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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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John Cook
Chris Bourne

If you've been wondering why you haven't seen the Oliver Twins down the local Asda recently, we'll tell you why. You see, they've locked themselves away for the last four months to write their latest Opus Majestica Operation Gunship - not to be confused with Operation Wolf and Operation Thunderbolt (the Taito coin-op blockbuster), Operation Overlord (the WWII Nazi-buster) or just plain Operation Appendectomy (the NHS gutbuster).

Well, so satisfied were Mr and Mrs Codemaster with the result, they almost chucked this out at full price - but out of the kindness of their hearts they decided you could have it for less - £2.99 to be exact. But is it any good?

Hummmmm... do you remember a game called Raid on Bugelling Bay where you controlled a helicopter from a top down view and whizzed around, shot things up and tried to win a war? Well, combine it with that Atari Games classic, Chopperlift, where you flew a helicopter from a side view, blasting buildings and picking up hostages, and whaddya get - oooh look Mum - Operation Gunship.

Well what the hell - there isn't anything new on this earth anymore, and when you get down to playing the thing, Operation Gunship isn't at all bad.

On each level, you have to pick eight prisoners (some are in buildings that you have to bomb first, while others are just hanging out on the island) and take them back to your home base. Problem is, when you do pick them up, you have to hover over them for a bit while they climb up the ladder. And while all this is going on you've got assorted tanks, emplacements, helicopters, etc, lobbing their loads in your general direction (kerpheweee!!).

If (when) you get hit, your armour level - shown by a gauge on the right of the screen - goes down. If it reaches zero, that's it...Game Over. There's also a fuel gauge on the left and that acts as a timer. Run out of fuel and that's it too - although you five in all) is dead easy. You can ignore the enemy and just pick up the boys, no problem. The second level is another matter. By then the opposition is very angry indeed, and has called for reinforcements (in the shape of jet fighters) and re-armed with heat seeking missiles. This get refuelled and rearmoured when you complete a level.

In fact, the first level (there are makes the game very hard work. Challenging even. It's not as if you can be too liberal with the explosive substances yourself - as you have limited supplies - although you can pick more up if you go back to base.

So there you have it - a competently programmed game which, although unlikely to have you breaking out in an adrenaline induced sweat, has a certain addictiveness and definitely has enough playability and testability to justify the minor investment involved.

Label: Codemasters
Author: Oliver Twins
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: John Cook

Above average chopper fun (ooer).