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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: May 29, 2002
Ever since playing Blue Byte’s Extreme Assault years ago, I have loved helicopter shooters. They generally involve broad scope, fast action, and a premium on dexterity to use every aspect of chopper maneuverability to achieve designated goals. Despite recent evidence demonstrated through Reality Pump’s excellent HeliHeroes that this niche is alive and well, there have been few releases along these lines in the last few years. Noticeably distinct from flight simulators, these more action-oriented arcade titles allow you to fly overhead and shoot everything that moves. Now that G5 Software has developed for the Russian company Buka Entertainment the new release Red Shark, will the fans of this kind of offering be satisfied?
The background story is a bit convoluted and unusual: In 2010, scientists toiling in secret Russian laboratories developed an operating model of a time machine, permitting the transfer of objects and humans back in time. Then in 2011, as a result of this discovery, the Russian secret service initiated and supervised a highly classified “Red Shark” project: the astounding aim of this effort was to accomplish a controlled “point correction” of history, preventing horrendous events from occurring in the past. The target period selected was World War II, with historians carefully researching the events that had terrible consequences, and at the same time military officers strategizing how to modify what happened to avert disaster. Your role is to execute their plans.
Red Shark thus places you at the controls of a Red Shark Ka-50 helicopter, with your ultimate assignment being to fight Nazi forces to change the future by altering the past. So you have a heavily armed modern helicopter, which would normally be able to overcome any foe in the 1940s, except that you often face overwhelming odds of enemy military vehicles and troops. Your training, skill, and reflexes are absolutely critical in your ability to accomplish the many tasks you are assigned to undertake. Because you are rather narrowly restricted to one vehicle while facing a variety of adversaries, your principal challenge is to figure out how to approach each foe in the most efficient way.
There are 15 missions in the past to accomplish, each of which resulted from careful planning by the Russian special forces; the missions are more sophisticated than simple “shoot-everything that moves” scenarios. The missions involve defending populated areas, escorting friendly convoys, killing high-ranking enemy military officers, stopping parachuting troops, supplying military support for your forces, and thwarting your adversaries’ plans. Before each mission, you get to see a detailed mission description, a list of required mission objectives, and a list of optional secondary objectives. To complete missions successfully, you must fly around and shoot a lot, with minimal opportunities for strategic decision making. Whenever you finish a mission, you not only are usually decorated but also get to open up two others, allowing you some choice as to what to undertake next.
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