Battlehawks 1942 is a historical flight sim set in the Pacific during World War II. The game was created by LucasArts and released between 1988 and 1989 for MS-DOS, Amiga, and Atari ST.
The title was designed and programmed by Lawrence Holland, who would become famous for the great LucasGames flight sims. In fact, his name is associated not only with Their Finest Hour and Secret Weapons Of The Luftwaffe (which form with Battlehawks 1942, the so-called Lucasfilm WWII Air Combat trilogy) but also Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: TIE Fighter.
Battlehawks was not so advanced in terms of 3D simulation. At least not like the titles I just mentioned. The planes are not created with vector graphics (polygons), but instead, they are visualized with sprites. The background was not very detailed, basically just some blue for the sea and sky (which makes sense since this was a naval combat sim). However, in terms of gameplay, Battlehawks was one of the most engaging and rewarding flight sims available at the time. Dogfights are fast and exciting; bullets fly all around you, and sinking an enemy ship gives a lot of fun. Animations are full of details; for example, when you hit a plane, it catches fire, then it starts spinning toward the sea after a moment. After that, you see the pilot jumping out.
Then, of course, you have the state-of-the-art cinematic presentations typical of LucasArts. The atmosphere is excellent, and you feel like a pilot during the Pacific War. This is a game that produces memorable experiences for the players.
They say that Steven Spielberg was a massive fan of Battlehawks 1942 and played it on an accelerated Amiga to enjoy the best possible experience. True or not, it's time to do it if you have never tried this game.