Hawkeye (Thalamus) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Hawkeye
By Thalamus
Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Zzap #40

Hawkeye | PG | PS | GH | Verdict

Defeat the Skryksis as cyborg warrior in the latest Thalamus production

Hawkeye

A civilisation that had reached perfection was destroyed by Skryksis, a devilish tribe of Milky Way nomads. In the year of Naron, an ancient hero, they invaded the planet Xamox and viciously masacred its people for security purposes. A few of the survivors went underground when the Skrysis started to build radiation plants which poisoned the atmosphere and made it impossible to live on the planet surface.

Driven by revenge, the survivors started to develop a synthetic lifeform, half robot, half human, which was specially designed to break through the heavily guarded sectors that led to the infamous radiation plants.

Now at last the SLF is complete, its controlling computers are not considered fast enough to cope with the enemy environment, so the cyborg is directed by remote control. The warrior entrusted with this dangerous mission is known as Hawkeye. His Xamoxian mind is in total synchronisation with the movements of the battling droid.

The action of the journey to the Skryksis' central base takes place over a series of levels against a horizontally scrolling landscape of platforms, cities, villages, icy plains and dusty deserts.

These strange and unfamiliar lands are populated by a whole range of weird and wonderful creatures. They attack from ground-level, swoop in from the sku, and crawl up from below the earth. Collision and contact deplete the cyborg's energy, which is displayed as a small horizontal bar at the top of the screen. Should this fall to zero, one of the SLF's three lives is immediately lost.

Monsters are countered by using Hawkeye's armoury of four weapons, each of which has different firing capabilities and speeds. A small window to the left of the display panel indicates the weapon currently in use. Further weapons are selected by holding down the fire button until the weapon displayed hashes. then pushing left or right till the desired weapon's icon appears - alternatively, the function keys can be used. The first weapon option is a pistol, which has unlimited ammunition but lacks power. The other three weapons are more powerful. but have limited ammunition. The amount of bullets remaining is shown below the appropriate weapon. Three lights go out if there is no ammunition let further supplies can be picked up along the way, however, and ammunition is restored on completion of a level.

Different materials designed to improve the skills of the SLF are scattered around the different environments. Once collected, these raw components allow you to create more cyborgs, thus increasing your supply of lives.

To complete a level, all the puzzle pieces scattered around each stage must be collected by guiding the SLF into contact with them. Two hawks at the top of the screen aid this process - the eyes of either head flash to indicate the direction in which you should head. The jumps necessary to collect the puzzle pieces and traverse levels are controllable - the length of a jump is dependent on how long the joystick is held left or right.

A jingle sounds when all the pieces have been collected, and the SLF is guided to the far right of the level. There are twelve levels to complete before the radiation plants can be shut down and Xamox is safe once more.

If Hawkeye's mission fails, the remote control SLF short circuits and cannot unload its energy to the next cyborg, with the result that the warrior becomes mentally dead. The mission is crucial; not only the future of Hawkeye but the history of his planet hangs in the balance. He cannot afford to lose...

PG

The fifth Thalamus game is by Mario Van Zeist, and this shows that great games, like Stavros Fasoulos', are often programmed by our European cousins. Although the idea itself is thirty unoriginal, the story of the Xamoxians is a very interesting one, and is superbly told by an animated head - text appears as the creature 'talks', and a relevant static picture appears for each page. Beautiful colour effects on the title screens lead into an equally attractive game, headed by two well-drawn hawk heads.

A 'Hawkeye Control System Ready' message below the SLF nicely simulates the idea of the player having remote control over the warrior, before you begin hectic 'shoot and run' scrolling combat in the style of Green Beret (except, thankfully, easier!)

The sprites are well animated and, if unspectacular, of above-average definition quality. The parallax scrolling of the backgrounds is very impressive indeed. There's some well-written music to match the standard of the graphics including a funky bonus screen piece, which is reminiscent of Hubbard's better soundtracks.

With tree selection of four weapons (providing you've got ammo), some strategy needs to be developed to defeat the varied enemies with maximum efficiency, adding interest to an already addictive game. Keep up to date with your Thalamus games collection and get hold of a copy of Hawkeye - you won't regret it.

PS

Always one to enjoy a decent quality shoot-'em-up, I was very pleased when Hawkeye made its way into the office. it's an extremely polished and playable shoot-and-collect game, with more than its fair share of impressive graphical touches. The entire program is shrink-wrapped in glossy presentation, featuring a film-like SF opening sequence and faultless in-game appearance. When it comes to the playability stakes, Hawkeye succeeds, in one respect, where other shoot-'em-ups fail.

A certain amount of thought and attention must be applied to the basic game; which path to take over the platforms, whether or not to waste a weapon on a particular monster and other such problems must be decided quickly and strategically. The extra weapons available add a frenetic quality to the game and give a feeling of immense power when an alien is blasted to smithereens!

Overall, with so many disappointing shoot-'em-ups being released, Hawkeye arrives as a welcome distraction from the standard 'steer the ship round the scenery' games.

GH

The first thing that strikes you about Hawkeye is the amazing presentation, commencing with the stunningly animated alien face that details the mission.

Thankfully, the presentation is backed up by a brilliant game, well up to Thalamus' high standards. Hawkeye is instantly playable, engrossing the player with its impressive graphics and atmospheric sound. The Synthetic Life Form (SLY) sprite is superbly drawn, running and jumping against colourful, smoothly scrolling parallax backdrops in his weapon-crammed utility underpants!

The various droids, demons and dinosaurs, each with their own personality, are also well-defined. The music adds a suitably futuristic atmosphere to the proceedings, sounding quite hi-tech in its execution. But Hawkeye's quality doesn't stop at the sound and graphics - within the glossy packaging lies an extremely playable and addictive arcade game. Even if you already have a great number of horizontally-scrolling shoot-'em-ups in your software collection, Hawkeye is definitely not to be missed.

There are two brilliant Gold Medals this month: don't choose between them - save up for both!

Verdict

Presentation 99%
Amazing animated Xaroxian, mix-e-load, practice mode, secret level, attractive demo/title screen sequence and much more besides!

Graphics 94%
Excellent use of colour throughout, smooth sprites and parallax backgrounds.

Sound 91%
Some great music and appropriate spot effects.

Hookability 93%
Opening sequences lead to instantly playable platform/shoot-'em-up action.

Lastability 94%
12 puzzle-piece levels to complete with many weird creatures to defeat.

Overall 96%
An addictive and beautifully presented shoot-'em-up of the highest calibre.

Hawkeye | PG | PS | GH | Verdict