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Creative Sparks
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

The game with more padding than an LA Raider - Wagnerian music, five screens of intelligence reports, memos from strategic planning centre - and none of it helps you play the game. Don't you get nostalgic for the good old whizz bang days of Space Invaders, when all you had to do was prang the cabbage crates out of the cosmos?

Beneath all the baloney of Black Hawk lurks a sound shoot 'em up, which amidst all the adrenalin pumping carnage, requires a cool head and no little strategic planning. Black Hawk is the most sophisticated fighting plane of all time, its main resource being its computerised attack systems. Its mission is to destroy enemy missile launching sites and airfields - the ultimate target being the runway on mission eight, but you'll only get this far with the successful completion of the previous seven.

So if you don't want to be left wallying about on level one you have to successfully employ both your attack and defence screens. During the former you can attack crucial staionary targets with you missiles but you must also zap moving targets (wot can also zap you). Let any of these pass by and out the bottom of the screen and you'll go on to the defence screen where you'll have to use your cannon. Although you can defend your three lives nothing annihilated will count toward your OTPF (on target percent figure) so it's crucial not to miss hostile targets while on attack mode. The better the OTPF figure acquired, the better weaponry you'll be given and so a greater chance of victory. You can get anything from more cannons, to Blitvigs which marmalize all on-screen targets. Or for that 'once in a mission' feeling, try Wild Weasel which'll make you invulnerable for a whole five seconds. With only two skills levels, Rookie and Honcho, you'll have to learn fast if you want to be Top Gun, up there with the Fly Boys.

All in all a pretty good shoot 'em up that's well worth the price.