Chopper Command Review

Developer: Activision Publisher: Activision
Release Date: 1982 Also On: None

When Defender came onto the arcade scene in the early 1980s, it caused a big splash. As a result, many games came out that attempted to be like it and thus profit from its hype. One of the titles that attempted to do this was Activision’s Chopper Command, a horizontal shooter that had the player controlling a helicopter with a laser cannon on it.

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The concept of Chopper Command isn’t complicated at all. You control a helicopter. Your objective is to destroy the enemy planes before they can destroy a convoy of trucks on the ground. If you collide with an enemy ship or get shot by an enemy bullet, your helicopter will explode. You can only fire in the direction that you are moving in, which can be annoying when you’re wanting to back off from an enemy but you will get used to that limitation over time.

The pixels used to construct the helicopter, the trucks, and the other elements of the foreground are very small, causing objects in the foreground to be very detailed. However, apart from the horizon at the top of the screen, the background is a very bland single color for air and a darker single color to represent the ground. Given the color scheme, I would assume that this is supposed to be representing a desert mission of some type, but it looks fine. The explosion sounds and the sound of your laser firing, which are the only sounds you will hear, likewise sound fairly good considering the Atari 2600’s limitations.

Unfortunately, while this may be a clone of one of the most addictive arcade titles of all time, the addictiveness somehow didn’t make it through the cloning process. Chopper Command is a fun game, don’t get me wrong, but it is not nearly as addictive as the game that inspired it. As a result, it will not last as long as a regularly played part of your Atari 2600 collection should you choose to acquire it.

Despite boasting two difficulty levels and the possibility of alternating multiplayer (both of which are determined using the game select switch), I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this game. It will be fun for a while, but its lasting value is somewhat limited compared to some other Atari 2600 titles. If you are a fan of Defender though, this game should be worth at least looking into.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.7
Written by Martin Review Guide

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