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Video Game / Take On Helicopters

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Czech game developer Bohemia Interactive Studios' Spinoff to the ARMA series. Powered by the same Real Virtuality 3 engine as ARMA 2, the game moves partly away from the war simulation of ARMA to a story about two brothers trying to rebuild Larkin Aviation, their family business on the brink of closure.

After Harry Larkin dies, and his son Joe Larkin is injured in a helicopter crash, it falls to his younger brother Tom to help Joe avert Larkin Aviation's decline. Together, the brothers will take on Seattle, and Take On Helicopters.


The main meat of the story campaign consists of the brothers' attempts to rebuild Larkin Aviation, where Tom takes on missions to raise cash for the company, interposed with flashbacks of Joe's tour in South Asia during ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead, giving players a taste of civillian and military utility helicopter operations. In addition, there's a challenge mode, a mission editor, and a free-roaming Free Flight mode, accessible anytime.


Take On Helicopters features the following tropes, in addition to shared tropes with the ARMA series:

  • A.K.A.-47: As per the course for ARMA, this is actually averted.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: After the first few missions playing as Tom, the game then shifts to Joe via a flashback to Operation Arrowhead.
  • Back from the Brink: The "Lark Rising" campaign starts with Larkin Aviation only weeks from closure, with only a single helicopter left.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Joe Larkin, to Tom. Where Tom is initially unsure of his abilities, it's Joe who encourages him.
  • Bland-Name Product: The Light, Medium and Heavy helicopters, which correspond to the MD-500, Twin Huey and AW101.
  • Competitive Balance: Present with the three class of helicopter, each of which has with its own strengths and weaknesses:
  • Continuity Nod: Plenty towards ARMA. Joe was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the events of Operation Arrowhead, and Brian Frost from the British Armed Forces and Private Military Contractors DLC shows up in several missions.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Michael Haydon, the client who buys Larkin Aviation's last Huey and later buys a stake in the firm. He turns out to have been involved in smuggling something from overseas, and attempts to coverup - it's implied that these are the Takistani WMDs from the ARMA II DLC.
  • Crew of One: Justified for Tom's early missions, which involve him using a light helicopter to transport single passengers, because Larkin Aviation can't afford to hire additional pilots for full crews.
    • Joe's missions mostly avert this, where he's flying Hueys with co-pilot and door gunners more often than not.
  • First-Person Ghost: Averted. You can use the 3rd person view to see yourself, and when in the cockpit you can see your hands and legs.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There is a flashback level where Joe is a soldier back in not-Afghanistan and has to fight off waves of not-Taliban after his chopper is shot down. It's pretty obvious that Joe survives this, since there are missions set in the present, after the war and there wouldn't be a game otherwise.
  • Gamebreaking Injury: In the Prologue, Joe flies off to help rescue a sinking ship and his chopper crashes, injuring his back so badly that he can't fly again.
  • Gunship Rescue: When Joe is shot down, and tries to make it to the extraction point, a Little Bird comes to give him close air support.
    • Joe himself also does this in several of his missions.
  • Hellish Copter: This happens to Joe twice: first, chronologically, when he's shot down in South Asia; the second is when he crashes in the Prologue.
  • Home Base: Larkin Aviation's heliport, where players can manage their birds, take refresher helicopter lessons, and go for missions.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The game was released in 2011. The Seattle missions are set in 2013 and the war flashback levels are set in 2012.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If Haydon and Vrana Corp hadn't been using Larkin Aviation to clean up their mess, the brothers wouldn't have gotten suspicious and blown the lid off them.
  • Nintendo Hard: As with ARMA, you have to emulate real-life helicopter piloting practices to win this game.
    • This even extends to preflight inspection: skip your preflight, and you might miss out on an equipment failure that'll kill you.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Subverted when Joe is shot down. He's forced to abandon his chopper and injured co-pilot, and when Brian Frost arrives to extract him, Joe demands they invoke this. Frost refuses, pointing out that they're in an unarmed chopper with no defensive ability. Joe does not take it well.
  • Private Military Contractors: A number of them show up:
    • As part of Vrana Corp's buy-in of Larkin Aviation, a number of Tom's missions involve supporting ION on training exercises.
    • Brian Frost, of the Operation Arrowhead DLCs, is a recurring character: he extracts Joe from the crash, and he's primary contact point with ION.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Vrana Corp ends up raising the suspicions of Larkin Aviation due to some of their dodgy jobs; in particular there was no way that Joe Larkin was going to let go of a rush job by Vrana forcing Tom to autorotate in due to engine failure.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The promotional material released by BIS led gamers to believe that the game would focus entirely on civilian helicopter operations. Then comes the flashback where Joe is shot down, and has to evade enemy troops and reach an extraction point on foot, bringing the game momentarily into ARMA.
    • This is not necessarily a bad thing, however.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted. Joe can swap his gear for enemy weapons and loot their ammo. After killing them, of course.
  • The 'Verse: Take On Helicopters is explicitly stated to take place in the same verse as ARMA, and Joe's missions take place during ARMA II.
    • Harry Larkin is stated to have flown in combat in Europe during 1985, the year Operation Flashpoint took place.
    • Likewise, Brian Frost returns from the Operation Arrowhead DLCs now as a VIP with ION, implicitly confirming that at the end of PMC he sided with Reynolds, killed Dixon, gunned down the UN investigation team and otherwise participated in a successful cover of the Takistani WMDs. On the plus side, Asano is alive.

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