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Released: 1986

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Digital Integration

Developer: D K Marshall

Submitted by: Ian Marks

I had a bit of a thing about helicopters when I was a boy of ten. I’m not sure why. In real life I was scared of flying, but programmes like Airwolf and Blue Thunder were exciting, and I wanted to be part of that excitement.

Tomahawk was one of the ZX Spectrum’s best simulations. A sequel to Fighter Pilot by Digital Integration upped the ante and created a superb game. Not an easy game to pick up and play, but definitely worth any effort you could put into it.

It fulfilled all my helicopter fantasies, allowing you to hover, swoop and shoot at tanks and other helicopters. It was all quite advanced for the good old Sinclair machine. You had to fiddle with RPM and then adjust your collective to raise up you machine. As a child I didn’t understand what all this meant but I did know that too much RPM and you’d explode your engine.

Exploding your engines lead to one of my favourite aspects of Tomahawk. With your engines gone, you could still land in one piece. You could auto-gyro and use the air to power your rotors. Get it right and you could still walk away on the ground, get it wrong and ….. it would all be over.

I also liked the fir tree forests you could fly through, and the mountains you could wait behind to pounce on tanks. You also had some fantastic weapons. Rockets, heat seekers and machine guns. You could chase enemies across the ground firing a stream of bullets in front of you like something out of the A-Team.

In my time as a computer game fan I’ve played many other helicopter simulators. Gunship on the PC, Combat Lynx on the Spectrum, Desert Strike on MegaDrive. However Tomahawk remains probably my favourite.

It was one of those games you could get lost in… fly around a whole believable world in your heavily armed whirlybird. Those sort of games are always winners in my eyes.