Sea Hawk

Atari 2600

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 3

Sound: 1

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 2

If there is one rule of video game design, it's this: Never, ever make your game dull. This is an entertainment medium, something the developers of "Sea Hawk" failed to comprehend. This is a game so agonizingly bad, you actually feel guilty when you play it, knowing the other (better) games on the shelf are being abandoned and neglected.

Just for the sake of this review, we'll say you control an F-14 Tomcat, a rather popular style of aircraft used in many other games over the years. In reality, it's a red blob with a line through it, but bear with me. This wonderful piece of modern technology has the ability to either shoot a red missile/bullet/other explosive forward or a bomb downward. Generally this wouldn't be much of an issue. Thanks to our design team pals, you actually need to move in the direction you want to fire; I.e. to shoot down, you must actually be moving towards the non-animated ocean below and the oncoming firepower of an enemy.

This is obviously a critical flaw, one so blatantly obvious, it's incomprehensible how someone didn't think of something else. Then again, the difficulty never changes either. Ever. You will always face two enemies, a black helicopter and black warship. Their patterns never change, their firepower never increases, and they constantly remain stupid.

If the game deserves minor credit for anything, it's ability to save a life when shot down. Ejecting from the crumbled heap of metal in a panic, you can now glide the parachuting pilot to a red ship below. The developer's) obviously screwed this idea up by making the appearance of the ships random. That red ship you just saw a second before being shot down on the previous screen either won't be there or will be replaced by an enemy carrier.

Obviously lacking in the art department just like they did in the common sense one, "Sea Hawk" does little to attract gamers. I'd swear the player controlled F-14 was taken right out of "Chopper Command." Helicopters and warships are small, easy to miss targets and barely resemble the contraptions they represent. The bland backdrop, whose major highlights are the squareish clouds above, hardly adds anything to the proceedings either.

But, even after all of this, things continue to go downhill. Never in 20+ years of gaming have I encountered that "sound." Something so repetitive, annoying, and ear piercing, I can only hope never to encounter such a piece again. It only takes one time to drop a bomb before you instinctively reach for the power button only to miss and hear it again. That's when the realization sets in that the wonderful people at the Froggo Corporation really don't like you. In fact, you almost have to believe they've wished some sort of plague on you. It's really that awful.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 25, 2004 09:08 AM