HELICOPTERS are not flown like aeroplanes. This is why choppers have their wings on the roof, spinning around at 280 rpm. The angle at which the blades hit the air - known as the collective - controls the amount of lift. By using the joystick you control the overall tilt of the rotor blades - the cyclic - and this moves the 'copter forwards, backwards, left and right.
This is made easier on the Amiga by having an overlay which reminds you of the controls needed. Then there are all the weapons to control and select, because not only are you expected to fly the thing without crashing, but you have to shoot lots of people at the same time.
Before you climb into your $8m dollar chopper you select your duty assignment and determine the level of difficulty by specifying weather conditions and troop strengths.
After a short briefing you can decide whether or not you want to be chicken and call in sick. If you choose to accept the mission, you have the opportunity to become a hero, earn medals and probably get killed in action.
Start the engine, engage the rotors, increase the collective, put out the cat and cross your fingers.
After checking the map you can select your target and head off in the right direction. You have the usual split cockpit display with slightly more than half the screen taken up with dials and warning indicators.
The view out of the window is a solid 3D display, but not to the standards we Amigans.
For a computer with such capabilities the landscape is bland and slow. Enemy planes are simple prisms which move casually past you. All in all it is very disappointing.
The manual, on the other hand, goes well beyond the call of duty with details about everything and anything.
Four battle scenarios and a training mission are supplied. These tastefully chosen warzones range from shooting communist guerrillas in South East Asia to invading Grenada all over again.
Sound effects are satisfactory helicopter-type noises and simple biffs and bangs whenever things explode. The opening-credits are well worth seeing and hearing - look out for them next time you are in a shop. And give a good test before parting with your money because my review copy, which by all accounts was a full release version, crashed several times.
As for realism, well I have never flown a helicopter, so apart from the crashes I cannot be sure. Everything seems to be sensibly done, but after playing Gunship for a while I have no urge to actually go out and fly a helicopter.