This game makes a nice change from all the ladders and levels and alien thrash games I have been reviewing recently. Those who have seen Choplifter for the Spectrum will know all about it already I suspect.
In Airlift you have to pilot a helicopter and rescue the hostages from the houses under attack from an armada of terrorist tanks. Once you have rescued enough hostages you must fly them safely back to the Red Cross hospital and then embark on another sortie.
Of course it's not quite as simple as that. When you land your chopper to rescue a group of hostages, you soon attract the attention of any nearby tank, which then attempts to flatten you and your helicopter plus your human cargo by lobbing shells at you. Later stages of the game find you dodging the auto gyro and the killer satellite which attempt to shoot you down.
Points are scored for the number of hostages you successfully manage to rescue and transport back to the hospital. Further points are gained for bombing the tanks and for wiping out the auto gyro and satellite. However, points are deducted for any hostages you kill by careless bombing or by squashing them with a badly timed landing!
Airlift features one of the smoothest sideways-scroling screens I have yet seen on a game for the Beeb. It really is excellent. The landscape and buildings just flash by without any trace of flicker and the speed in which a change of direction occurs is remarkable.
The graphics themselves are no less impressive either with a very realistic looking helicopter and the little figures of the hostages running around waving their arms at you as you fly overhead is very amusing.
The quality of sound complements the fine graphics by being exceptionally good too, so full marks to the programmer. For those who like to see their name up on screen there is a high score table but no sound on/off option or pause facility.
Airlift is an excellent arcade game and I had a lot of fun reviewing it. It has a very polished presentation that cannot fail to impress and has the element of addictiveness which keeps you going back for just one more try.