Along with Space Wars, Cinematronics kept the hits coming with the release of StarHawk in 1978. Tim Skelly was the mind behind this 4k shooter which is very reminiscent of the death-star trench sequence in George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode 4. You pilot a craft which can not be physically seen other than for a cross-hair which the player directs around the screen in order to shoot opposing alien vessels. Skelly programmed StarHawk just before ‘SunDance’, another hit which has yet to be developed for the Vectrex. But who knows the way Vectrex programmers are supporting the machine today.
Cinematronics were struggling financially around the time of release of StarHawk, but in Skelly’s own words StarHawk was ‘enough of a success to keep the doors open’ (Skelly 1990). Also in 1982 Mattel released a handheld game called ‘StarHawk’ and this was to be one of the first ever handheld videogames and is fairly tough to get ahold of. The beauty of StarHawk also lies in the two-player simultaneous gameplay which sees two cross-hairs on the screen at one time as two-players compete to see who can get the highest score and also to rid the planet of the menacing aliens.
Funnily enough there is a neo-pagan wiccan witch who goes by the name of StarHawk. Her books include Spiral of Dreams and no doubt she was probably a Vectrex enthusiast from the 80’s who played the game and took a liking to the fast action packed transcendental sequences of the game Starhawk plus the mystical name.
StarHawk is time-limited in that the player has only 60 seconds to shoot down as many aliens as possible. However every now and then there will be bonus time added on if you are doing particularly well, so a decent player could be playing for around 2-3 minutes. The graphics are sweet and keep an ear out for the cosmic sound when the bonus time is added. Also I particularly like the orange and black overlay and StarHawk font used with this one. You’ll think you’re back in the eighties. StarHawk can be found going for around $40.U.S.on ebay fairly regularly.
Review written by Daniel Foot
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