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In Choplifter! you must pilot a lone helicopter behind enemy lines in a daring attempt to rescue sixty-four United Nations diplomats being held hostage. Your mission is over once you have lost three helicopters or all the hostages have been rescued or killed.
The game starts with your helicopter parked at a remote post office which is serving as the headquarters for the rescue mission. After you lift off, the sideways scrolling screen follows you on your journey into enemy territory. Soon you find yourself over one of the four barracks being used to hold hostages. You blast it open with gunfire then land to pick up hostages that are running out.
Suddenly an enemy tank appears, firing its gun at the hostages and your helicopter. You quickly take off and drop a bomb on the tank. You carefully set back down near the barracks making sure not to land on top of any of the hostages.
After the helicopter has a full load, 16 hostages, you head back to headquarters. You land and the hostages run from the helicopter to safety. You lift off again and head back into enemy territory where more hostages are waiting for you to liberate them. But the enemy tanks will be waiting too, along with deadly jet fighters and guided missiles! ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide