Amstrad Computer User1st November 1988
Published in Amstrad Computer User #48
Gunship puts you at the controls of a S8m Apache helicopter. You have various missions to complete, ranging from a simple training flight in the US to Communist bashing in Vietnam and a full scale war against the Warsaw Pact countries.
To start off you enter your name, choose your mission, then the level of danger and the degree of realism required.
You then arm the helicopter, choosing the weapons you want up to a maximum weight of 21,000 lbs, making sure the helicopter is balanced.
The scene switches to the cockpit. You have to take off and fly around, seeking out the enemy forces, watching out for difficult terrain and mountain ranges. The view out of the cockpit window is wireframe 3D, and you can switch to an overhead map at any time.
The display panel is packed with information - everything from the usual altimeter, airspeed indicator, artificial horizon and so on, to exotica such as damage warning lights, threat display, radar jammers, stores selection and torque gauges.
The game, as you would expect, is hard. Helicopters are difficult to fly because they respond very sluggishly to the controls, of which there are two sets to deal with the cyclic, which rotate the helicopter, and the collective, which move it up or down. Even moving forward is a tricky operation.
There are also two engines, which can be independently controlled, and a tail rotor, which swings the nose. In fact, there are so many control keys that a keyboard overlay has been provided.
The graphics are reasonable; the cockpit screen is rather blocky and the wire frame graphics are difficult to interpret, but the map and everything else is perfectly clear.
The sound is deafening. The swish of the rotor blades quickly becomes annoying, and there is very little else other than the odd explosion.
There are three hardware restrictions - you must have a joystick: according to the manual the program will not work on the 664 and green screen users will have problems, as various indicators on the control panel and the map flash different colours depending on whether something is OK or faulty.
It's Microprose's usual meticulous stuff. The attention to detail is incredible - the manual even has chapters on military equipment on the modern battlefield and helicopter aerodynamics. It reads more like a textbook than instructions for a game.
The only slight letdown is the indifferent graphics on the cockpit screen, but the excellent animated map and the pointer control more than make up for this.