Hawk F-123

Turbo Duo

Review by Matt Paprocki

Pack-In Video


Graphics: 6

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 6

The Turbo Duo actually had quite a few thoroughly enjoyable shooters in its time. Updates of R-Type and Sidearms were unforgettable while Konami released an under appreciated classic with Star Parodius. On such a powerhouse for the genre, Hawk F-123 comes off a little under whelming, even with a soundtrack that keeps you playing.

hawkf1231.png (3325 bytes)If anything drags this Japanese-only shooter down, it's the mundane pace. Shooters should always be fast paced tests of a player's dexterity, but Hawk just sort of rolls along at a leisurely clip. Enemies come around in predictable patterns, though some do take more damage than the average player may be used too. There is no slowdown or flicker to be had; then again, at this speed, you might not be able to tell anyway.

Power-ups are of course varied, with three separate weapons available. They get stronger in standard fashion, but the player is offered multiple ways of defending themselves. Homing missiles are probably the most useful (as they always seem to be) and can be mixed in with bombs for a deadly onslaught. You can also have two mini-planes fly alongside, though their rate of fire does not match the players.

In place of a standard screen-clearing bomb, there are four separate one-time use items. Yes, there are two bombs in the bunch, but you also have the services of two different shields. You can only carry one at a time, so if you pick up a shield and have a bomb equipped, you lose the bomb. It's a decent system that does require some thought over the genres usual dodging bullet tests.

One issue fairly solidifying this games average-ness is the difficulty level. The first level can be absolutely brutal while the second seems to tone things down a bit. It's badly planned out. When a player finally does take a bullet/missile/other projectile, they lose everything they earned. You'll need to grab what's left en-masse as everything the player had is clustered together in a pile. That's fine, but if you die towards the left edge of the screen, that's where the power-ups stay. By the time you roll back on, they can no longer be re-equipped. This is a deadly situation in some stages.

hawkf1232.png (4073 bytes)Though the sprites are mostly decent, the backgrounds suffer from mediocrity. Not only does nothing new appear during the occasionally long stages, each section is only one screen long. Yes, that same background repeats hundreds of times during a stage. A few offer up foreground objects to break up the monotony, but the space provided by a CD should have left plenty of room for more variety.

Saving this one is the outstanding soundtrack, one of those unforgettable early CD-ROM mixes. The sound effects have little to offer (if anything), but the music more than makes up for it. Each track is great enough to make a player want to succeed in a stage simply to hear what's next (no, you cannot put the CD in a standard CD player and listen unfortunately). A few may not seem very appropriate to the on-screen action, but you'll be too engrossed to either notice or care.

You can do far worse than Hawk F-123, though it should depend on how much you enjoy shooters before you go tracking it down. This is one that hits all the basics and just doesn't try to do much more as far as gameplay is concerned. With that music however, it may be worth the price you pay regardless.


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Last updated: Monday, September 26, 2005 12:19 AM