BATTLEHAWKS reminds me of that place in London where all the old relics are kept. No, not the Atari ST User office. I mean the "ace caff with quite a nice museum attached".
If you know nothing about the history of the Pacific War, you will after reading Battlehawk's 150-page manual. It's impossible to put it down, the best book I have seen for any computer program - an excellent textbook for Mastermind, even with the novella protection.
The game is nice too. You are in the cockpit of one of 12 types of Japanese or American plane and you can play a vital part in the reconstruction of your great battles - Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz Islands.
Depending on the type of plane you have, you can torpedo or dive-bomb battleships, whip the enemy in dogfights, protect damaged ships from attack and possibly rewrite the history books.
Basically, Battlehawks is a very good flight simulator. The controls are greatly simplified, mind you - all you really have to do is guide the plane around using the mouse, raise and lower the flaps to alter lift, open and close the throttle, keep a close eye on the compass and altimeter, plus look to the sides and behind you for any enemy planes trying a surprise attack.
At first, using the mouse to change height and direction seems a little strange. However, you soon find that it is much more sensitive than joystick or keyboard. Pressing either mouse button fires the machine guns and the space-
Downing the enemy planes is difficult because they keep their distance and it is almost impossible to keep your plane completely level. On my maiden flight, lasting one hour, I shot down three planes, damaged one, and missed several thousand times.
There are practice modes which give you a pilot's dream - infinite ammunition and armour, enemy planes which don't shoot at you and a safety device which prevents you stalling or flying below 75 feet. In real battles you can save your skin when shot down by ejecting.
For the vain, the most useful feature is a camera which can be switched on during your manoeuvres. It can be replayed later as a nice ego massage.
The graphics are on the clear and bright menu screens. The view out of the cockpit window is much more crude. The planes and ships are rather ill-
The sound is a great help, the note changing pitch whenever the plane is damaged or the engines are about to stall. Together with the rat-tat-
Many similar programs have been released before. Battlehawks 1942, an ace book with quite a nice game attached, is the best I've seen.