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Sea Hawk (Froggo/Sancho)

DoctorSpuds

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RUN EVERYBODY!!! IT'S FROGGO!!! Here's another Froggo classic, which of course is stolen from the rotting coffin that contains the corpse of Sancho, It's Sea Hawk! And my god... It's glorious. I won't pretend for a second that this is a good game,it really isn't, but it's still not the worst game that Froggo put out there, we all know which game that is. In essence Sea Hawk is Defender, but worse, or depending on how you look at it, Star Fox, but better. Seriously this game has very little in the realm of originality, in fact that comparison to Star Fox is actually very pertinent since they share the same progression system, but I'll get to that in the gameplay section. Suffice to say... we're in for a ride folks, so you best put seat-belts on your eyeballs... because I'm about to plow them into the nearest tree. (I wish that was my own joke)

 

This is a very simple looking game, not quite Combat, but nowhere near Pitfall II. In this game you fly a jet plane over the ocean and shoot enemies. My real problem with this game's graphics are the lack of graphics, you have the ocean, the sky, the clouds in the sky, enemy helicopters, enemy aircraft carriers, friendly aircraft carriers, and yourself (x2). That is all you get, and while there is a nice gradient on the sky to mimic a sunset/sunrise, and the clouds are also cool to look at, but everything begins to feel the same very quickly, there are no different enemy types, and for the most part everything is monochrome, with the exception of the red 'light' on top of the enemy aircraft carriers. A game where you can see everything it has to offer in five quick seconds fails as a game, to put this in perspective, Mythicon did this better, they had multiple enemy types, and (kind of) changing backgrounds. I know this is more of a critique on Sancho, the guys who originally programmed this game, but Froggo was dumb enough to try to sell this game again, so they also share in the blame, and even more so in the shame of dredging up such despicable game and deciding it was good enough to sell for real money in real retail outlets.

 

This game sounds awful, it has five sounds. FIVE!! They are, you shoot, you bomb, you explode, you die, and you don't die. The enemies have no sounds, they are soundless and that is sad, even the worst of enemies deserve to make a stupid noise when they do stuff. Most of the sounds are very obnoxious, the shooting sound isn't bad on it's own, but when you're shooting close to the edge of the screen it plays extremely quickly and then it get's quite annoying. The sound you make when you drop a bomb is annoying for the same reason as the shoot sound effect but it's when you drop bombs close to the surface of the water, also it's a fairly high pitched decrescendo and it's ear bleeding. The sound that is made when you are either captured or saved is just a series of quick high pitched beeps which do no favors to the ears. I would recommend that, if you are actually playing this game for a period of time longer than a minute, to use the mute button, making your own sound effects by screaming loudly would be better than what is provided.

 

The gameplay of this game is not at all unique, in fact it's disturbingly similar to Mythicon's Star Fox. In Sea Hawk you fly around and shoot enemy helicopters, and bomb enemy aircraft carriers. If you are shot down and are able to get to a friendly aircraft carrier, you won't lose a life, if you land anywhere else you will lose a life (this is the one unique thing I mentioned earlier). Just like in Star Fox you only have the one flying enemy, until you hit a certain point amount (10,000), then there are two enemy helicopters, and once you hit 30,000 points, you'll have three spazzy helicopters to contend with. You can select the speed of the game with the difficulty switches, and you can select the size of your bombs with the game select switch, otherwise it's the same thing over and over again.Unfortunately this game has the difficulty of the defender arcade machine, you'll die quite often, maybe that's why they game you eight lives, so you can maybe play for more than thirty seconds before the game is over.

 

Needless to say this game goes into the Collector's Zone, it's not quite as bad as Star Fox, but that's a whole different box of rocks. If you want to play this game for your self, first of all why? There are literally over one hundred better games to play on this system, and two if you're sure about getting a copy they're a bit expensive, at least on Ebay, you'll probably pay over ten dollars for a loose cart, which is ridiculous.



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This could have been a pretty decent game. It does a few interesting things, but needs some polish to bring it all together.

 

It's been a while since I've played this one but IIRC it does that weird thing a lot of substandard shooters do where if you change direction, any of your shots still in motion change direction with you, which makes actually hitting anything a bit of a chore. IMO most of this game's challenge comes from grappling with the firing control.

 

I like the look of it, with its clean, simple graphics--the little sunset strip and waves of the sea surface are nice touches. The sprites could stand to be a little bigger (or, alternatively, the hit detection more generous), and the sounds are nothing to scream about, but they're functional enough, I suppose.

 

When a game gives you as many lives as Sea Hawk does, though, it's usually not a sign of good things to come. It's as if the developers recognized the game was flawed, and lacking the time or budget to improve it before they kicked it out the door, ramped up the number of lives as a way of offsetting the broken game mechanics that would otherwise prematurely and cheaply end most gameplay sessions. Thing is, though, even if you fix what's wrong with this game, it's basically just Space Jockey with an extra bell or whistle.

 

Sea Hawk is another one of those-neat-concept-that-doesn't-quite-get-there games, but it's good for a quick whirl now and then.

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