Choplifter HD (Xbox Live Arcade)

By Wayne Webb

Choplifter was one of the first video games I ever played, way back in the very early days of my gaming history, in 1982 on a Apple IIe. It was a side scrolling line-drawn affair like lunar module lander, but with guns and rescue attempts.

The concept is simple; fly up and to the right, pick up the various people who need rescuing and shoot at the bad guys trying to stop you, then fly back to the left to land safely. It was not simple or easy as you had to control your speed or you’d crash, and watch your fire or you’d hit the people you needed to rescue. There’s also fuel and damage levels to monitor. That was it, and it was a hit at lunchtime in the computer room at high school. We’d queue up to play it back then.

Fast-forward some 30 years to 2012 and there is a beautifully rendered HD version of that game to play on the Xbox Live Arcade. It’s basically the same game, but instead of green screen wireframes we now have fully 3D environments and deep, rich and full sound and graphics to play with. But as an update it stops there, the premise is the same, the controls are the same and it still runs left to right, right to left.

With full graphics it’s also a bit harder to tell enemies and friends apart and in some levels zombies are introduced and then the instructions seem at odds with the gameplay which gets confusing as to which bit you need to protect and telling your friendly soldiers from zombies.

Still a lot of fun and challenging enough to not be a cakewalk, but not so exciting that I would queue up to play it.

Pros: Beautifully repackaged, new twist on an old game, challenging to play.
Cons: Gameplay not changed much, still very linear and repetitive, instructions occasionally not helpful

3.5 Shacks Out Of 5

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