Given the success of Defender in the arcade, it was expected that other companies would develop games along the same lines. Though the 2600 had gotten a port of Defender by Atari, the folks from Activision decided to create a game in the same vein but with their own original twist.
In Chopper Command the player controls a helicopter that is tasked with protecting caravans of trucks as they traverse the desert. Enemy jets and helicopters are out to destroy the trucks and it is up to you to ensure their safety. Each level starts with a wave of twelve enemies and twelve trucks (grouped in threes). A total of ten waves can be played and each wave brings fast and nastier enemies to deal with. Chopper Command looks and plays well. The graphics are beautifully done, with bright colours, no flicker, and nice animation. As in Defender, there is a “scanner” that lets you locate the enemies but the scanner is at the bottom of the screen. According to the manual, the scanner gives you a 5-mile (about 8-km) view so you can track both the enemies and the convoys. There are mountains in the background, a nice blue sky, and a sunset. Though you can do single fire by pushing the joystick button, holding the button down gives you a barrage of rapid fire that is quite helpful. Overall, the game is challenging and quite enjoyable. This game does look and play better than Atari’s Defender and it certainly represents one of the nicer horizontal shooter for they 2600.