Sunday, February 26, 2012

Game of the Day - Chopper I

Chopper I pisses me off - but in a good way.  There are games that are difficult that are just frustrating, unfair and stupid, and there are games that are difficult that are compelling and fun.  Chopper I is the latter.


Chopper I is a vertical shooter where you fly (surprise!) a chopper.  The graphics are nice and sharp although there is not a lot of variety (in the levels I've gotten to).  One thing that is more important in Chopper I than most vert shooters is paying attention to where you are flying.  The land has many obstacles that you can crash into (you're in a chopper, dammit, can't you go up?).  The terrain has hills and mountains that dictate where you can fly, get too close or trapped behind them and SLAM!  Also, starting with the second level, there are girders/bridges/buildings that you also can't fly over.  These bridges actually require as much attention to fly around and avoid as the enemy firing at you.  You are constantly trying to avoid smashing into things and, of course, the enemy is always lying in wait right where the terrain pushes you.

There are many power-ups to garner.  They are usually spewed forth by the big green helicopter that chases you.  Defeat it and go pick up the goodies.  You can power-up your weapon and receive several different types of special weapons/bombs that you will need to complete the mission.

There's some other interesting stuff.  For instance, the enemy can shoot nets at you.  If you get caught in one, your guns won't fire outside the net and you start to go down.  Blast as fast as you can to shred the net and return to normal.

As I mentioned in the beginning, the real hook here is the difficult but fair gameplay.  The attacking army is effective even though they don't totally take over the screen.  The bosses are tough if you aren't powered-up and/or have lots of bombs.  In fact, when you continue after losing a life fighting a boss, you start the fight over - crap.  So now you aren't powered-up and the boss is back to full strength.  That's why it is ridiculously important to beat the boss the first time you see him when you are all powered-up (presumably) from the fight up until then. 

Tough + Fair = Fun

Oh yeah, one other funny thing, when you die and score high enough to enter your initials, you get rewarded with seeing those initials on a grave marker over your fresh grave.  Nice.

Here's a small piece of trivia - there are only two games in the KLOV database with the word "Chopper" in the title - and now they have both been GOTDs.  This one and Battle Chopper.

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