04
Mar
13

Paratrooper for DOS

Title Screen

Title Screen

Paratrooper was written by Greg Kuperberg in 1982 under the Orion software name. It is an arcade style game where you control a anti-aircraft turret and have to defend yourself from helicopters, jets and paratroopers. The game was written for the classic original IBM PC, so that limits the graphics to CGA and sound to PC speaker. The graphics whilst very simplistic, are easy to understand and animate very smoothly. The sound is some of the better PC speaker sound that I’ve heard, the music at the start and the sound effects sound quite good, even on the variety of different PC speakers that you find amongst the PC clones. You can also optionally connect an analogue  joystick for better and finer control.

Incoming!

Incoming!

Today I played the game with the keyboard within Dosbox. The keyboard controls are strange in that you press a key to rotate your turret, and another to stop the rotation when you want to fire your gun. This takes a bit of getting used to, and makes it very difficult to accurately shoot the jets bombs down. You also can’t use this control method to spray bullets as firing the gun stops its rotation.

Shooting Paratroopers

Shooting Paratroopers

Enemies come at you in alternating waves of helicopters and jets. The helicopters drop the paratroopers as they fly overhead and aren’t a threat themselves. Paratroopers will glide towards the ground on parachutes, if 4 guys land on either side of you they will form a small human pyramid to climb up and destroy your turret. It can be difficult to shoot down all the guys as the turret has limited speed, and limits on elevation. You can shoot the parachute from a paratrooper to make him fall on top of guys already on the ground killing them both. The jets simply fly overhead dropping deadly accurate bombs that you need to shoot down to survive. This is really hard to do with the keyboard as you only have to miss by a few pixels to be dead.

Shooting Helicopters

Shooting Helicopters

Paratrooper works on pretty much any PC unlike many older PC games. I found it was very fun, but because I was using the keyboard I pretty much never got past the first wave of jets. I’ve heard that using the joystick makes it a lot easier to shoot down the bombs. The game is great for a short burst of play, and you basically play for as long as you can survive, which for me is often not all that long!

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