Star Hawk


Developer GCE
Publishers GCE
Milton Bradley
Release date 1982
Genre First Person Shooter
Modes Single player
2 players simultaneous
Media Cartridge
ROM file


Star Hawk was a First Person Shooter arcade game made by Cinematronics. Up to two players could play simultaneously, destroying ships that flew over a planet by positioning their onscreen cursors on the ships while firing. The games were timed, which the player(s) had two minutes to score at least 10,000 points (or a multiple thereof), which would lead to an additional 20 seconds worth of gameplay added to the clock. However, the alien ships would become harder to hit as a difficulty increase.

One certain ship that flies past the center of the trench of the planet below (on this port; originally it would appear from a corner) will make a warning sound as it appears, which, if destroyed quickly, will give the player 800 points, enlarge the player’s cursor (that shot the ship), give double points for every ship destroyed and increase the planet’s scrolling speed for several seconds. If the ship wasn’t destroyed, it would subtract 800 points from the player(s’) score.

Note: on this port, the game starts off with one minute on the clock, not two, and the planet did not speed up, nor the player’s cursor enlarge when they shot the Command Ship on the original. However, the starting time on the clock could be changed via the game’s dipswitches on the original, depending on what the individual arcade owner wanted.


Main menuEdit

  • Choose number of players–button one
  • Choose game–buttons two and three
  • Start game–button four

In-game controlsEdit

  • Position cursor–joystick or D-pad
  • Fire–button four


  • Bomber--100 points
  • Missile--200 points
  • Rocket--300 points
  • Starship--500 points
  • Command Ship--800 points


  • Is this game called "Starhawk" or "Star Hawk"? From its entry at the Killer List of Video Games site (note: this is for the original arcade game), it appears to be one word, but when it’s fired up on a Vectrex or emulator, on the title screen it’s two words.
  • Game two is geared towards the original Vectrex analog controller, where the player can move the cursor in one direction, but if they let go of the stick, the cursor will snap back to its original starting position. Control on this game will not work with modern day converted digital controllers[1].
  • A modern day online version was created in 2010, which included the Vectrex port feature of the target site and point value doubling when the Command Ship was destroyed (see Links).


  • The modern day recreation of the game can be seen here, although the site only works with Internet Explorer, Opera Mobile, or FireFox (although it is currently not known if only the most recent or older versions of the latter will also work). Its video can be seen here
  • Click on the tabber below for a review. review

Along with Space Wars, Cinematronics kept the hits coming with the release of StarHawk in 1978. Tim Skelly was the mind behind this 4k shooter which is very reminiscent of the death-star trench sequence in George Lucas's Star Wars Episode 4. You pilot a craft which can not be physically seen other than for a cross-hair which the player directs around the screen in order to shoot opposing alien vessels. Skelly programmed StarHawk just before 'SunDance', another hit which has yet to be developed for the Vectrex. But who knows the way Vectrex programmers are supporting the machine today.

Cinematronics were struggling financially around the time of release of StarHawk, but in Skelly's own words StarHawk was 'enough of a success to keep the doors open' (Skelly 1990). Also in 1982 Mattel released a handheld game called 'StarHawk' and this was to be one of the first ever handheld videogames and is fairly tough to get ahold of. The beauty of StarHawk also lies in the two-player simultaneous gameplay which sees two cross-hairs on the screen at one time as two-players compete to see who can get the highest score and also to rid the planet of the menacing aliens.

Funnily enough there is a neo-pagan wiccan witch who goes by the name of StarHawk. Her books include Spiral of Dreams and no doubt she was probably a Vectrex enthusiast from the 80's who played the game and took a liking to the fast action packed transcendental sequences of the game Starhawk plus the mystical name.

StarHawk is time-limited in that the player has only 60 seconds to shoot down as many aliens as possible. However every now and then there will be bonus time added on if you are doing particularly well, so a decent player could be playing for around 2-3 minutes. The graphics are sweet and keep an ear out for the cosmic sound when the bonus time is added. Also I particularly like the orange and black overlay and StarHawk font used with this one. You'll think you're back in the eighties. StarHawk can be found going for around $40.U.S.on ebay fairly regularly.

Score 7/10

Review written by Daniel Foot


  1. Classic Game Creations site, maker of controllers (archived)
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