Wednesday 20 July 2016

Fathammer Classics Pack (Gizmondo review)

Developer: AI Factory
Publisher: Gizmondo Studios
Released: 2005

Fathammer Classics Pack is a compilation of three games that was only released in Europe.

Angelfish is a shoot-em-up with three episodes. As well as regular bullets, you can collect Smart Bombs and power-ups to add diagonal fire. The action is smooth with a decent range of enemies and I like how the game handles combos as it cleverly tasks you with defeating enemies and then collecting icons they leave behind; it's addictive deciding whether to chase for points or avoid a potentially hazardous area. However, the level design never really changes and it's strange finishing some areas without fighting a boss! Overall, a simple but well developed shooter. Super Drop Mania is a puzzler where you group coloured blocks together and then drop a matching exploder block to remove them from the playfield. Once all the blocks are below the Clear line you move onto the next level. It's very much a relaxing puzzler and I enjoyed that you can take your time instead of rushing. The difficulty curve is spot-on and popping a combo of colours is satisfying. The controls are silky smooth and the levels even rotate to give a slight 3D perspective! Overall, a very polished and rewarding game. Stunt Car Extreme is a racer where the objective is to win competitions and cars while earning enough points to enter the Sprint Cup. Nitro Boosts can be used and you can also collect letters or leap through fire for bonus points. The driving suffers from over-steer and there's some obvious clipping. However, unlocking new courses and objectives is gratifying; it reminds me of Stunt Race FX (1994, SNES) in that deep down there's a solid racer here that's marred by shoddy programming. Overall, a decent racer with some good ideas that falls short in the execution department.
Fathammer Classics Pack is an excellent collection of mini-games and the clear star of the show is the superb Super Drop Mania. While the other two games are flawed to some degree, they still have their merits and are worth a play if you're looking for something to entertain you for an hour or so. 
Random trivia: In 2003, Stunt Car Extreme was released as a pack-in title for the Tapwave Zodiac handheld.

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