Usually when I find a game that is late in a series, I try to play all the games in the series in a row like some sort of OCD power gamer. I didn’t do that this time because <insert logical excuse here>. Besides, this is a Choplifter game, the evolution and history of the series aren’t really needed for you to understand it. “Fly helicopter, shoot bad guys” is not something that you need context for.

Choplifter III is the story of the world’s most advanced helicopter, and stars Roy Scheider as Detective Frank Murphy, and a giant great white shark as Colonel F.E. Cochrane.

That might have been too obscure a reference even for me.

There are around four levels with between three and four stages each. All the levels are Typical War Environment themed, and in each stage you have to shoot bad guys and rescue good guys using, if you couldn’t guess, a rescue helicopter.

I think this game is actually a commentary on America’s handling of its POWs. Because while you may only need to rescue 14 hostages, each level has more than that. You can just leave them to die as soon as you hit your quota of rescues though. Maybe there isn’t enough money in the propaganda budget for more than 14 people. That is cynical, Choplifter III. Cynical.

Choplifter tends to be one of those times that a game works because of its simplicity.

Belarus’ pit crew is quite efficient.

Eventually you figure out the easiest way to play the game is to just fly like this with your noise facing the screen, since your bullets and missiles shoot straight down. It makes boss battles like this fairly easy when having to figure out the trajectory bullets take is removed from the equation. Suck it math.

Overcompensation: It isn’t just for SUV drivers and gun nuts anymore.

Luke Skywalker had a very easy time defeating the Sarlacc after he called in the Tatooine National Guard.

There is a layer of strategy involved since your chopper can only hold ten hostages at a time, so no matter what you need multiple trips over hostile areas are necessary. Since this is 1993, anytime you nudge yourself off screen the hostile areas you just cleared turn hostile again, so this can make things sort of suspenseful. Especially in later levels.

Dig Dug is back, he is new and improved… and pissed off.

You get bonus points for figuring out the right combination to rescue every hostage. It doesn’t really matter if you do or not, which I pretend is some commentary on the futility of war or something to go with the rest of the completely obvious and not made up at all commentary present in the game. Like a helicopter Cannon Fodder.

The game play can be fun and the graphics are decent, but the best decision Choplifter III made was keeping itself short. This keeps a relatively repetitive concept from straying into unbearably repetitive territory. I’m staring directly at B.O.B. while I type that, for the record.

Helicopters and hovercrafts- natures longest and most bitter natural rivalry.

Ah, the legendary Battle of Paper Street.

I heard Detroit had gotten bad, but I didn’t know it got that bad! These pre-RoboCop years we live in are the worst.

It it just me, or does the eponymous Choplifter III look like a Ninja Turtles branded helicopter. A Party Copter, if you will.

It is nice to see such a early support of repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Look at those soldiers bravely holding hands in the face of bigotry, ready to walk into the oddly hued sunset.

And now that you’ve saved the world, what time is it? Time to watch rough porn on the big screen.

Choplifter III is a capable game, certainly. If you could still rent SNES games somehow without using a time machine, this would be a pretty easy suggestion to pick up the next time you are looking for VHS tapes that might have sex scenes. As it stands, with emulation being considered chaotic good and physical copies of 90% of classic games being available for less than a decent sushi dinner, pretty much any game is worth the effort to play. Choplifter III is such a short and simple game that it might be worth you taking a look at if you are really jonesing for some arcade helicopter action. If you are, I think we can find you some help for that. After all, games like this are just a gateway to helicopter simulation games. Next thing you know, you are building a cockpit in your closet and joining e-aviation guilds.

Choplifter III was developed by Beam Software and was published by Victor Independent Software for the SNES , Game Gear, and Game Boy in 1993. If you want to play it and don’t want to be a gross illegal pirate or whatever, copies of the game generally sell for around 8 bucks. Like I said, less than a decent sushi dinner. Or even a cheap one.

Do you have a game you’d like to see featured in this stupid idea creative and original work of game journalism art in the future? Have you played Choplifter III and find yourself falling down the slippery slope of computer aviatory simulation? If so, let me or RipTen know on Twitter, or in the comments on this very site!

Next Time on the Retrograde: Fortified Zone