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Airstrike 2

Airstrike II , by Divo Games is a downloadable 3D action game for PCs. There are actually 3 Airstrike games: Airstrike3D, Airstrike II, and Airstrike II: Gulf Thunder. It’s basically a vertically scrolling helicopter-based shoot ‘em up, but the angle is shifted so that you are half flying into the screen, and all the graphics are proper 3D. I actually downloaded this game because I thought that it might be a freely roaming helicopter game like Desert Strike, but it wasn’t – but that’s OK cos it was still good.

You’ve got tons of firepower: a main gun, missiles, and special weapons. There are several types of main gun that you pick up during the game and they are frankly preposterous (but cool), you even get a flamethrower! Missiles are as you’d expect, normal, homing etc. Special weapons are things like nukes, satellite strike, rocket strike, air support etc and they are all very powerful and fun. In time-honoured tradition you blow up everything in sight and occasionally power ups are released. Other power ups include repair, shield, and speed. Actually, I felt that there were almost too many power ups and as a result the game wasn’t very difficult.

airstrike2 desert levelYou control your helicopter with the mouse and keys, but I found the default keys a bit awkward as you have three fire buttons and three buttons to cycle your weapons, so you might want to redefine them or use a fancy joystick. As you complete the levels new helicopters are unlocked that have varying amounts of armour and speed, but I stuck with the basic one, as it was well balanced, until a better well balanced one was unlocked later.

The game has 18 levels but I think that it should have had more because I played into the teens somewhere during the demo, then bought the game only to play a couple more levels before finishing it! Luckily I got it cheap with my Real Arcade Game Pass. As well as the numerous types of enemies (airborne, ground-based, and sea-based) and destructible scenery, there were three big bosses during the game. The first and third ones were easy but the second one was really hard and I lost quite a few lives – ho hum.

airstrike2 lava levelSomething that annoyed me a little bit was I felt that sometimes it wasn’t clear when you had killed an enemy or indeed when you were killed. This is because, although most things exploded, they decided to make helicopters that were critically damaged just spin and fall to the ground, yours included. So you never got that feeling of properly destroying it and were thinking “hey that helicopter’s invincible – it’s still flying” when in fact it was just crashing slowly. You’ll see what I mean if you play the demo.

Also an odd thing happened a couple of times – the gameplay would slow down to only a few frames per second and stay that way for quite some time before suddenly “freeing” up again. Now, my PC isn’t slow and has a good graphics card, it was like some kind of game bug. It happened at the start of one particular level every time, even after I went in and out of the game! This was a bit annoying but perhaps an update is available to fix it.

The graphics are pretty good, colourful with great special effects on weapons and explosions although the overall look of the graphics is a tiny bit chunky and not ultra-AAA-modern, but that’s OK as it’s an Indie game.

Overall I enjoyed the game as a quick fun blast that didn’t present much challenge and I may play it again but there was nothing special about it either. If you can get this game cheap, then it’s probably worth going for.

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Binary Joy is a video gaming website. Containing news, reviews, articles, and even online games.