Hawkeye is a scrolling run-and-gun platform shooter developed by Boys Without Brains and published by Thalamus for the Commodore 64 in 1988. It is considered to be one of the best C64 releases of all-time, with simple gameplay, attractive graphics, and memorable music by Jeroen Tel.
The aim of the game is to collect puzzle pieces on a scrolling landscape of platforms, while blasting enemies with a variety of weapons. The glowing eyes of the eagles at the top of the screen show which direction you need to be going to find the next puzzle piece. If you touch an enemy or fall off the bottom of the screen you lose a life. When you’ve collected the four puzzle pieces required to complete a level you must then exit at the far right of the screen. You can, however, stay on a level longer if you like, to collect more puzzle pieces and possibly earn an extra life and more points.
There are four different weapons you can use: the default pistol, which is weak against larger monsters but has unlimited ammunition; and the machine gun, the laser, and the rocket launcher, which all have limited ammunition. To switch between them you simply press the four C64 function keys.
There are twelve levels in total, each with its own graphical style, and there’s also a secret level which you automatically enter after completing the first five levels without losing a life. And if you end the game on a level you get the option to practise it with infinite lives before starting the main game again, which is a neat addition.
Hawkeye is beautifully-presented with a great soundtrack and excellent use of colour, and the simple gameplay makes it still fun to play now. It’s a sure-fire Commodore 64 classic. Amiga and Atari ST conversions appeared later, in 1989.
Final note: an official Hawkeye 2 was in the works, but it was never completed for (currently) unknown reasons. Team Onslaught was working on their own Hawkeye sequel, which was teased in October 2010, but unfortunately that seems to have petered-out. Who knows? An actual Hawkeye sequel may eventually surface…