Hudson Hawk

by Charles Davies, Ivan Davies, James Bagley, Keith Tinman
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 94, Dec 1991   page(s) 62,63

Despite the panning the movie received at the cinema, Ocean have pixellated the antics of Bruce 'Die Hard' Willis to produce Hudson Hawk, the computer game. Mark Caswell dons a raincoat and adopts a silly french accent to investigate a recent spate of burglaries.

£10.99 cassette

Our hero's a cat burglar, who after a stretch in the slammer is determined to go straight. But a gang of crooks have different ideas. They've kidnapped The Hawk's best pal and unless he half-inches three very valuable Da Vinci artefacts for them, Hudson's friend is going to be very brown bread. He reluctantly agrees to help, but soon finds there's more to the situation than meets the eye.

The criminals are secretly working on a scheme called 'The Alchemy Project' - a machine that produces gold. But they need the three artefacts to complete it, and once they've got it running, they plan to rule the world through economic leverage. It's up to you as Hudson Hawk to steal the artefacts, but to use them as a bargaining point to secure your friend's release.

There are three levels to the game (three levels, three artefacts - simple, eh?). The first sends you to Rutherford's Auction House to retrieve Leonardo Da Vinci's horse sculpture - the 'Sforza' (excuse me while I push my teeth back into place).

The Hawk starts the game on the roof of the building adjoining the auction house. His first task is to perform a little rooftop hopping before entering the building via an open window. But life isn't that simple because as a tea leaf Hudson isn't at all welcome.

At the bottom of the screen is a large green bar (you can't miss it), which is your energy indicator. Contact with the guard dogs, security guards, various automated security devices and birds that crap on you knock this down.


But you're not defenceless, you've got a supply of baseballs to lob at attackers (replacements can be found scattered around). If all else fails, you can punch your assailant's lights out. Once inside the building, Hudson finds himself on a staircase with five floors below him (numbered 11-7), a door leading into each. Your aim's to reach the safe on the seventh floor, but you have to explore the other rooms (in order) first.

Each level is split into several parts and in level one you search rooms, dodge security alarms / guards / laser guns and even crawl through air vents (very Die Hardish). With luck, you can then snaffle the Sforza and it's on to level two, where the wanted object is the 'Codex', Mr Da Vinci's personal sketchbook. This is on show in the halls of the Vatican, so along with the usual security measures you have to face some very unfriendly nuns (the mind boggles - Ed).

If you manage to escape from Jean-Paul's residence you still have to find the third and final object, safely housed in Leonardo Da Vinci's castle. The 'Mirrored Crystal' is the only thing capable of destroying the Gold Machine, and thus putting an end to the Alchemy Project. Of course, there are plenty of ruffians out to duff you over, but the life of your friend and the fate of the world rests in your hands.


Even if the movie version is a turkey, it certainly doesn't reflect on the game, which is an arcade puzzle fan's dream come true. The first section throws several brain teasers at you, including how to cross from one rooftop to the other and how to enter a high window.

Although every problem has its solution, some take some finding. One of your biggest headaches is sneaking past the security beams in the walls and the pressure pads set in the floor.

For the first few attempts, Hudson Hawk's pretty hair-tearing: many times I flung the joystick down, muttering '@$*£#c* game!'

Graphically, Hudson Hawk's outstanding. The game was programmed by Special FX's James Bagley, the man who brought Batman - The Caped Crusader and Midnight Resistance to your screens. Hudson's a beefy little chap who, with his Vanilla Ice hairstyle and hoopie shades, is a most excellent dude. The sprites for the main part are monochrome, with a bit of colour splashed around the backgrounds. The rottweilers that appear throughout the game made me chortle the most - they look just like the Spitting Image puppets!

Go out and buy Hudson Hawk, now! And no half-inching it from the shop!

