Get ready for an experience that’s just plane ridiculous.

Review Date: January 20, 2021

Release Date: May, 1982

Platform: Atari 800

Genre: Who knows?

Anecdotes: Sometimes, as kids, we just got bored of playing the same games over and over. That meant it was time to go play some pickup baseball out in the yard or hop in the swimming pool, but what did we do if there’s a thunderstorm or it’s winter and it’s dark and snowing? Simple. We started busting out the games none of us understood. Choplifter fell into that category. It started when the screen said “First Sortie,” and we didn’t know what a sortie was. We didn’t know what to do or how to do it, but we did get a kick out of squashing pedestrians. Now, almost 40 years later, I get the idea, but it’s still not very deep.

I saved 28 people, but let’s not talk about what happened to the other four.

Description: You control a helicopter and you need to fly it over to the people standing on the ground. You need to load them into the helicopter and fly them to safety. The people are being attacked by tanks. You need to get people away from the tanks so they don’t get shot. At the same time, you can’t allow your helicopter to be shot, either, from bullets out of either ground vehicles or aircraft. At the top of the screen is a bar. The club tracks how many people are dead. The diamond is how many people are in your helicopter and the heart counts those that are safely rescued.

Hey, tanker, leave those kids alone!
This game will bring the house down.

Positives: You can tell how the graphics are improving over time. Instead of a solid black background, Choplifter used a dark blue (or is it purple?) background and stars to show night, With animated stars as a bonus. The game also is the oldest one I’m reviewing that features smooth scrolling, which would become standard soon after. The game is fun for a short time; the strategy of when to drop off refugees comes into play as well. Too little makes for a lot of dead people if something goes wrong, but too much puts you at risk far more often.

Negatives: It starts off innocent enough, but before you know, you’ll have two planes and a bunch of tanks shooting at you. You’ve got to avoid all of that AND keep the people alive.

Well, at least there’s no tanks here.

Grade: C

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