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Game info

Black Hornet

Black Hornet
GenreAction Shooter
DeveloperPAL Developments
PublisherHi-Tec Software
Reviewed byndial
Black Hornet is another SWIV-clone, vertical shoot 'em up game. It was developed by PAL Developments (and published by Hi-TEC Software in 1991 for the Amiga and Atari ST. A year later, a Commodore 64 version followed.
You fly a state of the art military aircraft over four different combat terrains (a desert, valleys and mountains, the sea and space). A main feature of this shooter is that you can increase or reduce your aircraft's height during combat to be able to hit either ground or air forces! A shadow is visible on the screen, below the aircraft to indicate Black Hornet's height relative to the ground. The aircraft can fly under some bridges provided that you select the correct height. Also, when an airfield or aircraft carrier is encountered you have the option to land. Another difference between this and every other vertical scrolling shoot 'em ups is that your plane carries bombs instead of guns! This means that you cannot kill enemies directly by simply getting them in your line of sight but you have to get them in the right bomb range otherwise your bombs will fly over their heads and explode harmlessly on the ground! There are several air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons (such as homing missiles, torpedoes, decoy round and radiation missiles) with which you can destroy the enemy forces (aircrafts, ships and ground installations). Black Hornet can be shot down if it receives enough direct hits or runs out of fuel. Points scored from your kills enable you to stop at the airfields to restock with a variety of weapons and tip up with fuel and shields. During combat, weapons can be switched by hitting the Spacebar and then the Enter to activate one. You can buy any weapons you can afford but note that not all weapons are suitable over every terrain. There is also the option to buy a Turbo boost. The game is nice to play, though the action is a bit repetitive with nothing innovative to see. Black Hornet is a typical shoot 'em up and is recommended only if you're into this genre. Personally I love playing most kind of shoot 'em ups, so if you're also a fan, give it a try.

The Amiga version features nice visuals and smooth sprite animation but overall it looks like a direct port from the Atari ST. The scrolling runs a bit smoother while the sprites are well designed and animated. The sound is mediocre though and features a repetitive music tune during gameplay. You have the option to play either with sound effects or with music but cannot have both.

On our video below you may watch the Atari ST, Amiga OCS and Commodore 64/128 versions of the game.
  • Black Hornet
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Intro/Menu music:  In-game music sample:
Gameplay sample
Comparable platforms
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS
Atari ST
Hardware information

Amiga 500/500+

Amiga 500/500+CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
The Amiga 500/500+ (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colors palette
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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