Mean Machines

Captain Skyhawk

Publisher: Milton Bradley Company
Machine: Nintendo (US Version)

Published in Mean Machines #10

Captain Skyhawk

An evil empire has arrived from outer space and is threatening to conquer the entire Earth! They've already dispatched battleships to build massive installations on the planet's surface, and have infested the land with attack craft! Earth's defence controllers are more than a bit miffed about this and have summoned the elusive Captain Skyhawk for help.

Captain Skyhawk's the hunkiest hero available, and is also a bit of a dab hand when it comes to flying an F-14 Tomcat. He's also got his own customised, souped-up F-14 fueled and ready for instant use. His ship can hover in mid-air like a Harrier jump-jet, travel into space like the Space Shuttle, and carry more weapons than a V52 blanket bomber!

His main objective is to destroy the four installations that the enemy have created, but there's loads of sub-missions in the game that Skyhawk must carry out before he can claim to be victorious!

Up-The-Screen Annihilation

Captain Skyhawk

Most of the game is set over a multi-directionally scrolling 3D landscape, with Skyhawk travelling up the screen in his trusty F-14. This part of the game depicts Skyhawk's low-level strafing of enemy targets.

The action changes once Skyhawk reaches the end of the level...

Special Missions!

Sometimes, instead of blowing up a base, Skyhawk is directed to carry out a special mission. The first involves dropping off supplies to allied forces, the second involves rescuing a valuable professor that the enemy have kidnapped! This involves blasting away at various forcefield generators that are holding the poor Prof captive.

Bomb The Base

Captain Skyhawk

Destroying these bases is the key to the game. To make them explode, Skyhawk simply has to shoot the four orbs and then centre his fire on the control tower in the middle of the complex. But these bases are heavily armed, so Skyhawk had better watch out for the heavy flak.

Docking With Skyhawk HQ

The last section of a particular mission sees Skyhawk attempting to dock with his base in outer space. The problem is that the base is spinning and Skyhawk has to time his own spin correctly if he's to enter his own base without harm.

Skyhawk Shopperama

Special Skyhawk money is given for each enemy target successfully destroyed. This can be used at the Skyhawk Shop to gain extra weapons.

Captain Skyhawk

1. 25mm Cannon The most essential weapon in the Skyhawk armoury. This can be powered up five times at ten credits a shot. A top-power cannon should be your first objective, it's the most powerful weapon by far!

2. Aim54 Missiles These come in handy for taking out stray jets in the Afterburner-style section of the game. One press of the B button locks the missile onto target. The next sends it on its way!

3. Maverick Missiles Skyhawk buys his own special brand of Maverick missiles. These babies spread explosive warheads in three directions on release, thus destroying a larger area. Useful for the main enemy bases.

Captain Skyhawk

4. Hawk Bombs Annihilate a large area with the aid of these cheap Hawk bombs! Their explosive power comes in handy when taking on the enemy, and at only two creds a hot you can't go far wrong!


Rare aren't usually ones to disappoint when it comes to Nintendo games and Captain Skyhawk is yet another example of a brilliant game. The graphics are excellent, the sprites are varied and well-animated (especially Skyhawk's F-14) and the backdrops are brill, the sound's decent as well with accomplished tunes and spot-on effects.

But it's the playability that counts and Captain Skyhawk is simply superb! The inertia on the F-14 is excellent, and the game is very challenging with loads of levels to conquer. I particularly like the level where the wings stay swept back, and Skyhawk has to negotiate the landscape travelling at supersonic speeds without crashing! To be perfectly honest, Captain Skyhawk is one of the finest NES action games out - and it's certainly the best Nintendo game I've played since Snake, Rattle And Roll.


Captain Skyhawk

Captain Skyhawk is one of the smoothest and fastest blasting games I've seen on the Nintendo, and I love it! The up-the-screen sections are very challenging, with hazards whizzing by beneath you and things to blast out of the sky and strafe on the ground.

At top speed you really have to rely on your reflexes to guide the plane safely around the hills and through the rather thin valleys without crashing!

The other sections add plenty of variety to the action, and the end result is a brilliant-looking, reaction-testing blaster with loads of high-speed action.


Captain Skyhawk

Presentation 88%
As usual for a Rare game, faultless! Excellent attract screens and super control method.

Graphics 92%
Amazing sprites compete with the accomplished backdrops for the player's attention.

Sound 91%
Decent tunes and some excellent sound effects!

Captain Skyhawk

Playability 93%
Control of the F-14 is easy, and the game is immediately addictive!

Lastability 89%
Loads o' levels for Skyhawk to conquer mean you'll be playing this for ages!

Overall 91%
An amazing NES blast - in fact, one of the best ever!