For the price of one!
PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous
DEVELOPER: Sanritsu/Opera House
RELEASE DATE: 1990 – (EU)
Double Hawk stars John Jackson and Jack Thomas, two “seasoned veterans” called out of retirement to take down international terrorist organizations around the world. Which organizations exactly? It doesn’t matter, they’re all evil. Besides, you’re just a body doing what he’s told. The U.N.’s calling the shots here, and the rules are as follows: shoot whoever/whatever’s in front of you, don’t forget your headband, and never ever put on a shirt.
“Man, do I hate rocks.”
Once you’re dropped into enemy territory, you’re locked onto a single screen, no scrolling. You can’t move anywhere, except to the left or right of the screen to avoid enemy fire. Enemies parade in front of you, shoot at you, then run back off-screen, like the cowards that they are. Not just common soldiers either, but tanks, airplanes, helicopters will drive on, leave a burst of bullets, then drive off. Don’t let them have the satisfaction. Maneuver your crosshair over them, then shoot like crazy. Also, power-ups are your only friends on the battlefield. F increases your character’s speed, R gives you a rapid-fire machine gun for a limited time, S provides a shotgun spread, and B equips you with bombs/grenades.
Either we all need glasses or these graphics are terrible.
You might control a seasoned veteran, but your crosshair is an untrained cadet. In order to move it, you have to hold down button 1, then aim with the D-pad. While you do this, you aren’t able to move, which leaves you open to bullets. Basically, you have to choose if you want to move your character away from danger or move your crosshair. I suppose if you could move both at the same time the game would be too easy, but it still feels like an awkward control scheme begging to be resolved.
Bombs over what may or may not be Baghdad.
As you rain shells upon your enemies, a timer counts down at the top of the screen. Once the time is over, you move to the next screen and take on another wave of evil terrorists. For such a violent game, though, there’s absolutely no incentive to kill anyone, other than points. You can wander back and forth across the screen, avoid the bullets fired at you, and let the timer run out if you want to take the pacifist route. The only exception is the boss battle, where you have to destroy whatever heavy piece of machinery is in front of you to progress. Otherwise, you can conscientiously object your heart out.
As usual, the U.N. should be ashamed of themselves.
The pacifist route sounds boring as sin, but it’s not like Double Hawk‘s that enjoyable while you’re engaging in terrorist warfare. The only depth comes from deciding whether you want to move the crosshair or your character, and that’s more obnoxious than engaging. There are moments when there are literally no enemies on the screen for 15-30 seconds at a time; I’ve run out the timer just waiting for enemies to appear. The four powerups add a smidge of spice to the action, but only the grenades really help you move further into the game (they’re all but necessary for later boss battles). There’s not even any propulsive chiptunes to get your blood boiling. In fact, there’s no music at all. None. All of this screams of a game that was hastily cobbled together to make some quick scratch off the still-profitable European Master System markets. Double Hawk, you are dishonorably discharged.