LHX Attack Chopper
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
|LHX Attack Chopper|
|Genre(s)||Vehicle simulation game|
LHX Attack Chopper is a 1990 war helicopter simulation game for the PC by Electronic Arts. The game was developed by Electronic Arts, Design and Programming led by Brent Iverson, also known for the PC DOS version of Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, and US Navy Fighters.
The game was originally for PC DOS, but versions for other platforms, such as the Mega Drive/Genesis, were also made thereafter. The resolution of the game for the PC platform was MCGA, 320x200 pixels in 256 colors. As many other games in those years, it had rudimentary copy-protection in the form of a question displayed after loading the game, which asked some specification from the game manual.
The game modeled 4 aircraft; two attack helicopters, the Light Helicopter Experimental, LHX, based on the McDonnell Douglas-Bell LHX concept similar to the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche, and a Boeing AH-64A Apache, and two cargo helicopters, a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and a Boeing V-22 Osprey. It also had three different maps, Libya, Vietnam and East Germany, on which a multitude of missions are available.
All missions were available from the outset, so there were no "locked" missions. The player could also choose the mission difficulty from five different levels, ranging from "Easy" to "Very Hard". Missions had one primary and one secondary objective, out of which only the primary objective was critical to successfully complete the mission. They were explained in a pre-mission briefing, after which the player could choose both their helicopter and the weapons they were going to carry on the mission. Some missions required carrying cargo or rescuing POWs or downed pilots, in which cases only the Black Hawk and the Osprey helicopters were available. Weapons available ranged from AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-92 Stinger anti-air missiles to AGM-114 Hellfire and BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles.
After choosing one's helicopter and weapons, the player was put on an airfield, ready to fly. Curiously, one departed not from a helipad, or helicopter landing area, but directly from the middle of the origin runway. The game featured some destructible structures (hangars, fuel tanks, bridges, and in Libya missions dromedaries which would explode upon being hit), and portrayed Cold War enemy tanks, missile launchers, helicopters and airplanes, mostly Soviet in origin and all of them still in use in many countries of the world. All helicopters had state of the art IR and ECM countermeasures, including flares and chaff, which when used correctly, enabled the helicopter to avoid direct missile hits. Basic tactics were also included in the simulation, as flying lower to the ground tended to reduce the number of incoming missiles.
When taking hits, the helicopter would either suffer it with no visible consequence, or a component on the helicopter would be damaged and rendered inoperable. Such components include hydraulic systems, one or both of the engines, hard points (weapons), tail rotor (which was devastating), countermeasures, oil or fuel (which would leak out until you crashed), dash screens, and more rarely, the pilot could be injured, which was represented with a bullet hole or two in the cockpit windshield. Some of these would cause the helicopter to crash, while others were merely inconvenient. Additionally, the helicopter could explode mid-air, although the view always remained until the helicopter hit ground. All of this affected game play, and it was very important to survive the mission, since getting killed would effectively erase all game points and medals earned up to that moment with that specific profile. The best option, if unable to complete the mission, would be to try to go back to friendly territory, and land at an airbase, or at least beyond the enemy lines. In an emergency, the player could land their chopper in enemy territory, in which one of a number of scenarios would be reported. These included being captured by the enemy, and later traded on a POW exchange or escaping, simply walking out, picked up by friendlies, or being found and killed. Landing too hard or taking enough damage would also kill the pilot, depending on the difficulty setting.
All missions had a debriefing at the end, which displayed the final mission results, how much damage was taken by the helicopter, how much it would cost to fix it, and any medals awarded as a result of the mission. Medals available included the Purple Heart, Air Force Cross, and even the Medal of Honor. These awarded medals were also saved in the profile, along with any earned gamepoints.
The game featured a range of Soviet era hardware:
Soldiers - AK-47 armed soldier
Ground vehicles - T-72, T-80, BTR-70, BMP-2, BRDM-2
Radars - C&C vehicle, resembling the 1S91 "Straight Flush" radar vehicle of the SA-6 Gainful missile complex
Gun systems - ZSU-57-2, ZSU-23-4, S-60, S-23
Missiles - SA-6 Gainful, SA-7 Grail, SA-8 Gecko, SA-9 Gaskin, SA-11 Gadfly, SA-12 Gladiator, SA-13 Gopher, SA-14 Gremlin, SSC-4 Sepal
Aircraft - Mil Mi-8 Hip, Mil Mi-24 Hind D, Mil Mi-24 Hind F, Mil Mi-28 Havoc, Kamov Ka-50 Hokum, Mikoyan MiG-27 Flogger, Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot
- Brooks, M. Evan (June 1992). "The Modern Games: 1950 - 2000". Computer Gaming World. p. 120. Retrieved 24 November 2013.