by Costa Panayi, Des Fildes
Vortex Software
Crash Issue 12, Jan 1985   page(s) 76

Producer: Vortex
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £5.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Costa Panayi

Sequels are all the rage, and why not if they work well? Vortex here are following up their jet fighter 3D game TLL, but there are a few important differences to the former game. For a start off Cyclone features a helicopter (also the rage at the moment?) and you are not zapping round dots, but more usefully rescuing people from outlying islands and collecting valuable boxes by using the winch and cable from the helicopter.

As in TLL the playing area is quite large and a map is provided, which shows the Base island set in the middle of a sea dotted with groups of small islands. Once again, author Costa Panayi has drawn in the detail with a blocky shaded 3D which describes the islands, the relief on them, the buildings, and the shadow of the machine itself on the ground.

Apart from the view of the playing area (which can be seen from the North or the South point of view as the player desires), there are the essential instruments done as bar codes which are an altitude indicator, speedometer, fuel and time left. There are also two other important indicators, one for aircraft and one for wind force. In Cyclone you will encounter low flying Jets (hanging around from the base in TLL no doubt) with which you may well collide. On the map a red cyclone can be seen weaving around the area. In its proximity the disturbance will affect handling of the helicopter and may cause you to crash. Winching up crates or people is done by centring the machine over the object and descending to a low level, wereupon the winch will automatically lower the cable and automatically collect the object.


Control keys: 1/Q up/down, O/P left/right, X for forward, M for map
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: very responsive, well positioned
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: excellent
Sound: very good
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
Screens: scrolling
Special features:

Cyclone sports many of TLL's features such as the fab graphics but the main difference this time is that you fly a helicopter instead of a jet. The style of play is very similar to that of TLL. As sequels go I felt there wasn't enough difference between the two games to warrant your getting Cyclone if you've already got TLL, though Cyclone is still a good game within its own right. It's got all the makings of a fab game but in my opinion it is just not exciting enough - maybe the introduction of a fire button would have helped (I'm a sadist you see). Overall, a good game but lacks real advances over TLL.

After TLL my expectations were none too high for this latest release Cyclone, because I was one of those who though that the former game lacked in content and things to do. I was proved to be wrong Cyclone has much more content with plenty to keep you busy and interested for quite a while. Graphics seem to be an improvement over TLL with more 3D depth and shadowing. Normal and bright functions on the computer were hardly used to give the illusion of 3D, instead ink shadowing has been used and seems to work far better. The helicopter is well drawn and detailed. Rotor blades whizz round and give an excellent impression of rotating movement. One thing that I must say that has worked exceptionally well is the cyclone effect, giving your helicopter a rough ride. I like the addition of jets whizzing past you on occasion, although it can be confusing to know which way to go to avoid them. Colour and sound have been used realistically. Overall a far better game than TLL with much more content and playability - a distinct improvement.

The helicopter is very good, the way the rotors go, and it's very detailed, in particular the shadow on the surface of the sea or ground is excellent. I also like the way you have to wrestle with the controls when you are near the cyclone - very realistic. The use of the North and South views is useful, especially when boxes are hidden on a beach under a cliff, and this forces you to search for them a bit more. The graphics are very good and make playing the game more interesting. Collecting refugees and crates is actually more exciting than zapping dots was in TLL, but generally I don't think it is very addictive because there isn't enough action involved.

Use of Computer: 81%
Graphics: 84%
Playability: 76%
Getting Started: 79%
Addictive Qualities: 73%
Value For Money: 81%
Overall: 79%

Summary: General Rating: Considered to be more fun than TLL and very playable, but perhaps lacking a little in lasting appeal.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 13, Apr 1985   page(s) 45

Roger: Whoopee! A game that starts with a helicopter take-off sequence and flight that I can actually manage without theoretical hospitalisation - that came later! Crashing programs on my own high-mileage equipment or, even worse, Peter Shaw's much-sabotaged and hybred in-office recyclable Speccy was far more frustrating than launching Cyclone's rescue chopper in its urgent hunt for pain-relieving drugs.

