It has been a generation since the Quake of '98, when in the blink of an eye, most of Old Tokyo was reduced to smoldering rubble. Out of the wreckage, a new shining jewel, NeoTokyo, emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes, rising as the New World's center of commerce and technology. It is now the year 2015, and NeoTokyo is in danger once again. The name of Maxwell Giger, the ruthless leader of the international crime syndicate known as Nemesys, is being whispered fearfully from every neighborhood.
Alarmed at the growing corruption and ineffectiveness within the city's police department, Governor Koyo created a secret airborne strike force known only as The HeliCops. Commander Iemitsu Kabutogani, a decorated veteran of the NeoTokyo police, was the only one the mayor could trust to lead the special force. This undercover unit was assembled from unconventional sources, from law enforcement to high technology, preparing for the day when Giger would reveal himself. That day came all too soon. Before the HeliCops even had a chance to fly their first mission, Governor Koyo was brutally assassinated in a cowardly car bombing. This left NeoTokyo in a state of shock and Maxwell Giger more feared and more powerful than ever.
The Governor's death was only the beginning. The city is on the brink of collapse and Maxwell Giger has released a "wolf pack" of his most sinister allies to fan the flames of terror and confusion among the citizens of NeoTokyo. The HeliCops are the only hope to free NeoTokyo from the iron grip of Nemesys.
You are in control of the HeliCops, a secret organization of five top-notch pilots who are the last line of defense for NeoTokyo. Each pilot has different missions in the war, so you will need to play all five to complete the game. Once you have selected your pilot and mission, you choose a helicopter, ranging from the Ninja (lightly armed, but extremely maneuverable) to the Brutus, a heavily-armed flying fortress. Choosing the right chopper for the mission will often be the difference between success and failure. You are given an objective for each mission, ranging from collecting data pods to destroying truck convoys. There are lots of enemies that will try to distract you from your objective, both in the air and on the ground. You will need to keep your efforts focused on the task at hand to succeed. The first few missions take place in wide open areas and offer only a minimal challenge, but they quickly become more difficult -- some of the best missions have you maneuvering your helicopter between skyscrapers and even inside the buildings.
HeliCops has a simple flight engine with easy to learn controls -- the focus is on fun gameplay, not on accurate flight simulation. The default controls can be awkward to use, though, especially if you don't have a good joystick. You can reconfigure all the controls—after some experimentation, I found settings that worked for me.
In addition to the standard array of missiles and guns, you will also find power-ups hidden throughout the game which will give you everything from vital mission data to temporary invincibility. The weapons are easy to use, the guns and missiles automatically track enemy targets, but you can override the automated tracking whenever you want.
The graphics in HeliCops are okay, but do not compare well with other flight combat games. The missions with many buildings look good and the graphics for the night missions are great, but the ground is flat in areas where there is more open space and the texturing is bland. The graphics performance is also poor -- even on a high-end Pentium system the game often stuttered or jumped.
The cutscenes between missions are the best feature in the game; they tell the story of the struggle between the HeliCops and Nemesys and give you your mission objectives. The style is heavily based on Japanese animation -- the futuristic look really enhances the game.
The sound effects and music are the weakest features in HeliCops. The effects for gunfire and explosions are good, but the sounds of the helicopter engines are cheesy and the music tracks are annoying enough that I shut them off after playing a few minutes.
The manual is fairly thin -- but with the simple controls you do not need any more. It gives you background information on the pilots, specs on the five helicopters, pictures of the enemies you will encounter, mission briefings and information on the power-ups you will find during play.
Required: Windows 95, Pentium 100 or faster, 8 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, mouse, DirectX compatible sound and video
Recommended: Pentium MMX processor, 16 MB RAM, DirectX compatible joystick
The storyline in HeliCops is great and the easy controls and variety of missions make this game lots of fun for less-experienced gamers. The only drawbacks are the less-than-impressive sound effects and choppy display. Overall I enjoyed the game, but it could have been much better. I give HeliCops a score of 78 out of 100.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP