Battlehawks 1942 was - at its time - one of the best and most realistic flight simulators ever. Level of realism was high and the computer pilots intelligent and vicious, making them a dangerous opponent; especially when on a mission to defend bombers on a bombing run.
In the game you can choose whether you want to fly American or Japanese planes. The game features four epic naval clashes in full campaign mode that would determine the fate of the entire Pacific:
The fighter planes are fast and agile but, a direct hit from anti-aircraft flak fire means almost certain death, as the enemy fighters swoop in like vultures to shred the unfotunate player's crippled plane to pieces.
But, equipped with deadly firepower and having wingmen on the side there is no such thing as a free lunch for anyone.
Battlehawks 1942 gives the player a number of different missions to complete, ranging from guaranteeing the safety of an escort run to protecting your own bomber planes from the opponent's fighters to direct action dogfights to doing the bombing runs yourself.
The scenes visible from the plane seem 3D but, are actually just bitmaps being rotated and scaled depending on the player's view. The roar of the engines depends on the airspeed (which adds to the game's realism and helps identify when the plane is close to stalling). Lucasfilm decided to place emphasis on the action and, as a result, the amount of necessary details in flight controls were left to bare minimum, making the game rather arcade-like. The player may choose from 5 different fighters and has the option to tweak the difficulty level with a couple of cheats (unlimited ammunition, unlimited armor and unlimited fuel). Battlehawks 1942 is the prequel to "Their Finest Hour".
Game name: Battlehawks 1942
Game category: Flight simulator / arcade
Published by: Lucasfilm Games
Published in: 1988
Published for: several platforms (PC DOS, Amiga etc)
Producer: Lawrence Holland