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 Post subject: Arcade Archives Fighting Hawk (PlayStation 4|5 - Switch)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2022 9:40 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 629
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base

Your dose of 80's shooting action is closer than you've thought.

Cave, Psikyo and Touhou Project lovers, better give this game a miss, 'cos you're not gonna find anything closer to bullet hell curtains and screen filling shots flying towards you. For anyone else who's here for some vintage arcade action, welcome.
Fighting Hawk is an old school 1988 vertical shooter released by Taito which is a nod to Toaplan and a first step towards the concept of bullet hell.

You basic, classic 80's vertical shooter.

The first thing we notice is how simple and basic the Falcon's weapon system's are. A twin shot that gradually adds one more bullet to its stream until it becomes a spread shot (Example: " || > ||| > |||| > ||||| > |||||| > \\ ||||| // "). Each time a bullet is added to the frontal stream addresses the common problem of being unable to take down enemies on the sides as your firing increases its width, making it similar to later Toaplan works like Truxton. As a late 80's vertical shmup, it lacks of a missile support. Instead, it grants you the Bomb function that has the screen clearing blast AND homing missiles fired in multiple directions. While the basic aspects of this game makes things look easy to play and even the idea of finishing it in one shot, there's some flaws in the form of difficulty: To begin with, like all classic shmups, the hitbox is the whole ship, and that counts for all the aerial enemies. I've died a few times trying to place my jet behind the large planes that fire diagonally in the snow stages, so if you're gonna play it, forget your Touhou Project mentality about small hitboxes or you won't be able to pass the first stage. Also, dying kicks you back to a checkpoint and recovering your power will keep you in low levels and lateral enemy formations will be taking advantage of your situation. Combine that with fast firing bosses (The damn tank bosses in Stages 3 and 4). Is like "Taito had the bullet hell idea, but they forgot to complete it", hence what I've mean with first steps on bullet hell. You're given the chance of input your score before continuing the game, so you don't have to force yourself to go back to stage 1 for the sake of hi-score saving.

The final stage breaks with the common screen scrolling until you reach the end as we have to shoot down 25 enemy fighters before finally facing the Dragon Bat. After clearing the game, the ranking screen says we've cleared all 149 levels, so I guess the stage progression was made in pure Fire Shark style.

It's a "One man VS all Soviet Russia" battle.
¿Do you have what it takes for this mission?

Graphically, the game is colorful and vibrant for the time being. Not as visually stunning as big titles like After Burner II or E-SWAT: Cyber Police, but enough to stand above older arcade games like Galaga and Dangerous Seed. One thing worth of mention is the use of "camo" effects on the Score indicators, making the letters multicolored rather than the traditional single color text. While the military is the dominant theme in this game just like in the Toaplan shmups which this game's based on, Fighting Hawk goes for the more "Modern Military" rather than the World War II-like setting of Toalplan's vertical shmups, as we're pitted against more technologically advanced ordinance like the stealth bomber Dragon Bat. The player's ship has a little model error, because for a jet called "Falcon", any shmupper might expect the General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon, but this game uses the wrong aircraft, because you're utilizing the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II which is an entirely different vehicle. The identity of the enemy is not mentioned, but it is more than clear that is the Soviet Union as their vehicles uses recognizeable things of that country: Arctic blue-white "Winter camo" colored tanks, white planes with red symbols, Hind and Kamov helicopters and of course the MiG-25 Foxbats in the final stage.
The music has a Darius-like influence, although it sounds more chiptune-like unlike their veteran shmup, in fact the sound has a Sega Genesis feel most of the times which could be considered a step back from Darius.


The refueling plane looks quite small compared with the A-01

- While the in-game Falcon is clearly an A-10, the flyer artwork slightly redesigns the aircraft.
- For an A-10 related shmup, this game re-release lacks of a license from Northrop Grumman and/or M7 Aerospace (Current owners of Fairchild Republic).
- The final boss name Dragon Bat
(ドラゴンバット Doragonbatto) was translated as "Dragon Hat" in the European flyers, this was corrected in the Arcade Archives release.

We're gonna need some luck for the next review.

If you're into vintage classic shooting, then Arcade Archives Flying Hawk will be a good game to keep you entertained. With this release who knows what's next on Taito's incursion on the Arcade Archives. ¿We will be able to see a release of Gridseeker: Project Storm Hammer or even Gekirindan in the Arcade Archives?, only time will tell...

A bright result on the Lea Scale.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup and video game reviews with humorous criticism.

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