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The rough guide to Warhawk

Warhawks
Sit rep: The titular aircraft of Warhawk are also easily the best thing about the game. Awesome to look at, with just the right mix of futuristic-style and real-world military chunkiness, both types of Warhawk are fantastic fun to fly. There's also an abundance of satisfyingly explosive weaponry just scattered around each map.

Job one: Nailing the swooping evasion techniques is pretty important for avoiding missile attacks - maneuvers are performed with the right stick, which enables swooping dives, loop-the-loops or corkscrew spins. But first on every pilot's To Do list has to be stockpiling chaff, which severs a missile's lock on instantly when deployed.

Best offense: Effective Warhawk attacks turn a match, and the impressively zippy craft are deadly against any and all opposition. Strafing runs with the onboard machine guns slice through infantry and jeeps, and multiple missile launches are devastating, especially to stationary targets like turrets. In the end, though, the best offense is the most enjoyable - swooping, dodging and exhilarating dogfights against other Warhawks.

Warning: The Warhawk jets can shift between hover and flight modes, which can confuse and surprise opponents - but using the hover mode in any dangerous areas makes it all too easy for soldiers, turrets or other jets to lock-on and blast a craft from the skies. Warhawk pilots who stop moving are dead Warhawk pilots.

Golden moment: Dogfights are what make Warhawk one of the best games of the year. The Warhawks themselves are fantastically mobile craft, carving dizzying paths through the sky, and it takes real skill to pursue and eliminate enemies. Which makes each kill extra special, and celebrating with a smug victory roll all the more satisfying.

Crafty tactics: We discovered a truly evil way to give our enemies a surprise by snatching air-mines and laying them in droves over enemy bases. Concentrate on dropping them just above launch pads full of aircraft, and careless pilots will swoop straight into destruction within seconds of leaving the ground. Cue dastardly cackling.

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