Review: Battlehawks 1942

Battlehawks 1942

ST Amiga Format Review

My Review

As a kid I absolutely loved Battlehawks. It came in a beautifully designed box with a ring-bound manual (see link above) that was a really fascinating read, weighing in at 144 pages. Controls aren’t too complicated with mouse or joystick steering your plane and fire/left-click firing your cannons. L toggles your landing gear, F for your flaps (used to slow the plane down and get lift as you come in to land) and B to open/close the air brake. + and- set throttle, J jumps from the plane and Q quits the mission to get your evaluation. Your numeric keyboard offers different views from the cockpit.

The game throws you into a menu to choose your mission – moving the mouse up and down selects different options and clicking makes the selection.

The mission briefing tells you what to expect, and lets you set up your plane for battle.

I chose to use the mouse for control as it’s done right here. Moving the mouse left will roll to the left, to the right to the right and so on. The precision and flexibility offered is excellent.

Graphics are solid if unspectacular. Being at sea means the game doesn’t need to render much ground detail but the planes look lovely when you get close to them. The frame rate isn’t the smoothest but it’s good enough and doesn’t negatively impact upon gameplay.

My first engagement goes well, with me successfully killing off the enemy.

But that’s just training. Time to have a crack at a real mission. Watch me die.

Let’s set up the parameters for the mission.

I pussied out and picked Veteran instead of Ace, but otherwise stuck with defaults. The mission is to bomb and sink a carrier.

Those blue and white planes are on my side, so I must not shoot them!

There’s a smoking carrier…

Here’s a close up view of another boat.

And here’s what happened after I got hit by flak and plummetted to the ground.

And the full facepalm.

So while I suck, the game is damn good fun. It presents what it needs to present reasonably well, it’s got a beautiful manual (if you can get hold of an original boxed copy it’s wonderful), and the gameplay is excellent. It was good to go back to my childhood for a while, but the game is a good game beyond mere nostalgia. That said, there is a sequel (Their Finest Hour – edited for brain fart) which I’ve not yet played, so that might prove to be the better game.

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