If you can remember the 80s, then there's a good chance you'll remember Choplifter. After making its first appearance on the Apple II as far back as 1982, the original and two further iterations found a place in just about every arcade then in existence (and there used to be a hell of a lot of 'em).
Choplifter's premise was simple - you pilot a helicopter rescuing laughably-drawn stick-men from behind enemy lines in various war-zones, armed with horizontal-firing bullets and vertically dropping bombs. But what made it so great was its refusal to compromise - if you lost more than your permitted quota of stick-men (having, say, crammed five in your chopper only to be shot down by a missile), you would have to restart the stage. Again, Choplifter was, briefly, a franchise, but it disappeared permanently when publisher Broderbund went bust in 1999. Although Ubisoft does own the rights to the name these days.