• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatCommodore 64
DeveloperJorg Heyltjes

Main review

The pilot of the Super Cobra, a highly advanced if somewhat anachronistic World War 2 helicopter gunship, is on a super secret mission; he’s been tasked with flying his advanced, heavily armed battle craft deep behind the enemy’s lines in order to grab rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and bring him back safely to the allies to aid in their war effort. And yes, even though this is just a scrolling shoot ’em up this storyline really has been included within the game by German developer Jorg Heyltjes.

The original Super Cobra was released as a coin-op back in 1981, based on the same engine that drove arcade classic Scramble so the game mechanics remain pretty much identical; avoid colliding with the backgrounds, shoot ground bases and fuel canisters (the latter of which inexplicably refuel an airborne battle chopper when blown to pieces) and either dodge or destroy incoming ground-to-air missiles. The basis for this conversion of the Konami title of the same name isn’t the arcade release however, instead it’s based on an implementation released for the Philips Videopac console and, although most of the graphics have been updated for the C64 from that version, the landscapes themselves retain the blocky nature of the original and a very non-mountainous purple hue whilst the sound is kept to the bare minimum of a rotor noise and simple explosions.


Personally, one thing that I’ve always found just slightly unnerving in a game is when the developers build in cheat options; not so much the “key combination to get infinite lives” kind of system which is usually there for debugging purposes but when they’re actually offering the cheats as a selectable part of the game’s options menu. The implication of offering infinite lives or fuel is that the game in its default state is just too damned hard and in this particular case that’s true because whilst the straight, no nonsense shooting action has loads of potential, it’s backed up with a difficulty curve that is frustratingly close to being vertical. Gaming masochists and shoot ’em up fans alike will probably enjoy Super Cobra (and I get some perverse pleasure out of it myself, falling into both camps as I do) but those not into suffering for their art may well want to pass on this title or, if they are brave enough to download it, should at least experiment with the cheat options to see if they can make it any less forbidding.