K. Hawk - Survival Instinct Review

K. Hawk's title character is Kitty Hawk, a helicopter pilot who flies Navy SEALs back and forth to their missions.  On one such mission in the South Pacific, Kitty's chopper is shot down by a missile from the island she is trying to land on.  Kitty is the sole survivor of the attack and finds herself alone and unarmed in a hostile situation.  As Kitty, you must avoid the mysterious enemy's patrols, get to a radio to call for help, and knock out the enemy's base to put an end to their plans.  Quite a tall order for a lone soldier, but Kitty is up to the task.

Kitty lost on the island.

K. Hawk - Survival Instinct is a third-person action game that stresses stealth over firepower.  Kitty is hopelessly outnumbered, and any attempt to go blasting your way through the game will lead to a quick demise.  Helping you out is the one piece of equipment you salvaged from your chopper, your Enhanced Positioning Unit (EPU).  This handy device shows the position of nearby enemies, as well as their cone of vision and the level of their awareness of your presence.  It even shows the radius of noise that you create by moving - the faster you move the more noise you make and the bigger the cone.  There are some big downsides to the EPU, though.  You can't use it while handling a weapon and it seems to be permanently on the fritz, losing its display to a screen of static.  This last 'feature' is particularly annoying as a slow-paced stealth game is made all the slower by the fact that you must constantly stop and wait for your EPU to start working again before you can continue moving.

Why not just look around and sneak about without the EPU's help?  Because it is pretty tough to do so without it.  K. Hawk is a budget title and comes with a budget title's graphics and control scheme.  Textures are blocky and the environments repetitive, which makes it hard enough to figure out where you're going, let alone where the guards are located.  Also, the spotty collision detection combined with the touchy free look control combine to make stealthy movement with more of an emphasis on movement than on stealth.  Who has time to watch for guards when you are struggling to point the mouse in the right direction to allow you to pass through a gap or to un-stick yourself from a rock wall?