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Airstrike II: Gulf Thunder Review

Developer: Divo Games Publisher: Divo Games
Release Date: February 11, 2005 Also On: None

Some games, despite having a short life-span, are so fun that you’ll likely continuously replay them just to enjoy the experience one more time, or to beat a high score. Airstrike II: Gulf Thunder is exactly that type of game. It might not last you more than a couple of hours, but for $19.99, it’s a steal, considering the amount of time you’ll invest after you beat the game and unlock all the helicopters.

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Gulf Thunder is the first in the AirStrike series that I’ve played. Now that I’ve played this, I want to go back to the past games. Gulf Thunder is the best top-down shooter currently available on the PC. For one, it has an impressive number of levels at 24, including a final ‘boss’ encounter that will require you to launch nukes upon a fortress.

In Gulf Thunder, terrorists have created a new monstrous weapon and a type of explosives. The only way to stop the destruction is to annihilate the terrorists’ new weapon while it is on the move. After this is done, you’ll have to assault the core base, which is defended by the towers and is fortified with a new type of metal alloy.

Airstrike II: Gulf Thunder takes play in Iraq. The arid desert landscape that is Iraq is misrepresented in Gulf Thunder, replaced by lush forests, river regions, and small towns. To be honest, some of the levels look more like Southern Florida’s Everglades than Iraq. While this isn’t necessarily bad when it comes to the graphics, as it’s better to see these river regions than endless mounds of sand, it fails to give the player an internal belief that the game takes place in Iraq. This isn’t so much a complaint because the game itself looks absolutely gorgeous.

Three helicopters are available to you in Airstrike II: Gulf Thunder, though two will need unlocked. Each have their own speed and armor, making your experience in each level slightly different, depending on the helicopter that you’re flying. Aside from that, there are five difficulty settings to choose from, adding to the replay value immensely. The easiest difficulty will result in practically no deaths, but the others are incrementally more difficult than the easiest.

If you still don’t have a clue about how Airstrike II plays, basically, Gulf Thunder is a top-to-bottom helicopter shooter, akin to the space shooters that were popularized on the NES in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. You control your craft, left/right/forward/backward with the mouse. Firing the beam that your helicopter uses is done with the left button on the mouse. Pressing the right button on the mouse will result in a secondary weapon, such as a missile. Pressing in on the wheel on your mouse will drop a nuclear attack, or some other strike in a wide area of the screen.

Overall, Airstrike II is the best helicopter shooter that you’ll find on your home PC. The game mechanics are so simple that you can download and play with little to no learning curve. The difficulty comes in conserving your missiles and avoiding gunfire from anti-aircraft ground forces, helicopters, etc. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous with huge explosions displayed across your screen. An Advanced particle system (fire, water, smoke) is in place to add to the realism. There’s also an option to upload scores online to compare with the world community. For the price of $19.99, you can’t go wrong. Try the free demo at http://divogames.com.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.6
Written by Kyle Review Guide