Malcolm Owen On March 29, 2003 at 8:39 am

Back to the Future and films like it have intrigued many people with the concept of changing the present by altering the past. A great idea, and if it were implemented into real-life military and domestic situations, it would throw open not only a world of opportunities for both good and evil purposes, but also cause the possibility of the creation of paradoxes (The biggest one to come to mind would be Lister from TV’s Red Dwarf not having parents, but in fact does something later in his life that forces his own birth in the past. If you do not understand it, look at the later series before Red Dwarf gets recreated.) Red Shark takes this idea and forms the question "In the future, if the technology existed and could be implemented easily, would you pilot a helicopter for the Russians, travel back in time and start blowing stuff up in World War II?"
This final question is supposed to be a way of changing the world, but really it is just an excuse to use an over powerful chopper against many small targets for your own self-gratification. This isn’t a bad thing at all, I mean we all like a bit of senseless violence and wanton destruction once in a while, and being the bully or overpowering warlord sometimes can be fun, such as in Red Shark.

The helicopter is flown in the manner of an FPS rather than a true to life simulation, utilizing the WSAD-Mouse method of movement and aiming, along with Q and E for going up and down, but quite frankly of these two extra keys, you will only want to use the one for "Up", as you are constantly aiming at the floor, and if you move forward whilst doing this, you will start moving towards the ground more. In a normal flightsim this is nothing to worry about, but in this arcade-experience full of external shots, it becomes a bit annoying to rise up and up and up to avoid hitting the floor and/or the trees.
The levels themselves seem to be pretty empty for the most part. Forests of trees are sparsely populated, and the bases that require attacking appear to be home to about 20 people judging by the amount of buildings and vehicles that we are required to take out. Another thing about the levels is that they appear to have some slightly simplistic construction qualities, such that trees look almost identical and the vehicles and buildings have so little detail that you could almost call them "moving boxes on wheels!"
It seems that all enemies in the game are really bad shots. They all aim at where you are, not where you are going to be, so the lesser known tactic of "flying forwards" actually allows you to avoid enemy fire, because they are all too dumb to fire ahead of you. Even if you stayed still, you have to be hit by a large number of shots to actually be downed. Maybe this is a ploy to make you think you are a better player than you really are and to continue playing more to boost your ego. However, even with this simple AI, there is still some challenge from the times when the sheer numbers of people firing at you make up for the lack of intelligence.
Surprisingly Multiplayer is not available, which is sad as this really could work in a weird helicopter deathmatch kind of way. If it were included this would be possibly a much better game, and support for it would be much greater.

The UK version comes with a DVD of "Desert Thunder", a film about a retaliatory strike against an Iraqi president "Ali", there’s fighting and more fighting, and guys, and fighting again. The film is nothing to write home about, although I did learn that Richard Tyson was in Kindergarten Cop, which could be handy to know. Bundling the DVD with Red Shark is a nice idea, and it certainly fills up a few hours if you are bored.

Red Shark is a good game for those of us getting in touch with our inner bully, and is especially good for people who want to blow stuff up, and the bundled DVD allows for a weekend to be dedicated to the game and war-based media, but don’t look here for anything that is heavily in-depth or something historically accurate.


Air-based FPS, simple but nice


Cloned Trees, Lots of Space, Simple Buildings


It’s accurate, with a nice sound


If you feel the urge, get it, you may like it,
(This score does not take into account the bundled DVD)

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