Hey up, there's trouble afoot. A gaggle of drugs barons have got together and are threatening the democracy of the small Republic of Lafia, although no-one's quite sure why. Anyway, the helpless Lafian government have requested aid form America (who else?) and Congress have agreed to send a posse of Green Berets (and some men) to sort them out. As luck would have it, you're the American pilot of a rather smart helicopter which can cause all kinds of mayhem. Got it?
You've got to work your way through seven different (but similar) missions before you finally get to finish off the leader of this unseemly coup. These missions include picking up paras, destroying cocaine production buildings and blowing away planes, choppers and ships - a veritable cocktail of violence.
A bit choppy
Controlling the chopper is not easy and you will find yourself going round in circles at first. It's fast and easily manoeuvrable but takes time to get used to. A small circle in front of the chopper (the sight mode) directs you to the nearest para to rescue, but it's more useful for determining your general direction. The areas that you fly around are small and unlike Desert Strike (there, I've mentioned it), you're never traveling in the same direction for more than a couple of seconds.
The overhead view works reasonably well and you fly at the same height throughout the game. Scattered around the islands are various ground targets, many of which will launch bombs at you. It's best to bomb runways, tank, tank hangers and helicopter landing pads as soon as possible - this stops more enemies emerging.
Fortunately, the bombs don't travel as fast as your chopper and if you can control the beast you will be able to avoid most of them. There's a control panel to keep you informed of the fuel/
Missions start on board the good ship Excalibur, from which you fly to destroy the targets and pick up paras. To p-pick a para, you hover above him, then you're transported into another short shoot-em-up section where you have to destroy oncoming enemy helicopters while hoisting the para up rope.
Let's do it all again
As you continue through the missions though, there is a feeling of deja vu. You blast runways and buildings, airlift paras, collect power-ups and then do it again. The heat-
Released hot on the heels of Desert Strike, references are inevitable. Firehawk is a shoot-em-up with far less fuss than its illustrious counterpart. Sadly, it's way behind on gameplay - there is no feel of realism whatsoever. You feel like you're actually flying a helicopter in Desert Strike, you don't in Firehawk.
If you feel particularly committed to Lafia's cause, then Firehawk is tailor-made for you. However, many Amiga games are more developed in graphics, sound and gameplay and you can't hide the fact that it's not as good as Desert Strike, even though it is £10 cheaper.