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Cobra Gunship

Games Domain says it all about Cobra Gunship, an addictive side-scrolling shareware shooter developed by Elysium Digital, a small company who stopped making games after this one:

"[Cobra Gunship] is a surprisingly enjoyable [game]. It resembles the old classics Choplifter and Armor Alley, which were the inspiration for the development of this game.

The story of Cobra Gunship is as follows: As group of mercenaries called the Mercenary Alliance has seized oil fields in the Middle East and northern Africa. As the U.N. hems and haws, the countries whose oil fields have been taken form a group called the Small Country Alliance (no shortage of alliances around here!) and prepare to solve the problem themselves. They hire an elite team to help them, consisting of one communications expert, several explosives experts, and one helicopter pilot. The team's mission: To disrupt the Mercenary Alliance's operations until the U.N. gets around to sending in troops to reclaim the fields. You are the helicopter pilot on the team. You will receive instructions from your communications guy, and carry out your orders. Sometimes, you will get to use explosive experts on your missions.

The controls are very simple, you have buttons to go up, down, forward, backwards, turn around, and buttons for primary and secondary weapons. At the top of the screen is a radar showing where all the enemies, buildings, and saboteurs are. At the bottom of the screen it shows you your energy left, amount of ammo left, and the number of saboteurs on board the chopper. It's very simple but effective. The mission selection is semi "non-linear". There are branches of missions you can choose to play in any order. But to advance you must beat multiple missions. When you select a mission, you receive some background on the mission and your objectives for completing the mission. From this screen you can either accept the mission or go back to the mission tree.

There are thirty missions in the registered versions, but they become repetitive after a while. The missions usually involve blowing up convoys, oil tanks, or certain vehicles. Also, on a lot of missions you have to either pick up a saboteur and drop next to a building to blow it up, rescue saboteurs, or protect a base from destruction. At first these mission are really fun, but after the third or forth time blowing up the enemy base, it becomes boring.

For beating each mission you get a set amount of money, usually around $500. You can also collect money by destroying random enemies and picking up either the gold or silver dollar signs that replace the enemy. You can use this money after you complete the mission to buy accessories or upgrades to your chopper in five different categories. The five categories are engines, armor, utilities, primary weapons, and secondary weapons. Engines and armor are pretty self-explanatory--upgrading you engine makes you go faster and more maneuverable, and upgrading you armor gives you more "health" energy.

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Cobra Gunship screenshot
Cobra Gunship screenshot

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