Twin Hawk

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Twin Hawk
Twin Hawk arcade flyer.jpg
European Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Toaplan
Publisher(s)Taito
Designer(s)Yuichirō Nozawa[1]
Artist(s)Sanae Nitō
Yuko Tataka
Composer(s)Osamu Ōta[2][3]
Platform(s)Arcade
Release
Genre(s)Vertically scrolling shooter
Mode(s)
CabinetUpright
Arcade systemTaito X System[5]
CPUM68000, Z80[6]
SoundYM2151[5][6]
DisplayRaster, 224 × 384 pixels (Horizontal), 2048 colors

Twin Hawk[a] is a 1989 vertically scrolling shooter arcade video game originally developed by Toaplan and published by Taito. Set at the end of an alternative World War II, where general Giovanni and his army plots to take over the fictional country Gorongo, players assume the role of a wing commander from the Daisenpū squadron taking control of a Flying Fortress fighter aircraft in an effort to overthrow the enemy.

Created by Yuichirō Nozawa, Twin Hawk was developed as a commission for Taito by most of the same team that previously worked on several projects at Toaplan and made use of the former's Taito X System board. Though it was initially launched for the arcades, the game was later ported to consoles including the Sega Mega Drive, PC Engine and PC Engine CD-ROM², with each one featuring several changes and additions compared to the original version.

Twin Hawk was met with mixed reception from critics since its initial release in arcades, as well as its home conversions, and was regarded to be a flop.[6] The rights to the title are currently owned by Tatsujin, a Japanese company formed by former Toaplan member Masahiro Yuge.

Gameplay[edit]

Arcade version screenshot.

Twin Hawk resembles other shooters of the time, specifically Toaplan's earlier game, Flying Shark.[7][8][9] Also like Toaplan's other games, there were various differences between the Japanese version and other versions, including a checkpoint system and higher difficulty for the former. Unusually, the game contains no flying enemies; thus, a complete lack of physical obstructions and a stronger focus on the numbers and speed of ground forces.

Another draw of Twin Hawk is the game's unique "smartbomb" in the form of a group of friendly planes; pressing button 2 once will call in six Flying Fortresses to surround and protect the player's plane, and provide back-up fire. They are easily taken down by enemy fire, so the player must use them wisely.

Pressing button 2 again immediately after the call-in will sacrifice the planes for a more typical smartbomb. Otherwise, pressing button 2 while any other plane is on-screen will suicide them all into the nearest enemies below.

Synopsis[edit]

The plot summary of Twin Hawk varies between each region and version.[7][10][11] At the end of an alternate World War II, a new European country is formed called Gorongo. General Giovanni of the Gorongo military was infuriated with the results of the war and what it meant to the country of Gorongo, initiating a rebellion against the country’s government that was widely followed by his soldiers. Holing themselves up on Bobo Island, south of Gorongo, Giovanni declared the occupation as the independent state of Fuangania and plotted to take over Gorongo. After taking over the town of Kusunoki, the Fuangania invasion – consisting of massive ground and sea attack forces – started to spread. Gorongo President Bratt ordered a counterattack that focused on the one type of firepower Giovanni lacked: an air force. The special air force "Daisenpū" sets up a mountain base after spotting a secret Fuangania fortress under construction. However, nearing the end of their training, the airforce is spotted by the Fuangania and are preparing to attack. It's up to the player, in the role of a wing commander, to fly into Giovanni's secret base and take him and his commanding unit out.

Development and release[edit]

Most of the artwork were hand-drawn sketches created by the development team before being transpose to pixel art graphics.