This moderately three-dimensional saga requires pilotage of the aforesaid whirlybird in and around a seascape full of islands - don't worry, there is a map - to collect a vital five crates of medical supplies before the nasty cyclone upsets accident statistics, particularly those relating to, er, helicopter pilots. Don't be bored by the meteorological overtones, though, because we're not looking at weather forecast yawn quotients - this is what I call action!

Unoriginal it may be, but as one disaster area playing in another, I can only claim to have had a good time . . . 3/5 HIT

Ross: This is rather too similar to TLL, offering very little that's new. The playing area is more dispersed and there's some extra shading to show the cliffs. There are also some planes flying about, but so what! 0/5 MISS

Dave: Good use of the graphics techniques developed for TLL, but there doesn't seem to be enough going on to give it a really lasting appeal. 2/5 MISS

Dave: 2/5
Ross: 0/5
Roger: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 34, Jan 1985   page(s) 37


Memory: 48K
Price: £6.95
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Protek

The violent scenario of TLL has been replaced by an altogether more humanitarian mission in the sequel, Cyclone. Rather than provide you with a swing-wing Tornado, Vortex has obtained a nippy little helicopter, and your task is not to bomb the bases but collect vital medical supplies in the face of a colossal hurricane.

The playing area is large, an expanse of ocean dotted with islands which are being evacuated. A map option shows the overall picture, and charts the centre of the cyclone, which can move around with frightening speed.

While the graphics are based firmly on the very successful TLL, with 3D-style landscapes and small houses, they are not as pleasing to the eye. The game has several new factors which, however, more than make up for the deficiency.

There is more animation; villagers on the islands wave at you, and the helicopter has a hook and line with which to winch up the crates of supplies. The rugged terrain of the islands may cause you to crash, but far more dangerous are the other aircraft on the flight lanes between the islands, and the cyclone itself. While producing no apparent effect on the landscape, if you stray too close to the epicentre it will buffet you this way and that. You will be lucky to escape with your life, let alone with sufficient fuel to make it to a landing pad.

An extra bonus is the option to view the landscape from both North and South. The crates of supplies will only be visible from one direction, so you must explore the coastline carefully to find the boxes. The minute danger threatens it is all too easy to forget which way you are heading and fly straight into the eye of the storm.

While offering less opportunity for flashy aerobatics than its predecessor, Cyclone presents more problems and is more satisfying to play. The graphics are still effective, if less complex, and the concept of battling against the weather as well as your own cackhandedness is novel and welcome.

Gilbert Factor: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 40, Feb 1985   page(s) 40

MACHINE: Spectrum
PRICE: £6.95

From Costa Panayi, the programmer who brought you the chart-topping Tornado Low Level, comes Cyclone - destined to become just as popular. It's already entered C&VGs top ten.

The basic scenario of Cyclone is pretty simple. You pilot a helicopter on a mercy mission - flying around a group of islands threatened by a deadly storm - a cyclone.

Your job is to enter the danger zone, search the various islands for inhabitants awaiting rescue and pick up five crates packed with essential medical supplies. Then you must get your cargo back to base island and safety. There are low flying aircraft to avoid, too.

The graphics are excellent and the screen display extremely well presented. You get a main view of the action - your helicopter and its surroundings. You can also switch views, using a "view" key, from north to south.

Instrumentation includes, speed, altitude, fuel, time remaining - plus a wind speed gauge with "danger" indicator which flashes when the cyclone is getting too close for comfort.

Once you've collected all five crates - and some people, you get bonus points for them - it's back to base to prepare for a new mission.

Cyclone is a simple concept executed with style. It is extremely addictive and fun to play too. Great value!

