Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4622)
Written on  :  May 30, 2004
Platform  :  DOS

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One of the most amazing simulations for its time, command AND fly/fight!

The Good

Ability to command more than one helicopter, a sense of strategy, ability to maintain a full squadron, full complement of choppers from scouts to transports to gunships, crew that improves as they do more, randomly generated missions so no two are ever the same, full mission recorder, ability to jump-in at any point and play it through again, full 3D terrain (not just a couple hills on flat land any more)

The Bad

Graphics aren't that flashy, enemies don't really move much if at all (except enemy gunships, which actively seeks you out), difficult to master, generated missions get repetitive after a while, no plot or backstory, just a plain mission briefing

The Bottom Line

Gunship 2000 is one of the best helicopter simulators ever, the only one where you can command a whole squadron of choppers while trying to achieve multiple objectives.

You start as a young warrant officer, only able to command a single chopper. When you get a promotion, you can start commanding more. The missions are randomly generated on a large map that ranges from scouting to search and destroy, from rescue to resupply, and more. You can run a single mission, or trying survive a campaign which will give you a series of missions until the limited war is over.

As a single-chopper sim, GS2K is faithful to all the choppers it simulates. From the ponderous Blackhawk to the nimble Defender and Commanche, to the gunships like Apache, Longbow, and Cobra, they all feel different and play different. However, that's not the best part.

When you get enough experience to command multiple choppers, this turns into the most amazing game. Imagine this... Your other choppers will perform the tasks you assign while you perform search and destroy on your own, or fly escort yourself and let the transport chopper drop off the supplies by itself... As the missions are random, there are infinite possibilities.

Missions range from scout to attack, from rescue to resupply, and everything in between. Bring the right chopper for the right job (for example, it wouldn't do to bring a gunship when you need to rescue stranded Rangers).

The crew (pilot and copilot/gunner per craft) under your command will gain skills as they fly. You can also award them medals and promotions if they did particularly well. Under your leadership, perhaps they will become an elite unit...

In their way will be a variety of enemies, from ground defenses to enemy choppers and jets. Yes, you will encounter enemy jets such as MiG-23's and Su-25's. While they are meant as ground-attack planes, that doesn't mean they don't want to score air kills when they can. Even ground threats aren't easy, with a wide variety of AAA and SAM arrayed against you.

But you got your own tricks too. Two of the choppers have "mast sights", which allow you to locate targets from behind a hill, safe from detection. You can use Sidearm missiles to destroy enemy radars. You got Stinger missiles against enemy aircrafts. You can use Longbow Hellfires to take out enemies from long range. Use rockets (3 types) to shred your enemies, or switch to your chaingun (if equipped) for up-close-and-personal work.

What's really even MORE amazing is the mission recorder. Did you lose one of your choppers? Not sure what happened? Fast forward the "tape" until the place you want and see. Every event is logged and you can see exactly what happened where. Even better, hit a button and you can fly the mission over from that exact point, and see if by doing something different, could you have changed the outcome! (though dead crew and lost chopper will not be restored, this is mainly a practice tool).

The weather is simulated as well, as a hot day can significantly reduce your payload capacity (weapons and fuel), esp. in hot climates.

You can be completely laid back, just drive a small chopper around and let your crew do the missions, or you can do the missions yourself and let your other defend you and clear out the surrounding. It is completely up to you. No other game offers you this much freedom!

This is one of the most amazing simulations ever created. You owe it to yourself to try it on a retro machine.