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Video Game / LHX Attack Chopper

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LHX Attack Chopper is a helicopter Flight Simulator released in 1990 for the PC based on the Light Helicopter Experiment from the 1980s, but would later get ported to the Sega Mega Drive amongst other consoles.

The player is a pilot in the US Army Air Cavalry and can select one of four helicopters as well as a specific loadout to undertake a wide range of missions in three theatres of war (Libya, Southeast Asia and Central Europe). Known for its Nintendo Hard difficulty, Copy Protection measure and player character profiles that are deleted if the player should die.

The player is able to attain medals and higher ranks upon scoring certain amounts of points over the course of missions and can select any mission from the get go.


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LHX Attack Chopper provides examples of:

  • Copy Protection: When loading the game up, questions are asked which have answers in the game manual.
  • Deletion as Punishment: If you die, your savegame is deleted. Even when you abort the mission in enemy territory, there's a chance that you can be killed trying to escape or just plain wind up missing in action.
  • Dual Mode Unit: The V-22 Osprey has helicopter and airplane controls, as it operates a tilt rotor system. The plane controls are difficult to maneuvre, as the game's controls are optimised for helicopters. It's best to line the chopper up in the direction you want to fly with helicopter controls and use airplane controls to fly straight, only changing direction in helicopter controls.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: In addition to the five difficulty levels, the three locations vary in difficulty with Europe being far and away the hardest. The game's difficulty spikes with each increase in rank the player attains, with Colonel being insanely hard.
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  • Escort Mission: The B2 Support mission, where you have to fly along the route of a B2 bomber and take out enemies along the route.
  • Excuse Plot: Each theatre of war has no overarching plot arc and each mission has a small briefing text telling you what your mission is and a smaller debriefing text depending on whether your mission succeded or failed and, in the latter case, what happened after it failed.
  • Failed Future Forecast: Set during the Cold War, the Soviets are the enemy in the European scenario and Vietnam is still considered hostile in this game.
  • Gunship Rescue: Some of the missions allow you to rescue troops in the field.
  • Guide Dang It!: The supply run missions. There's no indication given how to actually drop the supplies to the troops.
  • Killed Off for Real: You die and your save game gets wiped.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Damage taken to your chopper if hit can have one of many effects. Sometimes there'll be no damage, sometimes something minor you don't use will be damaged, or you might lose your hydraulics, engines, tail rotor or even be hit yourself.
    • Ending the mission behind enemy lines will result in a few scenarios for the player. Either you make it back to base, get captured by the enemy and either escape or are exchanged, or outright killed by the enemy.
  • Made of Explodium: Everything. Simply by shooting a vehicle, building, man, tree or camel enough times, it will explode and leave a smoking hole in the ground.
  • Missile Lock-On: How most missiles are guided in this game. Select a target, get into effective range and fire.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is very difficult, especially as you advance in rank. Doesn't help that being shot down will result in your savegame being wiped, forcing you to start again.
  • No Fair Cheating: Using the Ctrl-R cheat to reload your chopper's weapons will reset any points earned in that mission to zero.
  • Oh, Crap!: The difficulty setting shows a pilot in the cockpit. On the easiest difficulty, he is shown with a Clint Squint and his eyes widen as you up the difficulty setting. At the highest setting, he turns towards the camera with his mouth and eyes wide open in terror.
  • Player-Guided Missile: The TOW missiles. You can switch to a Missile Cam to see where they're going.
  • Rank Up: The player starts as a 2nd Lieutenant, advancing in rank as more points are scored.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: The enemy can do this to you. The bullet holes are even shown on screen. Being hit once is survivable. Getting shot again will probably cause you to bleed out. If you make it back to base, you'll get a Purple Heart for it.
  • Super Prototype: The titular LHX (Light Helicopter Experimental) is the RAH 66 Commanche, which was infamous for being in Development Hell for decades before being cancelled. In the game, it's the best choice of helicopter except for missions that require cargo space.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Yeah, go ahead and fire a missile at that camel.
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