Twin Hawk was created as a commission for Taito by most of the same team that worked on previous projects at Toaplan and made use of the former's Taito X System board.[1][2][3][5][12][13] Yuichirō Nozawa, who previously had not worked on shoot 'em up titles, served as its game designer.[1] Both Sanae Nitō and Yuko Tataka also acted as designers in the development cycle.[12] Osamu "Lee" Ōta wrote the soundtrack, becoming his sole work as composer for a shoot 'em up title.[2][3][6] The game was released by Taito in Japanese and European arcades on June 1989.[4] On August 29, 2018, an album containing its audio, as well as from other Toaplan titles was published exclusively in Japan by City Connection under their Clarice Disk label.[14]

Twin Hawk was ported a year later in-house by the same staff from the original arcade release to the Sega Mega Drive in Japan on June 23, 1989, and in Europe on July 25 of the same year.[15][16][citation needed] The Mega Drive port stays faithful to the original arcade release but has a number of key differences such as having a smaller color palette that lead to sprites being recolored in different ways, along with other presentation and gameplay changes from the original version.[8] Tataka stated that working with the Mega Drive proved to be difficult due to several restrictions imposed by the hardware.[12]

Twin Hawk was later ported by Center Tech and published by NEC Avenue to the PC Engine exclusively in Japan on December 14 of the same year after the Mega Drive version.[17][18] On July 26, 1991, an enhanced re-issue of the PC Engine version for the PC Engine CD-ROM² titled Daisenpu Custom[b] was released, which is similar to the previous PC Engine version with the added benefit of arranged CD-DA soundtrack and additional stages and enemies.[8][19] However, there are changes between the card and CD versions such as levels now being broken into areas instead of being continuous.[8]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Scores
Arcade Mega Drive PC Engine PCE CD-ROM²
ACE N/A 715 / 1000[20] N/A N/A
Aktueller Software Markt N/A 6 / 12[21] N/A N/A
Beep! MegaDrive N/A 30 / 40[22] N/A N/A
CVG Mean Machines N/A 71%[23] N/A N/A
Consoles + N/A N/A N/A 76%[24]
Famitsu N/A 30 / 40[16] 23 / 40[18] 25 / 40[19]
The Games Machine N/A 60%[25] N/A N/A
Gekkan PC Engine N/A N/A 74 / 100[26] 74 / 100[27]
Génération 4 N/A N/A 79%[28] N/A
Joystick N/A 71%[29]
53%[30]
61%[31]
46%[32]
N/A
Marukatsu PC Engine N/A N/A 27 / 40[33] N/A
Mega Drive Advanced Gaming N/A 56%[34]
41%[34]
N/A N/A
Mega Drive Fan N/A 16.85 / 30[35] N/A N/A
MegaTech N/A 71%[36]
60%[37]
N/A N/A
Micromanía N/A 7 / 10[38] N/A N/A
PC Engine Fan N/A N/A 20.39 / 30[39] 19.43 / 30[39]
Power Play N/A 45%[40] 45%[41] N/A
Raze N/A 87%[42] 79%[43] N/A
Sega Power N/A 60%[44]
3/5 stars[45]
3/5 stars[46]
N/A N/A
Sega Pro N/A 64 / 100[47] N/A N/A
Tilt N/A 14 / 20[48] 13 / 20[49] N/A
Your Sinclair 70° / 100°[50] N/A N/A N/A
Zero 1/5 stars[51] N/A N/A N/A
Awards
Publication(s) Award(s)
Gamest Mook (1989) 3rd Gamest Grand Prize: Annual Hit Game 40th (Arcade)[52]

On release, Famitsu scored the Mega Drive version of the game a 30 out of 40.[16]

Legacy[edit]

In more recent years, the rights to the game and many other IPs from Toaplan are now owned by Tatsujin, a company named after its Japanese title that was founded in 2017 by Masahiro Yuge, who are now affiliated with arcade manufacturer exA-Arcadia.[53][54][55][56][57]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Also known as Daisenpu (Japanese: 大旋風 (だいせんぷう), Hepburn: Daisenpū, lit. "Great Hurricane") in Japan.
  2. ^ 大旋風 カスタム (Daisenpū Custom)

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c Abeto, Kobatsu (September 1989). "東亜プランインタビュー". PSG (in Japanese). Vol. 10. FSG. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2017-05-31 at the Wayback Machine).
  3. ^ a b c Kiyoshi, Tane; hally (VORC); Yūsaku, Yamamoto (3 February 2012). "東亜プラン特集 - 元・東亜プラン 開発者インタビュー: 弓削雅稔". Shooting Gameside (in Japanese). Vol. 4. Micro Magazine. ISBN 978-4896373844. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2019-09-06 at the Wayback Machine).
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