Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hammerin' Harry (NES review)

Developer: Irem
Publisher: Irem
Released: 1992

Hammerin' Harry is an action-platformer that was only released in Europe and Japan (under the title Daiku no Gen-san).


You control Harry who uses his trusty hammer as his form of attack and to block enemy projectiles. There's only five levels but the game does feature some diverse locales such as a Construction Site, a Waterfront and a Mansion. Smashing boxes reveals useful items you can pick up including a Large Hammer that dishes out twice the damage, a Chili Pepper that gives your swing an arc and a Lightning Bolt that destroys all enemies on screen. The collision detection is patchy and sometimes enemies will walk right through your hammer attacks. This makes the game harder than it needs to be and you'll die numerous times while wondering what on earth just happened! The bosses are far easier than the preceding parts of the levels though as they have clear attack patterns that can quickly be exploited. In fact, if you still have the Large Hammer it's possible to forget about skill and simply button mash to rapidly drain their life bar! After each level you take part in a Bonus Round; these are timed and task you with defeating as many enemies as possible in an effort to earn extra items. One of these mini-games reminds me of the barrel round in Street Fighter II Turbo (1993, SNES) and they're an adequate diversion. The rest of the experience isn't much fun though with below average gameplay and little personality. The graphics are nicely detailed but there's lots of flicker and slowdown in the final stage which can result in instant death due to the game ignoring your button presses. The music is pleasant and there are a few voice samples that sound fairly clear.

Hammerin' Harry has the makings of an interesting action-platformer but unfortunately it doesn't have the refined gameplay to match its nice visuals. There's really not much about it that stands out and despite its initial promise it's actually a very forgettable game.



Random trivia: Other games in the Hammerin' Harry series were developed for the Game Boy (1991), Super Famicom (1993) and even the Sony PSP (2008).

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