Lift off from the post office patio where you begin each Choplifter game, and proceed left. Attack the tanks only if they pose a threat to the hostages. Continue moving to the left until you reach the first of the four barracks. Many hostages should be running around outside.
If the tanks are closing in on the hostages as you approach the barracks, assume the "tank attack" position (facing the "camera") and blast them. Don't worry about killing the hostages as you attack the enemy tanks—as long as you are facing a tank, your shots will be aimed forward, well away from the hostages. Saturate the area near the tank with your shots; keep firing until the dust clears and the tank is no more. Be merciless with the tanks—the longer they remain in the game, the greater the probability they will fire upon escaped hostages.
To rescue the hostages successfully, you must be able to land in the barracks area quickly and accurately. Once you are over a group of hostages, they will start to run toward your chopper, sometimes stopping directly underneath you. If you land on them, they will die. Desperate people sometimes do stupid things. Find a clear spot in which to land, and then descend rapidly without hesitation. Head for the ground in "tank attack" position (with your nose facing the "camera"). This is the position in which the smallest amount of helicopter will touch the ground, thus reducing your chances of crushing a hostage.
Try to avoid hovering over the hostages—you will attract tanks that will attack them while you are in the air. Land as close to the barracks as possible, preferably between two groups of hostages. The distance the hostages will have to run to the chopper will be short, thus decreasing the amount of time you will have to wait on the ground, vulnerable to tank fire. Land between two hostages only if you can do so safely. A word of caution—do not land directly on one of the barracks. If you do, the hostages will run out of the building, find themselves under the helicopters, and be killed.
When all 16 hostages have been accounted for, head back for your base. On your first run, there is no excuse for returning with fewer than 16 captives, the maximum number your helicopter can hold in its bay. Before returning to the post office, some players like to blow open the three remaining barracks to save precious time in later rounds. Others, however, prefer not to let the hostages wander around in the battlefield. To blow open one of the barracks, face it with your helicopter and fire one shot. Don't fire more than one shot at a time since you may accidentally kill one or more hostages as they emerge from the building.
When you have returned to the base ans have landed, make sure you drop off all of the hostages in your helicopter before taking off again. As they exit, each hostage will wave and salute you. After you have completely disembarked, take off and return to the barracks area for the remaining hostages.
As a general rule, fly low in the direction you are moving and apply full throttle. When an enemy jet appears, it generally makes it approach for a missile by looping back behind you. Occasionally, however, a jet will make a daring head-on attack. A jet will always attack at the altitude your chopper was at the jet entered the screen. This means that you can easily avoid the jet's missiles by dropping down quickly to a new altitude. The missiles will pass harmlessly overhead. When the jet passes over you, blow it out of the sky.
Air mines can be dangerous adversaries only if you are not paying full attention to the game. They move slowly and are easy to destroy. When you encounter an air mine, rise to its level and shoot it down.
Second Attempt and Beyond
On your second hostage run, you may have to blow open one of the barracks to set the hostages free, as described earlier. You may also choose to hover over a building, attract a tank, wait for the tank to blow open the barrack, then quickly blast away at the tank before any hostages die. In this manner, you'll both set the hostages free and eliminate the nearest tank at the same time.
Each time you fill the chopper with hostages, return directly to your home base as quickly as possible. Continue with the above procedures until all 64 hostages have been accounted for and your heroism has been assured.