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 9/10

Award: C+VG Game of the Month

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Big K Issue 11, Feb 1985   page(s) 23


MAKER: Vortex Software
FORMAT: cassette
PRICE: £6.95

What's with this helicopter craze? The damn things are whup-whupping all over the place. Blue Thunders, Airwolves, Whirlybirds (oops, that was a while back). Whatever, if it's got rotor blades and it flies it's a star. So, Cyclone is a helicopter game - not the first and not the last, but certainly one of the best.

The scenario is a small group of islands somewhere in an unnamed ocean. You have control of a lone chopper (or three, if you count the number of 'lives' you have) which you take island-hopping in search of five crates of medical supplies. However, wandering about the area is a nasty cyclone. As it nears your position the wind strength increases and the helicopter becomes downright difficult to control. As if that wasn't enough, rogue aircraft hurtle in from nowhere on kamikaze missions to take you out if you happen to be in the way. We're talking mid-air collisions here, friends.

Assuming you can live with all these various threats to life and limb you take off on your mission, lifting off from your base on.. uh.. Base Island. A 'shadow' on the ground gives a good indication of your height, Calling up the map screen you choose a heading and take off into the wild blue yonder, keeping a close watch on your wind force indicator (or map screen) for the advancing cyclone. Locating an island, you check it out closely for the all-important crate. If it's there you go into a hover and descend, the grappling hook deploying automatically at a certain height and winching up the prize.

Oh yes, you may see some tiny figures desperately waving at you. These are survivors. Rescue them for bonus points - but only if you have time. Those five crates, of course, take absolute priority over a few natives stupid enough to get themselves caught in a cyclone.

Fuel and time are both limited and there will be the need for touching down to re-fuel at frequent intervals. Landing the chopper is not easy and needs a very delicate touch.

Collect all five crates and return to Base Island for a new mission.

In Cyclone Vortex have employed the same smooth-scrolling 3D-effect landscaping first seen in Android 2 and developed in T.L.L. The small but highly detailed chopper flies convincingly over green, hilly islands and wave-flecked sea. It responds well to the controls, turning in a lifelike manner.

On-screen displays monitor altitude, speed, fuel, time, direction and wind force. A useful additional feature is the ability to change your viewpoint by 180°. There is also a warning of approaching craft.

Altogether a neat game that scores especially high on both addictiveness and playability. A little too similar to T.L.L. in appearance, maybe, but unique enough for that not to worry me.

Graphics: 3/3
Playability: 3/3
Addictiveness: 3/3
Overall: 3/3

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Personal Computer Games Issue 15, Feb 1985   page(s) 32,33

MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
CONTROL: Keys, Kemp, Sinc, AGF
FROM: Vortex, £6.95

According to the ads this game will take the country by STORM - geddit? Certainly the wind blows fiercely in this challenging follow-up to Tornado Low Level.

So much so that the helicopter you pilot can get blown off course, and possibly even dumped onto the ground. It all depends how close you are to the centre of the cyclone which is threatening a group of very pleasant looking islands.

Your mission is to locate and pick up crates of medical supplies, five in all, and return them to home base. The trouble is finding them. As in TLL, your aircraft is seen flying over a scrolling 3D landscape. But this time the area is much bigger. There are a total of 14 islands separated by expanses of ocean and it would take about five minutes of flying time to visit all of them.

But visiting isn't enough. Each island must be explored in search of a crate and this means repeatedly using an 'alternative view' which allows you to look at objects (eg. houses, cliffs) from the other side to see if there's anything hidden behind them.

By the time you've covered an island or two, you'll be running low on fuel and must find a base to land on. There's also that cyclone to worry about. You can monitor its progress (and your own) on a map of the islands. When it starts approaching you'd better clear out, or make an emergency landing.

Meanwhile a clock is ticking away. If you haven't completed your mission within about 15 minutes, you must start again. If you do succeed, you get another set of crates to pick up in trickier locations.

Although Cyclone looks similar to TLL, there are enough improvements to give it a character of its own. The game is one of exploration and strategy rather than pin-point control.

