Much like the original, Choplifter HD is at its absolute best when everything's going wrong. Play it too competently during the early levels, and it's a bit like running a taxi company - albeit a taxi company that sends its cars out with machine guns strapped to the bonnet. You leave your base, shoot a few guys, keep an eye on the fuel, pick a few other guys up and then make it back home with a nice soft landing. That'll be eight pounds, cheers. Sorry about all the roundabouts.
Play it badly, though, and it's kind of amazing. Forget your fuel, spend your missiles profligately and whirl through the skies, roguishly sliding into one cloud of flak after another. Squash the people you're meant to save, allow a few zombies to climb on board to mess your co-pilot up and then, warning buzzers buzzing, take plenty of machine gun fire from the locals as you arrive back at the base running, as they say, on fumes.
It's exhilarating to live on the edge of disaster, and it can feel pretty cinematic, too. If nothing else, modern film-making has educated us all on the precise kind of alarm sound you hear coming from a helicopter when it's in trouble: Choplifter HD delivers this sort of thing brilliantly.
Konami has announced the release dates for Choplifter HD.
The InXile (Hunted: The Demon's Forge) made downloadable game launches on PC and PlayStation Network (in the US) on 10th January for $14.99. Presumably it launches on the European PlayStation Store a day later, on Wednesday 11th January.
The Xbox Live Arcade version launches everywhere on 11th January. It costs 1200 Microsoft Points.
Choplifter HD will touch down on Xbox Live Arcade this Autumn, as well as PC and PlayStation Network as initially announced back in March.
Based on the centuries-old Apple II classic, the games sees you extracting friendlies from various spicy situations in your rescue chopper. There's around 20 missions promised in the new version, which range from bailing out POWs to picking up survivors of a zombie outbreak.
Developer inXile (of Hunted: The Demon Forge fame) has also announced that it's brought the game's original creator Dan Gorlin on board as a design consultant.
A 21st-century take on the ancient Apple II classic Choplifter is about to touch down, courtesy of Hunted: The Demon's Forge developer inXile Entertainment.
The game, titled Choplifter HD, will launch in the Autumn on PC and PlayStation Network.
For those too young to remember, the Broderbund-developed original launched on the Apple II way back in 1982 and saw you ferrying hostages between enemy bases and your HQ. It was a huge hit and was later ported to every system under the sun, including a 1985 arcade take courtesy of SEGA.