Black Dawn (video game)

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Black Dawn
European PlayStation cover art
Developer(s)Black Ops Entertainment (PS)
Point of View (Saturn)
Publisher(s)Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s)PlayStation, Saturn
  • NA: October 24, 1996[1]
  • JP: December 27, 1996
  • EU: February 1997
Genre(s)Shooter game
Mode(s)Single player

Black Dawn is a helicopter-combat simulation, published by Virgin Interactive Entertainment. It was released on the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn in 1996.


Set in 1998, the player controls a helicopter ace recruited into a black ops counterterrorism strike force named Operation Black Dawn. The player pilots the agile AH-69 Mohawk, an advanced combat helicopter with a powerful arsenal of weaponry.


The game consists of seven campaigns that take place in different areas, and each campaign has a number of different missions. In addition to search-and-destroy objectives, there are hostages that require saving.[3] The game has drawn comparisons with Soviet Strike, another helicopter simulator released in the same year. However, Black Dawn resembles an arcade game rather than a typical simulator, not least because various power-ups are obtained from destroyed enemies.

A two-player deathmatch mode is included, but can only be accessed via a cheat code.[4]


Lead programmer Will Botti cited Choplifter as an inspiration for the game.[5]

The game uses the same engine as Agile Warrior, Black Ops Entertainment's previous game.[6]

The soundtrack was originally composed by Todd Dennis.


Black Dawn received generally positive reviews. Critics praised the intense gameplay with numerous targets,[7][8][10][13][14] the orchestral music,[7][9][13] and the clean, detailed graphics,[7][9][10][13][14] though some criticized the heavy use of distance fog and the blocky ground textures.[7][13][14] Some also remarked that the complex controls take time to get used to.[7][10][13][14] However, nearly all were left with an overall positive impression; GameSpot assessed it as "what loud, engaging gameplay is all about",[8] Next Generation called it "a pleasing combination of excellent graphics and dead-on game play",[9] Sega Saturn Magazine summarized it as "A top 3D shoot 'em up that's initially difficult to get to grips with, but ultimately is a very fine game indeed",[10] and GamePro concluded, "A few flaws aside, Black Dawn is a well-rounded game that delivers riveting, adrenaline-packed combat."[13] Electronic Gaming Monthly named it a runner-up for Flying Game of the Year (behind Pilotwings 64).[15]

GamePro called the Saturn version "an impressive, exact port of the PlayStation game", but went on to say that the graphics are not as clean and the control configuration is not as intuitive.[14]


  1. ^ "Sony PlayStation Available Software sorted by Release Date @". 1998-06-11. Archived from the original on 1998-06-11. Retrieved 2023-10-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "Software List (Released by Soft Licensees)". セガ 製品情報サイト (in Japanese). Sega. Retrieved May 15, 2023.
  3. ^ "Black Dawn: Terrorize the Terrorists". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 87. Ziff Davis. October 1996. pp. 156, 158.
  4. ^ "S.W.A.T. Pro: PlayStation Black Dawn". GamePro. No. 102. IDG. March 1997. p. 120.
  5. ^ "Behind the Screens". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 87. Ziff Davis. October 1996. p. 158.
  6. ^ "Black Dawn". GamePro. No. 96. IDG. September 1996. p. 45.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Review Crew: Black Dawn". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 88. Ziff Davis. November 1996. p. 80.
  8. ^ a b c "Black Dawn Review". GameSpot. December 1, 1996. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  9. ^ a b c d "Rising Fun". Next Generation. No. 23. Imagine Media. November 1996. p. 266.
  10. ^ a b c d e Nutter, Lee (May 1997). "Review: Black Dawn". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 19. Emap International Limited. pp. 70–71.
  11. ^ Thompson, Jon. "Black Dawn (Sega Saturn) Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  12. ^ Sutyak, Jonathan. "Black Dawn (PlayStation) Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Air Hendrix (December 1996). "ProReview: Black Dawn". GamePro. No. 99. IDG. p. 118.
  14. ^ a b c d e Air Hendrix (March 1997). "Saturn ProReview: Black Dawn". GamePro. No. 102. IDG. p. 82.
  15. ^ "The Best of '96". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 92. Ziff Davis. March 1997. p. 88.

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