Warhawk (1995 video game)
North American cover art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation, PlayStation Network|
|Genre(s)||Vehicle simulation game|
Warhawk, released as AirAssault in Japan, is a futuristic arcade-style flight-combat game for the Sony PlayStation console, developed by SingleTrac and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was originally released on November 10, 1995 in North America and a month later in Europe. It was later re-released as part of Sony's Greatest Hits line-up.
A Windows version slated for release in 1996 was canceled.
Warhawk is a vehicle simulation game built around a futuristic VTOL craft. The player maneuvers with 360 degrees of flight control through six levels. Weapons include fire-off lock-ons, rockets, multi-fire swarmers, and plasma cannons. The game has no multiplayer capabilities and does not feature DualShock or analog controller support.
There are no saving or loading features. Instead, a password is presented each time a level is completed. The game ends after its six levels are completed, or when the player's craft can no longer fly. This occurs if the craft takes heavy damage or the player ejects from their craft. The craft is teleported to base, repaired, and sent back to the stage for the first two times this happens; on the third time, the game ends.
Enemies in the game vary from being tanks and aircraft to massive fixed gun emplacements and futuristic robots. In certain areas of the game, enemies continuously respawn to challenge the player until they swiftly complete the mission objective. A version of the Warhawk craft itself is the final boss in Twisted Metal: Black.
The plot of the game centers around a megalomaniac named Kreel who has become a global threat and is threatening various nations with his seemingly unstoppable armies. Players take the role of two pilots named 'Hatch' and 'Walker', who are part of an international force devoted to fighting Kreel and his varied minions. As the campaign progresses, the source of Kreel's power is revealed to be Red Mercury, which provides his forces with their nigh-invulnerability.
The game has various endings depending on what actions the player takes. These include a costly nuclear war, Kreel choking to death on a chicken bone, a happy ending selling "I survived the Red Mercury war" baseball caps, both pilots being served as the main course at Kreel's grand victory ceremony, or Hatch being brainwashed by the Red Mercury and becoming Kreel's willing servant and destroying the mothership and remaining planetary defense forces.
Associate producer/designer Mike Giam explained how the game's basic concept was formed: "We looked at shooters like After Burner and StarFox, and we juxtaposed their arcade feeling with the freedom of a computer flight sim."
Warhawk was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Critics lauded the precise controls, music, graphics, sound effects, and most especially the freedom and variety afforded by the open 3D world and complex flight controls, though some felt the game was too short.
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