Chocks Away is a flight combat game for the Acorn Archimedes that is loosely set in the First World War, although it does mix elements from other timelines and simplifies the realism in a way that might not appeal to a historian. The game is meant to appeal to those who just like flying around and shooting things and it provides a fairly open-ended and enjoyable experience on that front.
The aim of the game is to choose a mission from those available in the menu and then go out and complete it. You fly a British Tiger Moth type aircraft fighting against German forces and you set off from an airfield (or aircraft carrier) and must find your target and blast it with your front-mounted machine gun. You have the freedom to fly around the map as you like although your plane doesn’t have infinite fuel so your range is somewhat limited. The missions are a mixture of air-to-air dogfights and ground attacks and once you’ve completed your objectives you must then return to the airfield afterwards.
The advantage you have over enemy aircraft is that your Tiger Moth is highly manoeuvrable, whereas their aircraft are relatively slow and lumbering, which allows an experienced pilot to do stall turns, rolls, and to basically run rings around them.
Flying the Tiger Moth is fairly simple and the number-pad keys provide quick access to a variety of views, so you can look to the sides, behind, and to the front easily. You can also switch to an exterior, third-person view of the plane too. Four simplified dials on your cockpit display show fuel levels, airspeed, altitude, and a compass heading.
Enemy aircraft are controlled by the computer AI and they fire back with reasonable precision, so you must take evasive action if being fired upon. Your plane can take up to six shots before bursting into flames and crashing. An indicator in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen shows your damage and if it’s in the red you can return to base, land, be repaired/refuelled, and take off again to resume your mission. You’ll also encounter enemy flak cannons firing on you during ground attack missions.
Chocks Away is a lot of fun to play due to its simplicity, and if run on a relatively powerful RISC machine (or in an emulator on a modern computer) the frame rate is high, which results in a smooth and highly playable game. There’s also a two-player dogfight mode, which requires a serial link to connect two computers together to play it.
Although the graphics are very simple by today’s standards, Chocks Away remains an impressive game on the Archimedes and is considered one of the best on the system. Which is probably true. It’s still fun to play now, which is always the acid test.
See also: The King of Grabs Archimedes Special
More: Chocks Away on Wikipedia