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  • Writer's pictureAaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza

Stampeding Rhino of Comanche

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

The initial multiplayer focused development of Comanche (2020) is to produce a group of fictional helicopters based on the Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche. From a development point of view, this was clearly done as a way to diversify its multiplayer gameplay and make online player vs. player game-play more team based. This is something I previously wrote about in the article Multiplayer Focus of Comanche (2020). According to the still in development single player story, the United States of America had covertly restarted the Comanche development program sometime after the Iran–U.S. RQ-170 incident. Years later, espionage led to data about the designs of the operational and potential variants of the Comanche to be stolen and uploaded to the dark web. This led to organizations and/or nations developing their own rotary-wing aircraft based on the stolen data.

These variants of the Comanche have specialized equipment which place each of them into roles similar to those found in team based first person and third person shooters. For example, the ‘Eve’ can use medium-range missiles that deliver nano-machines to repair allies, while the ‘Horizon’ deploys a railgun to snipe enemies from afar. This brings us to the ‘Rhino’. The Rhino-class Comanche is the attack helicopter I love to be confused by.

Official development progress image of the Rhino.

The Rhino is by far the most unexpected helicopter in the game. Its design, weapons and systems are clearly meant to fulfill the “Tank character" in multiplayer. Rhino forgoes any semblance to the stealth reconnaissance role its prototype predecessor sought to present. With its heavy armor, slow speed and low maneuverability, it is clearly built to take incoming fire head-on instead of remaining out of sight and striking from distance.

In multiplayer, its weapon systems are the ‘Stomp’ long-range missile which can be fired one-at-a-time with a timed cooled down and a large-caliber Scattergun (i.e. shotgun cannon) that is only effective within 100 meters. It has an integrated close range search system that can locate targets within a certain distance and identify them for other allied players. This includes spotting the optically camouflaged ‘Ghost-class’ Comanche. The Rhino is clearly designed to take down other helicopters above all else. But all of that close range capability is useless against every other attack helicopter that can land shots at medium and long ranges.

That would be true if the Rhino didn’t have jet thrusters.

The signature ability of this hulking helicopter is the Stampede jet thruster system. When activated the Rhino becomes one of the fastest units in-game. Now, this thing isn't Air Wolf. You won't be zipping around at mach 1 for minutes on end. Stampede is only engaged for a few seconds per use but during that time it flies more like a fixed-wing fighter aircraft. This is something that needs to be kept in mind, since the transition from jet powered forward flight back to standard rotary-wing flight characteristics happens within seconds of thruster deactivation.

The common use of the thrusters is to ambush adversaries more specialized in medium and long range engagements. Pilots that keenly maneuver themselves into advantageous positions can use the boost to rapidly close distance with their targets. Rhino pilots can use the thruster system to rapidly change directions, gain altitude above their pursuers engagement envelope or dash away from a disadvantageous situation.

Rhino-class Comanche with Stampede activated.

The scattergun is a devastating weapon that had to be somewhat ‘nerfed’ in the game’s second early access update. For a time, it was possible to destroy opposing helicopters in just a two or three shots depending on which variant the enemy is and how many of the pellets from the scattergun blast(s) connected with their airframes. But despite the damage reduction and increased spread of scattergun pellets, it is still possible to one-hit-kill the opposition. Not with a cannon or missile, but with the Rhino itself.

While the Rhino is accelerating in Stampede, it can bulldoze through airborne enemies while taking almost no damage in the process. This surprisingly entertaining ability to body slam air targets is mostly useful against less agile adversaries that don’t expect the ram (and honestly who would?) or stationary helicopters that are controlling unmanned air vehicles and have their attention elsewhere.

The Rhino is just one of the five Comanche variants available in the multiplayer of Comanche (2020), a game that is still progressing through its early access phase. While most of the other helicopters in the game are certainly built as a part of the team play dependent PVP style, the Rhino is one of the most odd helicopters to appear in a game in the past couple of years.

Note the description of Stampede.

About the Writer

Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza

Co-founder of Skyward Flight Media. After founding, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating flight game-related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He explores past and present flight games and simulators with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers. Read Staff Profile.



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