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Airwolf, based on the 1980s TV show about a high-tech military helicopter during the Cold War, is a first-person simulator that occasionally switches to a third-person side-view when collecting prisoners in order to make it easier to land the Airwolf. These sequences require some gentle descending from the player, such as with other gravity-based side-scrollers like Thrust and Lunar Lander.
Airwolf is the first NES game developed by Beam Software, a prolific Australian computer game developer at the time which is now known as Krome Studios Melbourne. As such, it often feels like a computer game compared to the usual quick and simple cash-in games based on licenses that were being released by Acclaim and LJN for the NES at the time.
There was a prior Airwolf game for the NES, released in Japan only, which also had the name Airwolf. It was developed by Kyugo Boueki and should not be confused for this version.