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Choplifter! is a side-scrolling action/arcade game that puts you in command of an attack chopper. Your mission: Go behind enemy lines and rescue up to 16 hostages per level. Be careful, though, because tanks and enemy aircraft will try to stop you - and they won't stop shooting while you are rescuing those hostages!

Originally released for Apple II home computers, Choplifter! was later ported to the arcades and a number of video game consoles. Many imitators and homages would follow.


Choplifter! Atari 8-bit Tank, house and refugee (Brøderbund disk version)
Choplifter! Thomson TO Hurry up before the tank arrives!
Choplifter! Atari 7800 Atari logo
Choplifter! Atari 5200 Flying; there's some people, maybe I could land here...

Alternate Titles

  • "Choplifter" -- SMS/NES/Vic-20 title
  • "チョップリフター" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

Excellent port from Sega SEGA Master System *Katakis* (38149)
Choplifter is a very well done hostage rescue game Apple II Droog (460)
A super-stressful little game from the mid-80s SEGA Master System Chris Wright (102)
Great translation of the arcade version of Choplifter. SEGA Master System gametrader (229)
Your average version of Choplifter!, but with some nice touches VIC-20 *Katakis* (38149)

Critic Reviews

Computer Games VIC-20 Sep, 1983 A 100
The Video Game Critic SEGA Master System Dec 14, 2000 A 100
Génération 4 SEGA Master System 1987 89 out of 100 89
Happy Computer SEGA Master System Nov, 1986 86 out of 100 86
The Video Game Critic Atari 7800 Jul 06, 2007 B+ 83
All Game Guide Arcade 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
1UP! SEGA Master System Jul 04, 2008 70 out of 100 70
Tilt Apple II Nov, 1982 4 out of 6 67
Your 64 Commodore 64 Apr, 1985 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Home Computing Weekly Commodore 64 Feb 26, 1985 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60


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1001 Video Games

Choplifter appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Arcade version

After Choplifter! was released for the Apple II, it was not only ported to numerous other computer and console systems, but also converted by Sega into a coin-op arcade game. This makes Choplifter! one of the few 1980s games to start on a home system and later appear in arcades, instead of the other way around.

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]

Cancelled PC version

Game creator Dan Gorlin began work on a PC version of Choplifter! during the 1990s, but says it was never completed due to "industry problems."

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]


Choplifter! began as a 3D game in early development, but was later converted into a 2D side-scroller when creator Dan Gorlin realized the limitations of contemporary hardware.

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]


Game creator Dan Gorlin cites both the Iranian hostage crisis and the arcade game Defender as major influences on Choplifter!'s design.

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]


Choplifter designer Dan Gorlin on the surprising influence of his game on the industry:
A lot of professionals in the game business now tell me that Choplifter was big influence on them. It kinda freaks me out; like inventing dynamite or something.
(From the book *High Score!* by Rusel DeMaria and Johnny L. Wilson, p.125.)


While they both spawned strings of sequels to lead series of their own, Choplifter and Lode Runner can be considered to share not just human sprite animation, but a "game world" along with Will Wright's Raid on Bungeling Bay, all three games (all published by Brøderbund) eventually featuring the militaristic denizens of the Bungeling Empire as the primary antagonists.

Information also contributed by Garcia and Pseudo_Intellectual
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