Choplifter HD, an old school prespective.

by  •  Jan 17, 2012


There I was….knee deep in grenade pins and all outta water when I spotted it across the floor at PAX 2011. The game looked familiar to me… my 45 year old brain I was transported back in time to the Star Castle Arcade in the Regency Mall with a roll of quarters and nothing but time to kill. CHOPLIFTER!!! Could it be??? I hustled over with ODG6Actual in tow and asked the feller putting on the demo Jario Silva, the Choplifter HD Lead Designer, what I was seeing. Jario explained to me that I was seeing a remake of the classic Choplifter game from the 1980s.

Kicking it Old School!

I couldn’t grab the controller from Jarios hands fast enough. I told him I was a big fan of Segas coin operated version from the early 80’s and told him how I wasted rolls of quarters on that machine. I then commenced to fumble my way through the demo, you see I am a PC man, and controllers are for you younger types, but I put on a good show. Chickens were flying every which a way, and I knew I had been at it a while when ODG6Actual took the controller away from me and pushed me along after handing Jario our contact info.

Fast forward to earlier this week, I was given access to the new ChoplifterHD (PC version of course!) via Steam from the good folks in marketing at inXile, thank you Liz!!


In inXiles words, ChoplifterHD is a spiritual sequel (I like that….) of the 1981 Apple II game Choplifter created by Dan Gorlin. Keeping true to the original, Choplifter HD is a side scolling Helicopter game with a strong focus on rescuing people. The game consists of 3 main campaigns and 1 training or tutorial campaign. Within each campaign are several missions that is designed with a specific helicopter in mind. The player has to choose what helicopter suits the mission best. The player must prioritize between rescuing wounded soldiers, displaced civilians, and insertings the Ranger for special missions. All the while the pilot must dodge incoming fire from missles, anti-aircraft ground fire, jeep mounted machine guns, zombies attacking the grounded chopper, jets flying by, and tanks. Did I say Zombies? Yes there are Zombies!!

Damn Zombies!!!


InXile went with the Unreal Engine that allowed them to craft a series of busy battlefield maps that if you look closely as you play, details jump out at you. Some of the younger generation of players probably expected this game to be in SUPER HD and were disappointed when the graphics may have failed to meet their standards of what to expect in todays video games. Youngsters, take it from an old guy who was there and saw the original and played the original….this is a great version of what was. The folks at inXile should be proud of this game, they did the original Choplifter justice.

More Damn Zombies!


It is what it is…….Klaxons blaring, guns firing, missles exploding, jet and helicopter noise, the groans of the undead, it’s all there. With a good headset, you can become immersed in the game.

While the character banter is funny after a while, the continued repeated phases grate upon your ears. The repetitiveness of the chatter of the pilot and copilot, not to mention  Scoop Sanderson and others can become quite annoying. As in any old style arcade game, you learn the map as you die at certain points on the map. Repeating the map leads to the same banter, but one can tune it out as you play. That’s why you have a volume setting!


I have played both the XBox and PC versions. Getting used to the controls is simple….with time and practice.  Some folks will find difficult in the transitioning from forward or rear flight to side flight. One will need to transition quite often depending on where the threat is. A quick finger or thumb depending on which platform is played on will be needed. It’s been said that practice does make one perfect…..not really, you’ll still screw up. Lord knows I did…time after time. Transition at the wrong time and you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of way to much ground fire resulting in your helicoptors demise.

To the naysayers who found the contol settings a bit clunky. Go old school, try this on the old Sega machine and see how well you will do. A transition button, a fire button and a joystick. You’ll find that you’ll be doing the exact same thing on that as you did here, at the wrong time, you’ll hit the wrong button resulting in your demise. Have at it.


As in any game, replayability is needed. The game starts on the Normal settings followed by Hardcore, and finally the Survival setting. You’ll need to comple the game at one level before advancing to the next. The mission remains the same, but the difficulty level rises. Hell I was having trouble just trying to earn a five star rating on each mission!!


At the time of release the game started at around $20 bucks. Currently on STEAM, it is being offered for $12.74. I’m sure computer savy folks such as yourself will be able to find a bargin price. Search around.


Choplifter HD has brought back to life a CLASSIC arcade game of the 1980’s. This updated sequel of that game promises hours of entertainment for a bargin price. The game crosses the major platforms of XBox PSN and the PC. This game could and should be made available to the users of the iPod or iPad. This game is a definite pick up if your a fan of the old Arcade style games.



Format: XBOX, PC, PS3
Release: 11 Jan 2012
Rating: ESRB: T
Genre: Action, Arcade Style
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Publisher: inXile Entertainment

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5

Blue Falcon Don't Be a Blue Falcon Run across a blue falcon? Award them here »
Visit the Hall of Shame »