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Review: Hanuro Hawk Enhanced Edition (v1.152)
Hanuro Hawk - Enhanced Edition is a clean and professional shmup. I actually think of it as the first-ever "elegant" traditional-styled shmup made with MMF2 I've played so far. Not to confuse that with "boring," of course; the game is a fine piece of work.
To start with, there are plenty of options that turn it up a notch. The Hanuropedia informs the player of all the game features and unlockables. The game is available to be played windowed and full-screen. High scores between two game modes (one online) are maintained and always visible on the start screen.
My only gripe about presentation is that I would prefer separate sliders for both background music and sound effects. And why must the player use the mouse on the start screen if it's not used in the rest of the game? Some consistency across-the-board would go far here.
GAMEPLAY The controls of the game are silky smooth, and after collecting a few ship upgrades you're sailing between the enemies, while explosions surround you. I enjoyed the "overheat" feature of the weapon systems; this adds strategy and challenge to an otherwise formula shmup. The variety of weapons available throughout the game caters to different play styles, and depending on the stage you play makes some challenges easier than others. And the special weapons available in Marathon Mode are a nice touch. I did notice, however, some bugs related to the various weapons when switching (from Laser to Machine Gun, for example), which was quite an annoyance. But upon snatching an additional powerup, this fixes itself. All the different variables available to the player create the illusion of a game providing a wide variety of gameplay. You'll be eager to try just one more game, but this time with just the missiles! It's also worthwhile to note that Enhanced Edition is an expansion on a 20-Event Competition entry. Although I've not played the original, I would be interested in seeing the differences, and note the changes.
GRAPHICS Hanuro Hawk shines in this category, with professional sprites and evocative backgrounds. There are some primitive particle effects and engine blasts, but this doesn't detract from gameplay and may in fact help keep gameplay manageable. And once unlocked, the special weapons add some flair to the game's later moments. The backgrounds convey the "space fighter" feel perfectly, but also end up being repetitive due to the game repeating itself in Marathon Mode. My favourite stage for a number of reasons is Stage 2 - The Fleet, where classic sci-fi ship designs and the vastness of outer space are prominently featured.
SOUND/MUSIC The background music is wonderful, simply put. While I played, I kept thinking of being in my own personal episode of Robotech...Although seemingly benign on the surface, the music sucks you into the world. All levels and the start screen are thematically linked through the music you hear, adding to the completeness and professionalism of Hanuro Hawk. Stage 2 has my personal favourite music track, and the best segment is reprised in the final boss battle. Crediting the composer adds to the professionalism and flair of the game, and a tip of the hat goes to Asholay for the evocative music provided. Apart from that, all shots fired, explosions, etc. were appropriate and well chosen. Although some might think the game a bit stark on sound, I found it to be a perfect balance. I noticed no flaws in the sound design.
LASTABILITY Only after scoring half a million points in Marathon Mode did I feel I was qualified in writing a review for Hanuro Hawk - Enhanced Edition. And it's been a fun ride on the way there! The increasing difficulty of the Marathon Mode becomes apparent once you make it through your first run of each of the three Stages, and I can only assume that the game ramps up in challenge until you're either constantly peppered with enemy bullets, or your ship overheats and explodes. I'm looking forward to continuing to increase my score, and see just how hectic things can be before I'm blasted to smithereens.
OVERALL To me, Hanuro Hawk - Enhanced Edition is one of the best shmups available for MMF2 enthusiasts. With polished visuals and production values, engaging gameplay that increases in challenge over time, and a soundtrack that can't be beat, I am impressed. Hanuro Hawk - Enhanced Edition is a game that takes itself seriously, and succeeds. Congrats to HitmanN and Asholay for creating such a fine benchmark for shmup fans to enjoy well into the future.
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