MARK [93%]

The Hudson Hawk film got a right royal slating by the critics but this game features some of the best sprite animation I've ever seen. The first time that rottweiler grabbed me by the pants and threw me off the roof I nearly died laughing! The gameplay is exciting and original, and while not being instantly addictive, it certainly grows on you. One gripe comes to mind, though. The sprite masking is occasionally a little wonky - Bruce Willis can hang onto the edge of a platform by his toenails, making the game look a little dated in places. Ocean have certainty latched onto a sense of the ridiculous in this tongue-in-cheek game - I mean, fancy throwing tennis balls at pigeons who deplete your energy by crapping on you - very silly! All in all, though, Hudson Hawk is a challenging game that oozes character. A worthy CRASH Smash that will keep you occupied for ages.
LUCY [90%]

Notice: Array to string conversion in /_speccy_data/games/zxsr/zxsr.php on line 19 Blurb: Array

Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 92%
Sound: 85%
Playability: 89%
Addictivity: 90%
Overall: 92%

Summary: Hudson Hawk is an arcade puzzler's dream. Ocean have produced yet another winner.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 72, Dec 1991   page(s) 33

£10.99 cass
Reviewer: James Leach

I reckon it's a bit of a duff licence, this one. I mean, Hudson Hawk was supposed to be the new Indiana Jones or something, but the crowds didn't exactly flock to see the movie. But what's the game like? Could it possibly be as crap as the film?

Well, actually it isn't. It's really rather good. In fat, it's better than a lot of the so-called 'brilliant' licence conversions that come whizzing under the door of the YS shed (we haven't had a letterbox installed yet. Hmm, must get that done one day).

Anyway, back to Hudson Hawk. What seems to have happened is that Leonardo Da Vinci has had a load of stuff nicked from his house.

I can't see how this matters to him because he's been dead for 450 years. Mind you, his relatives would probably be a bit upset. Anyway, someones certainly upset enough to call in Hudson Hawk. Not the police or a special security company, but someone who looks very like Bruce Willis (sweaty, unshaven and generally manky). Weird, eh?

At this stage it might be a good idea to say that Hudson Hawk is definitely a bloke (not a river or a bird of prey). Despite his appearance and laughable name, hes a do-gooding, adventuring sort of bloke who's quite good at finding stuff that's been nicked from people who have been dead for ages (you know the sort).

Now that he's agreed to take the job, Hudson's got to find the "Sforza" Horse. This isn't just any horse (cos that'd be far too easy), but a special sculpture that Leonardo did one inspired night after he came beck from the bingo.

This horsey sculpture has been spotted in a safe on the seventh floor of Rutherfords Auction House. All you need to do is get in there and make your way past security guards, dogs and laser-beam devices. Then find the safe, get it open and walk out with the equestrian statue.


All right, I will. Even though you've got the statue, you're troubles aren't over. Oh, no! To complete Level Two you must retrieve Leonardo's sketch book (known, for some reason, as the Codex). This can be found in the Halls of the Vatican. So the Pope's probably nicked it. Hmm, not like him, is it?

Along the way you meet up with some nuns who seem quite friendly, but appearances are deceptive. These nuns have got bad habits (!), and they'll try and stop you getting the Codex if it's the last thing they do.

Next there's Level Three. Here, you have to enter Leonardo's castle to find the mirrored crystal. I bet you didn't know old Leo had a castle, did you? Well he has. And the weirdest thing about it is that it's built entirely of fun-sized Mars bars. (Now, James, thats a patent untruth. Ed) That's what being a genius can do for you. If you get this mirrored crystal thing, apparently you can destroy a gold-making machine and put an end to an alchemy operation. Trying to stop you this time are ballooning gangsters, TV-throwing thugs, sloths and rats. Something tells me this is all getting a bit silly, but my sources assure me that this all appears in the film.

Yes, yes, before you say it - I know there are only three levels. And I know it doesn't sound like a particularly large game. What I haven't yet told you is that each level subdivided into lots of, er, little levels. So you've actually got about ten sections to get through, not three. The great thing about this is that when you die, you only go back to beginning of that section, not the beginning of the level. So there's none of that 'going-through-the-first-bit-again'stuff.

What else? Well, Hudson Hawk has got some fiendish puzzles in it. I don mean just mean a little bit thought-provoking. I mean mind-blowingly, lateral- thinkingly difficult. For example, on Level One you've got to get through a high window. It's far too high to jump and there aren't any platforms that you can reach either. What are you going to do? Well if you were the real Bruce Willis you'd probably give up and have a car-chase or something, but that isn't an option here.

Instead you'll have to just work out the prob. I'll give you a weeny clue, though. Those crates you can see aren't fixed down, so you can push them around. (That's enough clues. Ed).


