When you first load Hawkwing, you feel like you’ve just booted up an old gaming console on a CRT TV. The game literally uses a scanline post process effect, complete with low res graphics and sound. Actually, the game does a great job delivering the intended arcade experience. Though like any side scroller shoot-em-up, you get absorbed into the action, struggling to make it further and further past hordes of enemies. The opposing units flying into the screen to annihilate you are a diverse bunch, of all shapes, sizes and methods of taking you out. Your hull integrity can only withstand one shot before termination, so agility is key. Evade collisions and projectiles, score a chain kill on a group of enemies to win a power-up.
There’s a large set of weapons in the game that will essentially evolve your vehicle into a frantic laser-firing machine. There’s also a drone that orbits your ship firing at half the rate of your cannons. Some of the power-ups will add more drones up to a count of four. There are also shields that will protect you from any type of damage, and if you snag another shield before using up the first one, your shield stacks. There is a mini boss fight before the final encounter, so if you can make it there without losing any of your lives, you’re in good form to take on the final boss. The attacks from the creature at the end are super difficult to dodge, and it has a few surprises that might catch you off guard. Be alert, don’t lose hope, and keep firing.
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