3D Helicopter Simulator is a game released in 1987 by Sierra. Whoah, Sierra, the Space Quest guys. Well, and a lot more, and also a helicopter simulator game I know now.
The first thing that I notice is that games back at those time didn’t have a fancy tutorial or hugely useful manual with them. Well, they might have had a manual but it didn’t come with my collection. It’s no big deal in this case though as the controls are fairly intuitive. The arrow keys control the helicopter, space fires a missile and that’s about it really. There are more keys to, for example, change the viewpoint and the map size, but those functions are also accessible via the wildly useful menu bar on top.
The game offers 4 game modes: demo, flight, target and combat. Demo is of course rather boring. Flight and target are good for practice but combat is where it’s at obviously. In combat mode you are pitted against another helicopter in a vicious dogfight. Pressing space shoots a missile straight ahead, hopefully on its way to destroy the enemy. I say hopefully because I did not manage to hit my opponent. Helicopters are not really easy to keep under control, I’m afraid.
The game also supports a joystick (I sadly gave mine away roughly 5 years ago and haven’t missed it until now) and, rather impressively, netplay via null modem cable or modem. To be honest, I don’t think I could ever hit another helicopter nor do I want to spend the time practicing it, so I’ll pass on the multiplayer.
Score: I’m actually rather impressed with this first game I try out. While the helicopter is hard to control, I think it could have been something that would have sucked away my time if no better alternatives were available. I rate it a 6 out of 10.