For a while, anyway. Even as a kid, I was disappointed by Space Hawk. It seemed sluggish and repetitive. The only way to play it was with autofire unless you wanted to destroy your fingertips.
As I've bragged about in other threads, I own a grips03 custom Sega Master System-to-Intellivision controller adapter. (I believe he is now making a Sega Genesis-to-Intellivision controller adapter.) I have been waiting for a proper arcade stick to pair with it, and I finally got a Battlestation II last month. I thought I would give Space Hawk a go with this new setup.
Long story short, I'm impressed. The game becomes somewhat challenging at higher levels. The bubbles home in on you pretty quickly, and there are new foes such as the giant amoeba. I used fastest speed, manual fire, direct movement (no drifting), and quick rotation. The latter two options take some getting used to, but they give you precise control over your guy.
I consider myself an average twitch gamer, and I scored 500,000+ points with this setup. I had 84 lives left when I quit. Took me a little over an hour. I may go for a million when I have more time to spare.
Video (about 3 minutes) shows you how fast the game is at this level.