Hammerfist (Vivid Image/Activision) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Hammerfist
By Activision
Amiga 500

 
Published in Zzap #61

A man and a woman fuse to create arcade ecstasy!

Hammerfist

Today's holograms are feeble, flickering illusions, monochromatic and insubstantial. But in the future these three-dimensional phantasms have been transformed into flesh and blood by the Centro-Holographix corporation, which uses personality martices of people to create exact duplicates. Using these bizarre creations the company has taken control of Earth's two major post-apocalypse cities.

The latest two holographs are the male leader of a Firearms Suppression Tactics Unit (FIST), codenamed Hammerfist, and a female, East European assassin now known as Metalisis. While being held in statis pens, a computer malfunction fused the two holograms into one. This isn't as messy as it sounds, since it means they both inhabit the same body which can take the form of Metalisis or Hammerfist as they wish. What's more, their psychopathic instincts seem to have been cured...

Nevertheless, spending their lives inside a single body holds little appeal for them. C-H's latest assassins have turned against it, and plan to destroy the corporation's brain - The Master. If anyone can do it, they can. Hammersmith is named after his cybernetic hammer-shaped fist, which packs a powerful punch. But even more powerful is his piston-fist, a limited energy unit which can pulverise almost anything. And for long-range targets he carries a laser gun (again a limited number of shots). Metalisis carries no weapons, but can perform a lethal high kick and headbutt. She's also more agile and faster than Hammerfist.

When baddies are killed they sometimes leave orbs which give extra units for the powerfist, laser, or increase one or both character's life force. But if you don't get the orbs in time, they disintegrate, building up The Master's power (a bar at the top, centre of the screen): if this reaches full, whenever a baddie dies it leaves an energy-sapping skull. Besides orbs, energy can be restored by powerpoints scattered through the complex. They make the holograms glow when they plug in, but watch out - too much and they blow up!

The Hammerfist team begins its quest in an undersea city, a single load on the Amiga, split into two on the C64 with the latter including the entertainment, or Pleasure Dome sector. This half of the game ends when the team beats a massive sea monster.

The second half begins with the team entering caves, searching for an air shaft which will take them to the surface if they can beat a massive, mutant ant. The final C64 load is a city in a ruined wasteland. The Centro-Holographix complex is here with the defeat of The Master as the final objective...

Hammerfist has just 32 screens in all, but this isn't due to any laziness on the programmers' part. Instead, they've tried to make each and every screen virtually a sub-game in its own right. To exit any screen, you must destroy everything on it, making completing the whole game a formidable task. And for those who manage it, Vivid Image have already started planning the sequel!

Stu

Robin may well have gone overboard about the Amiga version but the C64 version is the better for gameplay and all-round value. Platform action is a little simple for 16-bitters; the graphics and general presentation of the Amiga version do a great job of masking the 8-bit gameplay (in a way Ghostbusters 2 never did). Hammerfist is much more at home on the C64, with high levels of detail, shading, and everything that the Amiga version has when it comes to gameplay and challenge. The main sprites are well constructed with Metalisis boasting a well animated flip and attack moves.

The emphasis on all out beat-'em-up action makes for a light game with an underlying strategy in completing each screen and series of screens.

Robin

One thing that Hammerfist has going for it right from the start is a superb attention to detail, and it's not all graphical either. The game is simply alive with activity with masses of variety in the foes. And as each scren contains its own particular problems, together they make for one busy game.

Amiga owners are in for a treat with the sparkling graphics, background effects, and a total of four moody Wally Beben tunes. The level of detail in each character (be it friend or foe) is pretty amazing with no limit on the colour. And on top of the graphics there's the solid blasting action (or should that be pistol-pumping action?). Ultimately a little unsophisticated perhaps, but you've got to persevere with this one if only to see the superb visuals.

Phil

One thing that Hammerfist has going for it right from the start is a superb attention to detail, and it's not all graphical either. The game is simply alive with activity with masses of variety in the foes. And as each screen contains its own particular problems, together they make for one busy game.

Amiga owners are in for a treat with the sparkling graphics, background effects, and a total of four moody Wally Beben tunes. The level of detail in each character (be it friend or foe) is pretty amazing with no limit on the colour. And on top of the graphcs there's the solid blasting action (or should that be piston-pumping action?). Ultimately, a little unsophisticated perhaps but you've got to persevere with this one if only to see the superb visuals.

Verdict: C64

Presentation 86%
Two loads, continue on second section when all lives lost, high score table, music or FX option.

Graphics 91%
Good use of colour, great attention to detail, plenty of variety, and brilliantly animated main sprites.

Sound 85%
Good Wally Beben music can be swapped for nice spot FX...

Hookability 90%
Very easy to have fun simply bashing things up...

Lastability 89%
...but with such a huge variety of baddies and some simple puzzles there's plenty to keep you occupied for quite some time.

Overall 90%
A brilliantly executed arcade-adventure, packed with graphical variety.

Verdict: Amiga

Presentation 90%
Nice attract mode and a choice of FX and four tunes.

Graphics 94%
Static shots do them no justice at all, you have to see the superb animation to appreciate them.

Sound 92%
Four very good tunes and powerful sound effects.

Hookability 90%
The bash-'em-up action is immediately addictive...

Lastability 88%
...but after a few screens further progress requires some tactical thinking and pure arcade skill. Could've had more screens than the C64 for £25 though.

Overall 90%
A spectacular beat-'em-up which plays and looks like a top-notch coin-op.