Review: Super Huey UH-IX (Atari 7800)

In this review, things take off with this Atari 7800 game, Super Huey UH-IX. We find out how well this helicopter simulation FPS game plays.

This game was released in 1988.

You play as the pilot of an air force helicopter. You take off in a field and take on enemy helicopters.

There are three different modes. The most playable mode is the arcade mode. In this mode, the helicopter takes off automatically for you and all you have to do is take the controls and take down as many enemies as possible.

A second mode is the reality mode. In this mode, you have to fumble through the controls in order to get that bird off the ground before starting the level. If you get get that thing off the ground, my hats off to you because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what to do after you turn the engine on.

The third and final mode is the flight school mode. In this mode, you get told what to do to get the helicopter off the ground. I ended up getting stuck on the same stage of takeoff because getting the engine to a good RPM was a task I couldn’t crack.

So, this leaves one mode that is playable as far as I am concerned: arcade mode. After take off, you get to follow the radar as you take on incoming helicopters. The great news is the fact that you effectively get unlimited ammo. The bad news is that it is all about timing. The bullets gradually replenish themselves one bullet at a time. Obviously, you can fire these bullets at a way faster rate.

What helps a lot is the missiles. All you need to do is get the enemy in your crosshairs. As soon as you get a lock on, you can fire away. The missiles may not always hit, but the closer your crosshairs were to the target, the better the chances the missile will connect with the enemy. The added bonus is that enemies immediately become one hit kills once you start using the missiles. Just know that you can hold only 4 at a time and they take a bit to reload. So, between the two weapons, you do have options most of the time as long as you fire strategically.

Naturally, the enemy helicopters can fire at you. After a few well placed shots, you’ll find yourself plunging back to the ground and dying. While the game is fairly straight forward at first, the game gradually becomes more and more difficult. At first, you get a large number of enemies after you. To make matters more difficult, the game disables your radar after a while, forcing you to fight blindly. All games seem to end the same way, though: dying.

The game tallies up the number of kills you get. The more kills you can get, the better.

The problem with this game is that you really don’t have to move anywhere necessarily. It might help in avoiding getting hit, but beyond that, movement is really an afterthought for this game. It’s possible to move around by pushing the nose down or up, but you don’t move that quickly. As a result, this game quickly devolves into a turret gunner game more than a helicopter simulation game. Even the demo play shows next to no movement, so it’s not as though I’m playing it wrong as far as the demo is concerned (though the demo features pretty lousy play, truth be told).

One good thing about this game is that momentum is a thing built into the game. If you turn quickly, you can’t instantly stop. This certainly helps give the impression that you are airborne to begin with.

The downside is the fact that this game quickly gets repetitive. Fire at the enemy, turn, fire at the enemy, turn, fire at the enemy, die. Your reaction time can help you rack up the kills, but that’s about it. So, there really isn’t much for depth in the arcade mode. Because the other modes are so hard to figure out, it’s difficult to really experience the whole game to begin with.

Generally speaking, this game is either excessively difficult to understand, or boring and repetitive. This depends on what mode you want to play. Play in the one playable mode is pretty repetitive and ultimately lacks much depth.

The graphics are pretty hit and miss. The ground objects are rather strange. The enemy helicopters and the internal cockpit are decently rendered, though. The background is average. Since there seems to be only one level, though, there isn’t much to see beyond that.

There is some average music in the beginning, but the sound effects are half decent. Nothing really stands out to me in this game, though.

Overall, there really isn’t much to enjoy in this game. There is some momentum built into the movements of the helicopter, but beyond that, you’ll be getting a generic repetitive turret gunner game in the end. The graphics are hit and miss, but there isn’t much to them. The music in the beginning is OK, but the sound effects are fairly generic. Generally speaking, it’s not really an impressive play.

Furthest point in game: 73 Kills.

General gameplay: 15/25
Replay value: 5/10
Graphics: 5/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 54%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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