Exhibit - Gunship (1987)

Commodore Amiga version

Rob "Bomber" Henderson remembers:

"What can you say about this one? Only "classic". After being played to death & beyond on the Spectrum, I was ecstatic to find Gunship released on a budget label for the Amiga. Even with the release of Gunship 2000, I still returned to the original Gunship for a bit of low-level Commie bashing, and like F-19 Stealth Fighter (1989) , I was still returning to this sim right up to the point where I progressed onto the PC.

You had to battle your way through various campaign regions and build up a career in the US Army, earning medals, promotions and even ribbons to show how many separate wars you had been involved in.

The controls were mind-blowing at first and the manual was immense - it was easily as long as all the other manuals for all the other sims put together, but it didn't miss a thing.

The weapons were quite simple to use and weren't the usual one hit wonders. Some targets needed a few hits to be destroyed and the enemy helicopters could also evade your AIM-9 missiles. The enemy helo's were Mi-24 Hinds.

There were meant to be Blackhawks and Loach's about, but I never saw any. This was also my first serious introduction to Soviet AFV's, tanks and SAMS and the modern battlefield. The sim re-created the TADS targeting system where the cannon is aimed by a monocle attached to the pilots helmet - where he looks, the gun looks.

It was great in combat, both moving mud and doing AA. It is the first sim I remember having both decoys and jammers plus a RWR that gave an accurate idea of threats and missiles. Battle damage was varied and the systems damage display screen was so detailed it had to be shown on a separate screen from the cockpit.

Gunship by Microprose (1987)

Also, the cockpit allowed you to look left and right, and along with the TADS system, this enabled you to attack targets at your 3 and 9 o'clock positions. The FARPS were a great idea and helped win many battles.

The mission generation was endless with a primary and secondary to complete and the briefings had everything you needed for the coming mission. It also had basic radio comms, with password and countersigns being used during the battle - give the wrong response twice and you start getting hunted by your own side! You also had to contend with bad weather, turbulence and night flying.

It was also the first sim where you had to start the engines from scratch, plus you could also have the 'fun' of auto-rotating - basically gliding in a helicopter - very useful when both engines are out to missile hits!

You also had to worry about weight restrictions due to temperature in the combat zone, plus you had the option of jettisoning the external stores to loose weight if you got into trouble. The theatre of operations were Vietnam ( the first combat tour ), Central/South America, Middle East and Europe. This was the first sim that I completed at every level, and I also completed a career completely in each theatre, aswell as a career made up of tours in all the campaigns. You also had the training ground in the USA to practice all the required skills of piloting this magnificent machine.

After I had progressed onto the Amiga, a company re-released Gunship on a budget label for the Amiga. It was as good on that as it was on the Spectrum and I enjoyed every minute of flying time on it.

Even with the release of Gunship 2000, I still returned to the original Gunship for a bit of low-level Commie bashing, and like F-19 Stealth Fighter (1989), I was still returning to this sim right up to the point where I progressed onto the PC. "