C64 Review of Hawkeye from Issue 40

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


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 massacred its people for security purposes. A few of the survivors went underground when the Skryksis 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 sky, 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 unitl the weapon displayed flashes, 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 left. 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.

This review was typed in/OCRed by Luke

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 92%

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AmigaOne - 20 May 2014
Top dog off shoots-um-ups. Still today the best game of its type on the old CBM64. I was wishing that the Amiga virsion was just as good, but sadly it was not.

Rating : 99%
Conrad - 2 Apr 2011
I too enjoyed this game. It had great playability and the difficult level kept you coming back to try and beat the level.
Some levels had really tens moments.Very enjoyable game, if you are good enough to beat it.
Graphics were very good and after many years I still enjoy this retro game and that is saying something.

Rating : 95%
Phil - 15 Jun 2009
I must say, when it came out I really didn't like Hawkeye and thought the Zzap team were smoking crack (or being too chummy to Thalamus). But I played it a fair bit recently and really enjoyed it. Yes, the presentation is perfect, everything is technically brilliant. I think that if you don't expect too much of it and just treat it as a brainless shooter, it's a good bit of fun.

I'l say hookability up to 95%, lastability down to 75%, and overall, I might be being a touch generous, but:

Rating : 89%
Tex - 11 Aug 2006
Great game ... no other words to describe this C64 game milestone.

Rating : 99%
MaffRignall - 7 Feb 2006
Definitely overrated... though all the presentation-related marks were spot-on (it still looks amazing today, especially the parallax effect). But underneath the glitz there wasn't that much substance... just running left and right, avoiding nasties and collecting icons, all for no apparent reason...

And while I'm at it, am I the only one who thought the grapics engine would have been more suited to an aardvark? You're running around picking up objects anyway... why not stick some puzzle solving elements in there too?

As it stands it's just the same level over and over again with different (beautiful) graphics. And it's only to see the (beautiful) graphics that you want to get to the next level in the first place... the balance isn't quite there...

Rating : 77%
alessio - 5 May 2005
Yes this is it the one and only...... the game that put me through hell! and school holidays!. What can be said about this baby? nothing all the elements that make a great game are here, graphics, sound, and awesome gameplay, get it before it gets you!

Rating : 99%
CraigGrannell - 27 Aug 2004
Slick, fun, polished, glossy, playable, and utterly undeserving of a gold medal. Despite being one of the better platform shooters on the C64, the initial gloss soon gave way to a straightforward run and jump shmup, whose presentation lifted it above others in the field (rather like the later Thalamus release Creatures).

Most of the ratings at the time were spot-on, apart from that overall score, which should have been a tad lower - Hawkeye's good, but not that good. Even now it's good for a quick blast, and the graphics and sound still appeal.

Rating : 88%
SLF - 26 Aug 2004
So here it is: one of the most controversial Zzap! reviews. I must say that, if anything, in my opinion Hawkeye was under-rated. At basic length it is a platform shooter, with a collect factor too. Thus not very original as a concept. It is, though, very well implemented gameplaywise, with many diverse enemies which also change their patterns with progress in the game. The difficulty level is finely tuned. The four weapons you have improve a lot the depth and strategic element of the game. The option to practice with infinite lives the level you died on is a great idea and makes the learning process not frustrating. Then there's the *superb* presentation, good graphics with wonderful parallax effect, and very well done soundtrack + awesome simultaneous sound FX. It is very polished, very playable, and the best example of its genre on the c64. One of the games I played the most, and I still enjoy it a lot. A Gold Medal in my book.

Pr 98 Gr 91 So 95 Ho 98 La 98

Rating : 97%
Paul Glancey
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 fairly unoriginal, the story of the Xamoxians is a very interesting one, and is superbly told by an animated head - text 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 sound-tracks. With free selection of four weapons (providing you've got ammo), some strategy needs to be devoloped 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.
Gordon Houghton
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 (SLF) 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 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!
Paul Sumner
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 persentation, 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.
Amazing animated Xaroxian, mix-e-load, practice mode, secret level, attractive demo/title screen sequence and much more besides!

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

Some great music and appropriate spot effects.

Opening sequences lead to instantly playable platform/shoot'em up action.

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

An addictive and beautifully presented shoot'em up of the highest calibre.