I never did History at school. Mind you, I never did much at all at school, except English, and that's why my reviews are as good as what they are [Slick, Tone, slick - Ed]. But, getting back onto the original track of the review, even I know that in 1942 there was a bit of a ruck going on.
Battle Hawks is a World War II flight/combat simulator, if you hadn't already guessed. Now here's the catch. It doesn't support the use of a joystick. Crazy or what? You can only use mouse or keyboard. What a joke! As I write, I can hear thousands of Amiga owners turning the page muttering "I wonder if Falcon is any good...?"
So, missing joystick option aside, what do you get when you purchase Battle Hawks? Well, you get a simplified flight simulator that uses fairly convincing 3D sprite techniques and has dozens of cute little touches. It contains over thirty different missions, including training, as well as the option to play the bad guys, Japan.
Once you've gone through all the rudimentaries like creating a pilot, choosing a mission/plane/difficulty level etc, you start your mission, not on a runway or a carrier as you would expect, but 5,000 feet up about 45 seconds from your target. I think that it's a little cruel to send a rookie pilot into the fray so quickly, especially when you're flying by mouse, but that's the way the programmer's done it. At least you don't have to take off.
Now those cute little touches I mentioned. Lots of graphical frills have been thrown in, and they do heighten the game. When you hit an enemy plane a few times, it catches fire, and after a moment or two starts spinning toward the sea. At this point the pilot bails out, and what a large, well defined sprite he is. Sadly, you can't then proceed to blow him away, but then again we didn't do that sort of thing. Not sporting.
The sound is, well, sound. It serves its purpose and is full of little sampled war-like sounds. Bullets ping off metal (though not Teflon, as so many games seem to do these days), engines roar, the crowd rises, the paint greases, oh how I love the circus. [Whaa? - Ed]
The graphics aren't terrible. The sizing of the sprites is convincing enough, though they do go a bit blocky at times. The refresh rate is none too fast either, which makes the Amiga version run only slightly faster than the PC version running off a Sinclair PC 200.
It is quite fun to play, but as the frills wear thin the level of enjoyment falls rapidly. Not a worthwhile investment, but worth getting your rich mate to buy so that you can play it round his gaff.