The little Hudson character is very well animated. He reminds me of Arnie in that other Ocean game, Total Recall. He's got a trendy hairstyle, Ray-Ban shades and a sharp black suit. If he's running along and you try to stop him, he does a completely brilliant skid and keeps going for a moment. Its a nice touch Hawkie looks just like a cartoon character! it also makes the game that bit harder to play. Y'see, sometimes you have to position Hudson quite accurately and the fool keeps skidding around like a toddler on an ice-rink.

There's also a lot of colour around. I don't know about you but I do like a lot of colour in games. It makes them so, er, colourful (in a spooky kind of way). By keeping Hudson himself black and white Ocean have also managed to avoid any attribute clashes as well, so you've really got the best of both worlds.

Yep, if you're into platform games which call for a bit of mental activity, Hudson Hawk could well be for you. That's not to say there isn't any violence. There's loads of people, animals and, er, other things wandering around and getting in your way.

Luckily Hudson is armed with a boxing glove for some serious punching and he's got an endless supply of softballs to throw. These are dead useful for knocking out baddies and hitting things you can't reach, like door-handles and switches.

If you're a die-hard (geddit?) fan of platform games, you might not go a bundle on Hudson Hawk. It's a bit slow to play cos of the puzzles, and the baddies don't exactly come thick and fast. On the other hand - it's original, it's fun and I like it. So there.

Notice: Array to string conversion in /_speccy_data/games/zxsr/zxsr.php on line 19 Blurb: Array

Life Expectancy: 87%
Instant Appeal: 79%
Graphics: 81%
Addictiveness: 76%
Overall: 80%

Summary: It's big and it's absorbing. Sort of like a fluffy towel, really.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 86, Feb 1993   page(s) 42


D'you know what I got for Christmas? Nothing. But you don't care, you're only interested in Replay.

Hit Squad
061 832 6633
Reviewer: Linda Barker

Apparently Hudson Hawk one of that rare breed - a good game from an appalling film.

The first thing that strikes you is the little Hudson Hawk character - he's beaut! But I suppose you lot want to know about the plot and stuff, don't you? Well, it's all very complicated and convoluted, so I'm not going to tell you. Oh okay, here's a remarkably brief summation... Hudson Hawk is an all round good cheese. He's discovered that a bunch of crims have got this machine that will soon be able to make gold, all they need is a few of Leonardo Da Vinci's personal belongings. As Hudson, you decide to foil them by stealing Leonardo's stuff yourself and then blackmailing the crims. Oh, and they've kidnapped a mate of yours too. Phew, eh?

Well, as I was saying, the little Hudson sprite is so cute - especially when he gets chucked off the roof by a St Bernard or jumps up and down on parasols. The game itself is a straightforward horizontally-scrolling platform game that'll take you quite a while to finish. The graphics are blocky, but they really work and your Hudson sprite is nice and easy to control. Dead good - a pleasant surprise.

Overall: 80%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 133, Mar 1993   page(s) 19


Look, over there, through that swirling cloud of strange mist... No, it can't be, but it is! SU's guide to the game-greats of yester-year. Yes indeedy there have been some good 'uns on the market in the last few years so now's the time to start polishing up on your collection if you've missed out on any of these fabbo titles. Mark Patterson, who's been in the business since before he was born and who has written not just for SU but also for Amiga, ST, PC and Console mages gives us an extra critical run down of the best...

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Mark Patterson

Hudson Hawk may have been a bit of a duff film, but Hudson Hawk the game is really excellent. It's based on a series of major robberies and also involves solving some head scratchingly good puzzles. There are three levels, in the first, Hudson has to get his thieving mitts on Leonardo da Vinci's sculpture, the Storza Horse. The second is set in the Vatican, where a Hudson tries to make off with a Codex (one of Leonardo famous notebooks). The final level features a spooky old castle where a 'mirrored crystal' awaits is ripe for the picking.

Overall: 87%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 118, Dec 1991   page(s) 33

Label: Ocean
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £10.99 Tape, £15.99 Disk
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes

Poor old Bruce Willis. He just hasn't been the same since the movie called Hudson Hawk was released.

Why? 'Cos some people hated it, some people involved in it tried to bury it in an undiscovered corner of Lapland whilst others who liked it are still undergoing severe electro convulsive therapy somewhere in a dug up corner of Lapland.

