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SummaryExcellent port from Sega
The GoodDan Gorlin's game, Choplifter, was the king of search-and-rescue games, and it even sold more copies than the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. It first appeared on all computers and consoles, such as Apple ][, Commodore 64, ColecoVision, and Atari 5200/7800, but later, the game was eventually ported over to the NES and the Sega Master System. It was the latter port that appealed to me.
Choplifter was appropriately named because you control a helicopter that must use its missiles to blow up prisons and rescue hostages, and to do this, you land near the prison and stay there until all the hostages are on board. You then take off again and transport them safely back to the camp. Doing this is a difficult process as you also must also avoid being shot at by fighter jets and other enemy aircraft.
And while you are on the ground rescuing these hostages, a tank will appear and will do its best to bomb you and the hostages. To makes matters worse, the tank will not follow you but will hang around the prison until it makes sure that every hostage is killed. When you decide to bomb the tank, you have to proceed with caution, knowing when you can do it. You see, if you decide to bomb when the hostages are running around, you are likely to kill that hostage, so you need to make sure that there aren't any hostages around. (40 hostages must be transported back to camp to proceed to the next round.) I did not worry about this, since I did my best to rescue the most hostages that were inside a prison, knowing that if they die, then that's their fault.
The first versions of Choplifter were boring to play, the graphics were basically the same, as well as the gameplay. Sega managed to change all that when they decided to bring out their own version. Sega's version, by the way, is excellent. You see, this version consists of six rounds and features rich environments, such as the desert and sea. The animations are quite nice, especially the little bit of animation where your chopper is shot down and you parachute to the ground and burn up when you make contact.
The sound in the SMS version is also very good. There are three pieces of music in the game, but the last piece, that plays on rounds three and six, is worth listening to. The sound is greatly enhanced with the built-in FM chipset that comes with the second model of the SMS and is a big plus for all those who have managed to own this model.
The BadThe game gets rather difficult as you proceed through the round.
The Bottom LineThe SMS version is excellent than its other counterparts. If you are disappointed that the original game was boring when you played it a few times, then I suggest having a go at the SMS version.