Miss the big chill of the Cold War? This thumb-blistering over- head-view helicopter game puts you back in the Red Zone with aerial and ground-based commando combat. Stick to the air, though, because the foot action may trip you up.
A Communist outlaw uses drug money to purchase nuclear weapons for a right- wing terrorist onslaught. To nail him, you must fight his awesome army of tanks, jets, and soldiers in the air and on land with an Apache helicopter gunship and a team of three selectable commandos. Your ship is tricked out with a chain gun, Hellfire antitank missiles, 70 mm rockets, and Stinger air-to-air missiles. The commandos are armed to the teeth with different weapons, including a flamethrower, a machine gun, and a rocket launcher.
- If the action's too intense, hit Start to display the Intelligence Grid Map. If your mission has a time limit, it'll also stop the clock.
- Learning to dodge enemy shots is the only my you're going to survive commando duty.
Looks mat Kill
Red Zone's graphics have muscle with minor twitches. The opening cinematics feature awesome digitized pix of subs, jets, and missiles, with dual tone coloring in stunning blood red and black. The Apache's slick overhead perspective smoothly swings around 360 degrees to follow the copter's moves, but the immediate view is tight and feels cramped. The large character sprites in the top-down commando fights look great, but the troops move too slowly.
The sounds kick. The hard-rocking musical score dominates the audio, but there are plenty of ear-rattling explosions and gunshots, too.
The game's uneven controls are where this chopper stopper sputters. On the positive side, the Apache controls are very cool. You can quickly spin your aircraft, and there's a nifty, easy-to-read on-screen interface for status reports. For a more detailed visual look at your mission, switch to the Intelligence Grid Map that features a zooming satellite view.
Unfortunately, the imprecise commando controls put you at a painful disadvantage. Your people are already slow, but they're very hard to direct precisely, too. That makes your attacks against enemy troops lethal...for you!
- Watch your tail. That's the most frequent target for off-screen antiaircraft fire.
- Take out power stations to disarm robot guns.
- Shoot Stingers at the numbers to down the jets.
This firefight is fierce, but even though the fly-and-die action's primo, the character controls kill you. Red Zone may zone you out.