Heli Strike 3D
| Heli Strike 3D

Colin Farrell might be a bit jagged on the eye and have a few fuzzy outlines, but he's a good-looking chap who knows how to entertain. We don't know if it's his Celtic charm or the half-bottle of Jamesons we downed at breakfast, but he's got that indiscernible 'it' factor.

Heli Strike 3D, too, looks a bit rough around the edges and, on occasion, lacks definition. But, just like Col, it's a brilliantly good performer (leaving Miami Vice out of the equation, anyway) and will keep you affixed to the screen until the action's over.

Another of Fishlab's 3D wonders, Heli Strike 3D is actually the title in the developer's stable that benefits least from the third dimension. You pilot an advanced attack helicopter and are tasked with single-handedly (and pre-emptively) blowing up a hostile nation's armed forces and brand new nuclear missile. Hmm, sounds familiar…

Anyway, it's enough of an excuse to embark on nine mission's worth of delivering death from above to the surprisingly well-prepared enemy army in a vertically-scrolling shooter that is, in essence, a tarted-up version of Space Invaders, and the many vertical scrolling shooters that followed in its wake.

Fishlab's hasn't really furthered the evolution of the arcade shooter any beyond dressing up the scenery and participants in pretty 3D visuals. There's no crucial part of Heli Strike 3D's repertoire that couldn't be replicated in 2D, and it certainly wouldn't play any differently. But importantly, the 3D graphics don't detract from the game, either.

Like Space Invaders, Heli Strike's action is simple in the extreme. Flying up the screen, you're faced with wave after wave of enemy craft. In this instance the enemies include other helicopters, various sorts of plane, tanks, guard towers, SAM batteries, gunboats and more.

Equipped with an upgradeable cannon, additional ammo for which you'll pick up along the way, it's fire first and ask questions later as you proceed through each level, shooting anything that looks like it might be even remotely explosive.

At the end of every short level you'll stumble across a boss machine that must be dealt with until you reach your goal, the nuclear missile bunker.

And that, ladies and gents, is it: Heli Strike really is that straightforward. There's no complex control system to get used to – while you can move forwards, backwards, left and right, you can't move outside the small theatre of action – and there's nothing as complex as lining up a bombing run, since everything in your path is despatched with your trusty cannon.

Then again, Heli Strike isn't really pretending to be anything other than an all guns blazing shoot-'em-up. Granted, we would have preferred to have played in an open environment within which you can move at will. And longer levels with a more varied challenge wouldn't have gone amiss, either.

But they're not major gripes, and the only one of those that we've got is the speed of the game, as it runs a bit too slowly. For a combat helicopter reminiscent of the Apache, it's surprisingly sluggish and you'll curse it on occasion.

Heli Strike 3D is an attractive and very enjoyable game that'll keep you entertained for a few hours, no questions asked. Sure, it's no Tom Hanks – and it's certainly no Galaxy on Fire, Fishlabs incredible space shooter – but then again we've always fancied a bit of rough.

Heli Strike 3D

No classic but no slouch either, offering more than enough fun and visual fireworks for the money