By Elite
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #21

Battlehawks 1942

Life was tough in the Second World War, according to my grandfather.

"Eee, I can remember when we had to queue for three weeks just for a loaf of bread and a couple of toilet rolls," etc, etc.

Mind you, I bet the pensioners in the good old US of A have some slightly more gung-ho tales to tell, if this latest release from the US Gold/Lucasfilm team-up is anything to go by.


Battlehawks 1942 is a departure from the usual flight-sim in so much as you are thrown almost immediately into the thick of the action. No mucking around trying to take off, no waiting for goodness knows how long to get to where you want to be - just plonk, right into the middle of pitched battle.

The briefing room is the first port of call, where you can choose from a number of different options. As well as the four set battles (Midway, Coral Sea, the Eastern Solomons or Santa Cruz Islands), you can also select one of several training missions, including practice at dogfighting and bombing. Alongside these choices, it's also possible to inspect the aircraft available to you, as well as pilot service records.

Once a mission or practice session has been selected, you're into real action. Flying high above sea level, your mission basically consists of knocking out the enemy fighter planes, while attempting to score a hit on one of the enemy boats.


With only one bomb or torpedo, success depends purely on your skill the first time round - there are no second chances in this war.

Mind you, that's not strictly true because, should you come to grief one way or another, you can always quit the game and start again from the beginning. Bet your grandfather wished he could have done that forty-odd years ago, eh?


All right, so it's not run of the mill simulation, but who cares when what is there is as good as this? The whole makeup of Battlehawks 1942 positively oozes class, from the packaging inwards. There's a lot of historical background to the missions contained in the manual, which will help you make the right decisions when it comes to re-enacting them (as well as making rather good reading in its own right!).


As for the program itself, it's extremely polished, with marvellously defined and animated graphics as well as a well laid-out cockpit. Sound is of a high quality also, with a plethora of clearly sampled effects (although one of them does sound as if it was poached from Gunfight at the OK Corral!). It's easy to play, without becoming tedious, and above all, it's wonderfully addictive. So go out and get it. Now.


Battlehawks 1942 is just my type of flight sim - enough control to give you the impression of actually flying a plane which would be even better if there was a joystick option offered. Mouse control, although not too bad, isn't what I'd call the ideal device for flying.

Apart from that though, I like this a lot. The computer-controlled pilots are intelligent enough to go and attack enemies in some quite spectacular formations, as well as coming to hassle you at rather inopportune moments. Get it or regret it.



Presentation 85%
151 page manual, bursting at the seams with historic and technical information. Keyboard use is kept to a minimum but unfortunately, only mouse control is offered to steer the plane.

Graphics 91%
Detailed cockpit displays, and realistic aircraft graphics and animation. Screen updates slightly slower when a lot is happening.

Sound 77%
Whilst the game is devoid of tunes, a host of clear and realistic samples add atmosphere to the proceedings.


Hookability 90%
The manual is a touch heavy-going, but the game itself is a gem of simplicity.

Lastability 85%
Thirty-odd missions spread over four scenarios should keep the attention span there for a while.

Overall 90%
A well implemented, technically impressive and, above all, fun piece of software which will keep both sim freaks and blast fans quiet for some time.