WHICH ONE IS BEST? - by Pierre-André
"As a pilot of an helicopter, you must rescue a team of 64 hostages (16 at each time) from behind the lines of a maniacal enemy. Though you'll have to defend yourself, the only points you get are for the hostages you rescue."
First released in 1982, Choplifter is more than an all-time classic. It is among the first computer video games to have been released as an arcade game (by Sega.)
Choplifter is available in different versions on four of the Atari 8-bit systems... Atari 800/XL, 5200, XE and 7800.
Atari 800/XL (purple version)
1982 version published by Broderbund - Program by Dan Gorlin
- The Chopper answers perfectly to the joystick
- Various adversaries: Tanks, Fighters, Satellites.
- The hostages are fantastic (Animation/behavior/Movement)
- Permanent Danger: Two tanks at a time with a fighter or one fighter with two tanks: yes!!!
- The sounds are those used by the Apple II version (blip! bip!) and don't weren't converted to take advantage of the superior Pokey sound chip found in the Atari 8-bit computers.
Atari 5200 (5200 purple version)
1984 version published by Atari - Programmed by Dan Gorlin
The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, being an Atari 8-bit Computer transformed into a video came console (only the Pokey soundchip seems to be a bit different), this version is identical to the 1982 release with one notable exception. Since the 5200 has two fire buttons compared to only one on the computers, the gameplay has been untainted (two buttons are used -- one for firing and the other for changing directions). As such, the 5200 edition is considered superior by many to the one found on the 800/XL.
XE Computers/XE Game System (color version)
1988 version published by Atari
- The Animation is exactly the same than the one used in the 1982 version, perhaps a bit slower due to the added details.
- The chopper is better drawn, multi-color, much more detailed.
- The action is now taking place during the day, the sky is blue instead of the horrible purple color used in the first version.
- A realistic multi-level scrolling has been added showing clouds moving at different speed when you move.
- The presentation is totally new: A title screen has been added (showing Choplifter & the two copyrights of Atari & Broderbund), a nice little music is also present (not found in previous Apple or Atari versions). The other sound effects (during the game) haven't been changed.
Atari 7800 version
1988 version published by Atari
- Nice Details: Explosions are spectacular.
- You can now destroy the fighter at any time, you don't have to wait until his attack position.
- You must go high if you want to shoot the tanks, you can't touch them when you fly low...Need we say more?
- The small piece of music is not really agreable to hear, of course, there is no Pokey Soundchip in this cartridge. Shouldn't every cartridge have been like Ballblazer, Jack?
Somebody should start thinking about killing these guys at Ibid inc, when they did adapt Mario Bros. on the 7800, it was a real disaster then after when Karateka (still on the 7800) was released, it was not a disaster this time, it was a murder! They killed the game, keeping less than 15% of something common with the original.
Finally, Choplifter plays better on the 8-bit Atari but if somebody could find the "not sure to exist" 2600 prototype version, then we could add another chapter to this saga.