Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
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5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom

Crossbow Reviews

7800 Rank: Unranked

Genre: Action/ Shooter

Awards: None
Pretty Impressive for a Choppa With One Helicopter Blade! Pros: Unique Gameplay/ Challenging to Get the Perfect Score
Cons: This Version Lacks Many Features that Make Other Choplifter! Games Great
Explosions Look Like Hippie Flowers of Peace... In the Land of Choplifter!
***Funkmaster V's Notes From the Future: This review was written by Crossbow around 2003, and its a good one so I'm not gonna re-write it. However, I want to clarify something that I discovered this year: There are many different Choplifter games from this era, and THIS version is based on an old computer game. SEGA bought the rites to the franchise, then added quite a bit to it to impress nerd ladies for make-outs. They later released their home version to the arcades (one of the first times a home game was later released as an arcade game). So to be fair to this Choplifter!, I just wanted to clarify that this is not based on the vastly superior and bougie SEGA games, its based on an older computer version that smoked and sparked when you played it. OK... I'm Out. Take it away, Crossbow. Turn the lights out when you leave.)

Overview: The basic idea behind Choplifter!
is that you play the pilot of a helicopter with the given mission of rescuing POWs from terrorists. The game has you fly over the enemy consisting of Tanks, Jets, and suicidal Satellites where in you blow up the buildings holding the POWs and land to allow them to get onboard. Once loaded up...you fly them back through the barrage of enemies again and land safely at your cleverly disguised post office where the former prisoners will now offload to become heroes. Once that is done you repeat the process. There are several different buildings and each one contains far more POWs than you can carry in one load. So of course the challenge is to make the repeated trips without getting killed or killing any of the POWs. Yes it is possible for the POWs to be killed by enemy fire (such as the tanks), or by simply not paying attention and squashing them as you land.

Graphics: We have a problem here. The 7800 version isn't anything like the arcade in terms of the graphics. The basic elements of the original game are in the 7800 version in that you still have to fly over, shoot the prisoner barracks, save said prisoners, and then bring them back. But there are some elements missing in the 7800 version. The arcade includes SAM (Surface to Air Missile) launchers that are also placed against you. These SAM launchers are strangely missing in the 7800 port. While the graphics on the 7800 version are colorful and the sprites are large there is the problem that the sprites do tend to flicker when a lot of action is onscreen at once. Also as is shown in the pics, there is a problem in that some of the sprites are vastly disproportionate to each other in game graphics. Look at the size of the tank compared to the Barracks to see what I mean. There is also a strange cheapness to the graphics in that there is little variety or detail in them. Overall the 7800 version of Choplifter! More closely resembles a direct port of the Commodore 64 version with some enhanced color. Atari could have done better for sure on this.

Sound: Sound isn't an area the 7800 is strong for and unfortunately it shows in this game. There is a nice little jingle, which plays just before you take off and the sound of the rotors is convincing. But some of the sounds seem to cut off from each other just like the graphics flickering when there is a lot of action on the screen at once. The sounds are appropriate in that explosions sound like explosions etc. But then some sounds are replicated. All the weapon fire sounds are the exact same. Also there is this annoying "ding" sound as the POWs board and later leave the helicopter. Also the arcade version featured some speech that is sadly missing in the 7800's version.

Gameplay: The game utilizes the dual button controller of the 7800 and that is a must have (Sorry all you 2600 controller fans). The controls are smooth, basically you move up to move the helicopter up but also you have to move in a diagonal up or back to move the helicopter in a forward motion. The physics are fairly read in that if you just move in a diagonal up you will notice the helicopter will actually move forward and descend at the same time. Occasionally you have to move back up to gain altitude back up. The arcade version is very addicting as there isn't a discernable patter to the enemy movements. I can't say the same for the 7800 port as the satellites and jets appear in a very predictable and non-random pattern. The tanks are the only semi unpredictable opponent. The Arcade also featured multiple boards in that once you completely saved all the POWs on one level you would progress to the next where the graphics and environment would change. Sadly this was not replicated on the 7800. You are given a total of 64 POWs to save. Once you save the last one the game ends. No congrats or anything...just stops dead. Personally the game play is adequate and gets the job done but pales in comparison to the real arcade classic.

Interpretation: What can we say? With missing enemies and no other levels plus the predictable pattern of the enemies the game is a very weak translation. The 7800 version is dead on to the Commodore 64 version but simply doesn't come close the actual feel of the Sega Arcade release. The initial story and object of the game was left intact but there the similarities end.

Value: The game is fun to play and addictive even if it is a bad port. However, once you have saved all the POWs regardless of whether you save all 64 or only 1, the game just ends. I feel that Atari could have at least had the game continue on even with the same board and graphics but more difficult enemies. Once you have played this and gotten tired of playing it, there isn't anything new to bring you back.

Overall: I feel that the 7800 version is a very quick redone release copied from the Commodore 64. The graphics are dull compared to the arcade. The challenge is there only until you figure out the timing of the jets and satellites. The sound is fair, but with a lack of any extra levels or anything to keep you glued into it, I don't see a reason that a person would have to "Have" this game unless they need it to complete their collection. If your looking for the a remake of the Commodore 64 original for your Atari then here you go. However, the arcade version it isn't. Sorry Atari you have done some great conversions, unfortunately, this isn't one of them.

Other Reviews:
Video Game Critic: B+
JoseQ's Emuviews: 7.1 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.0 out of 5.0 (Fair)

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