Retro Review: Warhawk

Original Release Date:
November 10, 1995

Not Recommended.
It seems unfair to capitalize on the popularity of the PS3 multiplayer game, Warhawk. Although largely heralded when it first arrived on PS1 more than a decade ago, it's clear that this PS1 legend hasn't aged well. Every aspect of the game feels antiquated, from the dated visuals, painful cinemas, and frustrating controls that simply don't translate well on the PSP (the PS3 controller works far better).

An ominous feeling sinks in when you experience the game's introductory sequence. Real actors are rarely used in modern game cinemas -- for good reason! While there is a certain charm in the camp on display, the cinematics do little do actually further the paper-thin story that's being told. The PS1 original has as much narrative as the PS3 sequel (that is, none at all).

Of the retro releases so far, Warhawk stands as one of the worst looking ones. Yes, it's over a decade old. But, questionable color choices make it hard to really see enemies, projectiles, and more. Jumping Flash! may look similar, due to its first person presentation, but at least the colorful visuals and inspired art make it look far more memorable. At the very least, the framerate is very solid.

The controls simply don't work without the extra shoulder buttons found on normal PS1 controllers. We used control Type 4 for the game, which maps the D-Pad to the analog nub. This felt the most comfortable, and allowed us to adjust our speed using the left and right button on the D-Pad. Analog control of the ship feels solid, but the sluggish nature of the controls make it hard to do evasive maneuvers. Playing from first person perspective doesn't help either.

Even if you can adapt to the sluggish controls and lackluster visual presentation, there are still a few more flaws that make Warhawk simply not worth the $6 that the Store asks for. Firstly, the use of passwords for progress is ridiculous for a portable game. It may have made sense back then, but it just doesn't work anymore. Finally, there's only six levels, and not much variety amongst them. Warhawk may have been considered a classic back then, but there are simply much better options for PSP owners.

Retro Review: 5.5