Under these circumstances I was wondering just how bad the game could be but I really should have been a weatherman, 'cos stone me with a ten ton boulder if Hudson Hawk hasn't ended up as one of the Spectrum surprises of the year! Equal measures of cuteness, firepower and brain power are all evident once you take up the stick.

For those of you unfamiliar with the film (or those of you who have recently awakened to find yourselves in a heavily populated corner of Lapland, Hudson is a famous international jewel thief who must break into so-called impregnable buildings and recover historical artefacts.

Level one sees Hudson tackling Rutherford's Auctioneers to gallop off with Leonardo Da Vinci's horse sculpture "Sforza". Level two involves absconding from the Vatican with Leonardo's famous sketch book 'The Codex' whilst in level three he enters Leonardo's castle to retrieve a mystical stone called "The Mirrored Crystal".

Hudson Hawk is horizontally scrolling mayhem. Our main man is represented by a very cute, smiling and sliding, black and white sprite - his enemies are all rather unusual. The first time each new one appears on screen it's guaranteed to make you laugh, especially the manic cycling clown and the bum biting dobermann. You must avoid them, collect money, negotiate alarms and traps and use your brain to solve end of level access puzzles.

Control is very precise - too precise at times! If you have a dodgy joystick, trying to complete the game could be more difficult and infuriating than attempting to cut down a conifer with a wet kipper. Sound fits well and the music track is worth a listen.

I was pleasantly surprised with this title, it's cute, it's funny and has lots of puzzle and shoot 'em up action. If you liked the film (and will be returning from Lapland in time for Christmas) you'll no doubt want to see this. If not I'd recommend it anyway, it might be a little confusing at first but it's got a depth and humour that unfortunately puts our Brucie's performance in the film to shame!

This really is a corker of a game! The combination of arcade action and brain poppin' puzzles is exactly right. Hudson Hawk is colourful, playable, and fun. THe best Spectrum film license this year!

Graphics: 89%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 91%
Lastability: 92%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Cute, playable, horizontally scrolling criminal high jinks in Rome. The wealth of funny enemies, hidden traps and puzzles in Hudson Hawk makes it well worth a look.

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 131, Jan 1993   page(s) 36

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes

This time last year I was reclining on a hammock in SU Towers, twiddling my thumbs while mysterious veiled beauties fed me grapes and attended to my every whim and fancy. Then suddenly Garth Sumpter woke me up and told me Hudson Hawk had arrived.

At that moment I was less than excited at the prospect of looking at the game as the film was an incredible pile of old ants' droppings.

Once started though I couldn't stop playing the game for days. It was excellent. Right from the first puzzle (how to get in the window) through warding off kids on bikes, vicious thieves, nuns and monks of doom, avoiding electrocution and being laser frazzled, to eventually prancing off with the treasures of Rutherfords and the Vatican, Hudson Hawk is one hell of an enjoyable game.

Basically Hudson Hawk is a three leveller, starting off in an expensive and well guarded auctioneers where Bruce Willis has to steal Leonardo Da Vinci's famous 'Storza' horse sculpture. It then moves on to the Vatican where he tries to abscond with Leonardo's 'Codex', (a sketch book) and ends up (if you ever manage it) in an old castle where a 'mirrored crystal' lies waiting, ripe for Brucie's thieving tendencies.

The graphics are cute, chunky and detailed and the main sprite is a joy to behold. He's a little difficult to control due to a somewhat slippery pair of shoes but, although this will lead you into a few sticky situations, it never really impairs enjoyment. Sound is sparse but apt and the game has enough playability and hilarious features to ensure that you'll never get sick of it. Excellent dudes!!!!!

Hudson Hawk was a flop at the movies and I half expected a flop on computer too. However I was pleasantly surprised by Ocean's top effort with this game. It deserved more attention than it got when first released and they should sell absolutely bags of it at this ridiculous price.

Graphics: 91%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 90%
Lastability: 91%
Overall: 91%

Summary: Hudson Hawk has always been, in my opinion, one of the most enjoyable Spectrum games of the last year or two. It has plenty of puzzles, plenty of variety, plenty of speed and more than enough levels to keep you going for a long time. A beauty and no mistake.

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB