In Gunship 2000 you fly one of a choice of six different US helicopters, either in a solo flight, or as commander of a flight of five. Missions can be flown as either training, single, or as part of a "campaign" (flight only). Your career (and those of your flight members) is tracked with mission scores, medals and promotions. Gameplay is further enhanced by the prerequisite of a commission before being assigned a flight command, and various higher ranks for clearance to command the advanced copters.
In each mission, you are given a primary and secondary objective. Single helicopter missions are either: Point Attack, or Search & Destroy, where you first have to find the target. Flight missions add: Tactical Support (pick-up/drop troops/cargo), Search & Rescue, and Recon. Certain copters are required for some missions, such as a Blackhawk transports for S&R. Targets are usually land-based, but may be naval. For each mission, you choose the copter(s), weapons, and fuel and chaff/flare load. In flight command, you can break the flight into two groups and assign different objectives and flight paths to the groups. You then lead one group, and remotely command the other.
The campaign consists of a series of missions, where some types of aircraft/ordnance may be unavailable. Win a mission, and the enemy is pushed back, as symbolized by size of the "red zone" on a map. Lose a mission and the reverse happens. Unfortunately, the campaign is no more sophisticated than that. It would have been nicer if the missions were more causal. For example, rescue a pilot lost in the previous mission, or reduce the enemies air cover by neutralizing an airbase.
A VCR option is also included. One can also replay a mission from any point, although it will not affect your score. This is a useful tool for your postflight analysis and should help you locate and correct your piloting shortcomings.
Gunship 2000 gives you a variety of configuration options that allow you to tailor the game to your ability. Included are: enemy proficiency, realistic or easy flight (lift only affected by collective), no crash-landings, collision avoidance, wind, visibility. You can have your CP/G control the weapons and/or countermeasures, or nothing at all. But there is a cost to all these options, as they effect scoring. You have the choice of a Central Europe theatre, where you are up against the Soviet Blocs finest, or an easier Persian Gulf scenario. Note the Gulf scenario is not Desert Storm, the enemy actually puts up a fight! Future scenarios may be offered. The end result is you can set the levels to avoid early frustration, then progressively make the sim harder and more realistic, as you progress. Have a particularly disastrous mission? No problem, just use the ignore option and it disappears from your record. An in flight map, which pauses the game while you consult it, also helps.
Real world techniques like terrain masking are effective, but are difficult to control with the boosted climb performance of the copters. Your greatest friend will be the very high effectiveness of all the ordnance. Your cannon will almost always score, with two shots at most needed to destroy targets other than ships and buildings. Other guided weapons will also be very effective except when you are forced to break targeting to avoid incomings. But this happens very often, so you will be quite relieved when you finally get to fly a Longbow Apache with its fire-and-forget MMW Hellfire missiles. Weapons that requiring aiming are hampered by the high climb rate, I often found I had climbed a few hundred feet when trying to line up a rocket salvo. The RWR gives you a 360 degree God's eye view of all forces and structures. In the real world, it only displays active radar sites. But for a simulation /air-combat game this level is strongly desired.