logs in Annihilation Mode.

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