Choplifter is a computer game that was developed in 1982 by Dan Gorlin and published by Brøderbund initially for the Apple II. Choplifter is one of the minority of games that were first published on a home computer and later published in the arcade. Another game that came in this way to the market, Lode Runner was. Choplifter was very successful in the market for video games and has therefore been ported to the most common systems.

Game Description

The player has to rescue prisoners of war by accreting them with a helicopter and settles again at a nearby base. Maximum can be transported at one time sixteen people. As an opponent, there are tanks and planes that can shoot the player. There are slight differences between the different ports of the game. In some versions, more than 64 UN delegates can be saved only 8 people climb in other versions of the helicopter at the same time. Sometimes drone air mines occur as additional opponents. The helicopter can fly horizontally to the left and right, as well as with forward visibility. Per round at least 20 hostages must be freed, in the SEGA Master System version 40

Home computer version 1982

The home computer versions had mostly hardware related only 16 colors and only one scenario. The Commodore VIC-20 version was even held only in monochrome yellow. In the Apple II version of the helicopter must be landed cautious.

A similar game is Fort Apocalypse ( Synapse Software, 1982).

Arcade version in 1985

Only in 1985, the arcade game by Sega was prepared. In addition to the much better graphics ( parallax scrolling and large color palette), there were different scenarios. In addition to a desert environment, there was a sea, a cave and a city mission. Also, background music and speech output were incorporated into the game. Only three arcade games were in 1985 more successful than Choplifter.


  • 2 SN76496 sound chips
  • 256 × 224 pixels ( 4/3)
  • Color palette: 1536
  • 8- way joystick; 2 buttons

Error in the game

The original Apple game ( and maybe other versions of the game on other platforms ) contain a move that can also be regarded as an error ( bug) in the game: In the game it is possible to create a situation in which there is no end of the game. The refugees usually run in the game in the direction of the helicopter when it lands. When the helicopter starts before the refugees can come on board and then a little further away lands towards the sanctuary, so the refugees can be slowly returned to the lifeboat station. With a number of these "jumps" of the helicopter, the refugees finally run back to the station without having to be a point is counted. Thus the game is not completed unless the helicopter is destroyed.


  • Choplifter II ( Game Boy, 1991)
  • Choplifter III ( Game Boy, SNES, 1993)

All games act Imperium in the fictional Bungeling. Another game with opponents of this place is Lode Runner.


  • Atari 5200 (1984)
  • Sega SG- 1000 (1985)
  • Atari 7800 (1987)
  • ColecoVision (1984 )
  • Nintendo Entertainment System ( 1986)
  • Atari XEGS
  • Sega Master System (1986 )
  • Commodore 64 (1982 )
  • VC 20 (1982 )
  • TI-99/4A
  • MSX (1985)
  • PC-DOS many different versions (often Shareware)
  • Game Boy as Choplifter II ( 1991)
  • Sega Game Gear as Choplifter III (1993 )
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System as Choplifter III (1994 )

Similar games

  • Air Rescue ( Master System, 1992)
  • ResQ (Mega Drive, 1994)
  • Apocalypse ( Amiga, 1994)
  • Airlift Rescue (PC, 1995)
  • Chopper ( MacOSX, 2004)
  • Sauce Lifter (PC, 2006)
  • Chopper (iPhone, 2009)
  • Chopper 2 (iPhone, 2010)