There's plenty of attention to detail, including a useful range of indicators on the right and bottom of the screen. I also like the people who stand and wave at you on the islands - a pity you can't do anything to help them, really.

Still, this is an impressive piece of programming and an addictive game.

From the moment the helicopter first takes off, with superbly animated whirling rotor blades, to the final crash, the game is enthrallingly addictive. Although derivative of Vortex's previous games, it is enjoyable in its own right. Control of the helicopter is easily mastered but finding all five crates is still difficult, especially with the ever-present threat of the cyclone and reckless pilots.

The 3D graphics are superb with brilliantly detailed houses, hills and beaches sweeping beneath you.

Addictive and frustrating, Cyclone is an excellent game an highly recommended.


This is an excellent game; it combines a good blend of arcade action and strategic planning. The graphics are drawn in a solid perspective format which allows you toggle between two views of the action, so you never need to be unsure of your position. Your helicopter has a shadow which is extremely useful for knowing your exact position in relation to the ground.

Overall, the graphics are slick, without any noticeable colour clash and the 3D effect really does enhance the realism of this game. Sound is functional, with a rasping noise accompanying the movement of your helicopter.

Cyclone is very addictive, very attractive and surely the best game from Vortex.


I've always fancied myself as a helicopter pilot so I really enjoyed playing this. The graphics were good (despite the angular regularity of the islands). The only question I can ask is why are there so many aircraft in a cyclone zone?


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 5/10
Originality: 6/10
Lasting Interest: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Award: PCG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 1, Jan 1985   page(s) 59,61

Spectrum 48K
Vortex Software
Rescue Game

Helicopter games are all the rage at the moment what with Combat Lynx and Tomahawk - even Fort Apocalypse. But Cyclone from the people who brought you Tornado Low Level is a breath of fresh air. It has the excellent graphics of TLL, with a much more praiseworthy motivation for the action.

You control a helicopter which has to recover medical supplies from islands in the path of an advancing cyclone. The screen display gives you a god's-eye view of a helicopter crouching on the pad. Press I to take off, O to P to rotate. The right-hand side of the screen shows your altitude, fuel, speed and direction - by pressing M you can call up a map which shows you the islands, the cyclone and a real-time plot of where you are.

Naturally, the air is full of planes fleeing the oncoming cyclone so watch out you don't collide with them. Your helicopter also becomes difficult to control as the windspeed strengthens. As you wrestle with the controls, the urgency of your mission, is emphasised by the pathetic figures below you, waving for help. Unlike Choplifter, the pathetic figures don't seem to leap into your egg-bearer when you put down but the goal of this game is to find five crates of medical supplies.

You can switch from a North view to a South view when searching for crates. You hover directly over a crate to winch it aboard, and refuel at nearby landing pads to keep flying.

You have to land very gently indeed and this can be tricky when battling headwinds.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 18, Apr 1985   page(s) 96

We had Combat Lynx, then there was River Raid and now there is CYCLONE by Vortex Software.

An advancing Cyclone is proving dangerous to a number of islands and the whole area is being evacuated. Your mission is to fly your helicopter into the danger zone and recover the vital medical supplies.

There are five crates to collect in all, with the Cyclone and low-flying aircraft proving to be a great hindrance. Once a Cyclone is upon you, the helicopter does not seem to respond at all to the controls, so you have to hope that control is regained soon. Extra points can be gained by saving the inhabitants that are stranded on the islands, but I could not find a way to get them on board. So, I decided that it was more important to recover the supplies than wait around for people who couldn't be bothered to hoist themselves into my helicopter.

All the instruments are present on the right hand side of the screen and in order to help you with finding the crates. North and South views of the action. This adventure has excellent three dimensional graphics with a feel of reality, and in my mind is an ace above the others.

Instructions: 90%
Addictability: 90%
Graphics: 95%
Value For Money: 90%
ZXC Factor: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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