Before Elite got the licence for Airwolf, Ocean Software actually started producing the home computer conversions.
Although it was advertised for the Spectrum in the scan, it was infact also planned for the C64 until Elite Software won a legal battle to write the game.
Elite got their conversion released during 1985, and Ocean advertised their game at late 1984. It could be very possible that the game reached an advanced state.
Just how the game would have been is currently unknown… Possibly the game would have had a different aim and perspective compared to the Elite version.
It is possible that ideas from the scrapped Airwolf game were used in other games that Ocean did… possibilities could include the Helecopter section in Rambo II and in even Streethawk. This is speculation and my own possibilities.
The Spectrum version on World of Spectrum had the following:
Jonathan Smith reminisces: “Dan had the misfortune to be the programmer of Ocean’s ill fated version of ‘Airwolf’, a game based around the American television series about a helicopter that can fly dead fast, with guns.
Elite Software famously managed to acquire the official licience from under their rival company’s nose. Ocean only had a ‘handshake agreement’ with the distributor.
The project had to be cancelled and Dan’s work shelved.”
The developer who Jonathan referred to was Dan Hartley, who did Duet and also Daley Thompson on the ZX Spectrum. What is interesting is that Dan had a helecopter game released in the same year by Software Super Savers called Super Chopper. Could this have been the original Airwolf game, rebadged and modified?
Or maybe Helecopter Jagd was infact the original Airwolf game, held up and released after the storm had calmed under a different name. The loading screen looks very Airwolf like.
What is very clear now is that code work was actually started with the Ocean version of the game. It is still unknown who was behind the C64 version, it could have been Ian Thompson, Rawells, John Hutchinson, David Collier, David Selwood, Andrew Taylor or even Tony Pomfret.
At least for the Spectrum edition, we now know that the author re-hashed the game and released it as Super Chopper with Software Super Savers (Software Project’s budget label). What of the C64 edition though?
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It looks like it was Super Chopper al along: https://twitter.com/markrjones1970/status/611266482870321152
Yeah, I mentioned Super Chopper as a possibility to Mark many moons ago – then he did a reverse attribute check of the loading screen and found references to Airwolf hidden in the screen. Super Chopper came up, as it was around the same era and by a coder that had previously done a game for Ocean. Just updated the review, as I had forgot to confirm the Spectrum edition at least :) C64 version may not have gone down the same route :)