Choplifter III – 15 years on
The game I briefly want to talk about was released over 15 years ago on the SNES, I played it back then and found it thoroughly enjoyable. I recently picked it back up and thought I would give it a whirl, given that my media center has a SNES emulator – and I must say I very pleasantly surprised. It is very easy to be carried away by simply drooling over improved graphics in new game releases. This can save all but the poorest modern releases, however, games like Portal on the other hand, bring us crashing back down to earth showing us that the way the game plays can (and normally is) far more important than any visual polish the game studio applies with a trowel afterwards.
I didn’t realise until I did a bit of background research for this post, but the Choplifter ‘franchise’ began way back in 1982 on the Apple II and has enjoyed a release on the gameboy as well prior to the final version on the SNES. The gameplay elements do not appear to have changed much, the game is still a sideways scrolling action shooter, but they have been perfected in Choplifter III.
So, what’s the story? Simply, you are a helicopter pilot who is tasked with rescuing a quota of downed pilots or hostages in each mission. This sounds simpler than it is, as the game throws you from Jungle to Naval encounters, culminating in a vicious city fight followed by an intense and unexpected setting for the final ‘world’. You pick up a variety of special weapons along the way and the enemies get progressively tougher as you go along. For those who find the game too easy, there is a non-‘practice’ difficulty setting which is a lot less forgiving.
Below is a video of some of the early action made by someone else.
All in all, the game is a little short – taking between 3 and 4 hours depending on player ability, but it is varied enough to be a lot of fun. I get the impression that it was not one of the major releases back when it came out and as such may have been overlooked by many gamers which is a shame.
Graphics: 8/10 – Nothing special, but fairly detailed and pleasing to the eye.
Sound : 4/10 – Unimaginative, the main let down of the game.
Gameplay: 7.5/10 – Simple premise, not enough reward for rescuing extra hostages.
Overall: 8/10 A classic, casual game that is worth picking up and trying.