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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Thunderhawk is a 'Phoenix'- type game with three screens. In the first your ship, moving left and right at the base of the screen, combats seried ranks of hawk-like birds which drop bombs, and occasionally one will swoop down on you. In the second screen your rate of fire is slightly improved to cope with the increased numbers of hawks, bombs and their more frequent swooping attacks.

Moving to the third screen, you are confronted with the large-sized mothership, the underside of which must be eroded by your gunfire until a hole can be opened up in the green conveyor belt and it all blows up. While this is happening showers of large bombs drop not only from the mothership but from empty space as well, if you move outside the ship's range.

Completing all three screens takes you on to level 2, a repeat with slightly higher odds.


'It seems odd for a software house to be bringing out a 'Phoenix'-style game nowadays, but anything is welcome if it' s good. Unfortunately Thunderhawk doesn't seem to offer anything new. The standard of graphics is fairly good, better than a lot of earlier versions, as one would expect, but the scope of the game isn't very large. There are no speed differences to select, and once the three screens have been completed, which is very easy for the first level of play, it loses much of its little attraction. Another annoying thing is that nowhere does it state what control keys to use.'

'I think this is meant to be a "Phoenix" Iookalike. It does have a few features of the arcade original. Due to its lack of colour and sound it destroys the game's playability. The hawks dive and swoop very nicely, but shooting anything on the screen can be be difficult because the fire rate is exceptionally slow. The Mothership is quite nicely detailed and large, but its extraordinary bombing techniques - the bombs follow you about wherever you go, even beyond the ship's limits - are not at all like the arcade version, and are not an improvement. Graphics are nice and smooth, but not overfast. No useful information whatever has been put on the inlay or on the screen, so it's left to the player to figure out how to go about it.'

'The Spectrum may not be noted for its colour qualities, but I would have thought Lyversoft could have been a bit more imaginative in their use of colour in this game. Apart from the Mothership, with its magenta underbelly and orange top, the predominant colours are pale blue, blue and white. I would expect more from an arcade shoot 'em up today than this game offers, and there are better, older versions available.'

Control keys: 4/5 - left/right, A to fire
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: after discovering the keys, simple and responsive but the graphics are quite slow
Use of colour: poor
Graphics: above average, smooth
Sound: poor
Skill levels: progressive sheets
Lives: 5
General Rating: Average.


Screenshot Text

A vertiable snowstorm of bombs in Thunderhawk.