DescriptionThe follow-up to Laser Hawk takes a wider view of the universe. Your aim is to take over several hostile planets, such as the verdant Xavier and militaristic Cytron.
Gameplay takes a wider range too, eschewing the side-view blasting of its predecessor. There are two distinct gameplay styles. First you must fly up the screen Xevious-style, destroying the force field towards the end of the level (fail to do this and you must replay the whole level). You must face waves of enemies as well as ground installations. There are many hidden targets to shoot; these release white flags which when collected award extra lives, a short-term shield, or a points bonus.
Once you reach an accessible base, you must enter it on foot, in a section with similar gameplay to Gauntlet. Keys, weapons and bonus items are hidden in hatches on the wall, which are activated by touching them (most are empty, however). Blasting through walls (using a different weapon to your main one) is a large part of progression on these.
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DevelopmentThe authors of Hawkquest knew this would be their last game for the rapidly declining Atari 8-bit market, with the rise of the Atari ST and Amiga computers appearing - and decided to go all out in their final Atari game. Laser Hawk was heavily influenced by The Tail of Beta Lyra, and was Andrew Bradfield's version of that game. Having played Flak, which was the only Xevious like game for the Atari 8-bit computers, was disappointing for him. Xevious (also TimePilot 2001), and Gauntlet/Shamus were the major influences upon Hawkquest in its development
You will find homage to many other games, present in the secondary game of Hawkquest - and references to Atari, the Atari ST and New Zealand (where it was conceived and written from). Please note, that while the main game reuses the same planetary landscapes for Level 2, this is not the case for the Secondary Game, a whole new set of fortresses are present for Level 2. An effort was made for some variety, and to apply some unusual twists in it?
You don't actually have to finish the game to view the end animation sequence of the game - you can easily find a way to view it on the menu screen/map area. Having seen the loading/intro screens to Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus!, the creators of Hawkquest wanted to do some kind of special animation of their own, somewhat along these lines.
A key development tool, that was essential for Hawkquest to come about - was the utility Fontbyter that was published in Compute! magazine. This character landscape designer, in which you can assemble re-defined character maps with (of almost any size). Harvey made up some versions/variations of the games - Xevious, Espial, Timepilot 2001 with it, and these were displayed in a scrolling demo (see it at Youtube) written by Todd Gramstrup - seeing these scrolling screens, must have convinced Andrew, that almost anything was then possible - which was made use of, in Hawkquest. Please note - that a key character editor, was the Antic Character Editor, that was published in Byte magazine some years earlier (which was used for Laser Hawk) - this was the only workable character editor for the Antic mode 4 and 5. The character editor Superfont, could not be used because that did not work for the Antic modes.
At that time - there was not an example of many sprites on the screen, in any Atari computer game - however, Harvey had an example of this. This came from his contact with a programmer enthusiast in Wellington, NZ - Stewart Lees who such a routine working, in his game concept - in a demo program of Stewart's. Sadly Stewart's effort remained a demo only (never further developed or completed) - however it gave Andrew the confidence that he could write his own routine, which duplicated what he saw. Andrew always had a critical astute eye (and could see very clearly, exactly, what was on screen) - you will see this, when you take note of what he programmed with graphic animation, etc - that he copied from programmers he was in awe of.
Related Web Sites
- Hawkquest Atari 800 page -- Includes game details, screenshots, and locations of the hidden bonuses