He's big, he's bad, he's really mean/She's the sexiest woman you ever seen./They're holograms, it's strange but true/Findin' their bodies what they gotta do!"
Yes, Hammerfist launches himself onto the Spectrum and I guess if you're reading this you've got to have already torn the demo tape off the cover dribbled with excitement at the rad graphics and great gameplay. You know the game already so how about a little background just to set the scene before you rush back to the demo and get blasting?
Hammerfist is set in the future where The Master has desolated society by using the corporate power of Metro Holographix, a company whose power lies in its manipulation of powerful holograms.
The Master looks set for a good time make no mistake. Only one problem; two holograms have their personality modules damaged in a malfunction and become fused together. What's worse for the Master is that they immediately set about destroying the Metro Holographix centre and reuniting themselves with their real bodies by destroying the Master.
The centre is guarded by various computer security systems and driods of varying hardness. You can switch between the two characters Hammerfist and Metalisis, utilising their various skills for differing situations - Hammerfist using either his laser to fry a would-be platinum protagonist or his piston fist to hammer the rivets apart on droids or security doors. Metalisis is fit. Every sort of fit. She will leap and sproing around the screen in a flic flak manner (just like Priss out of Bladerunner, but not in a copyrightable sort of way, you understand) and kick the sheet metal out of anything in her way. (Arf) Control is difficult to begin with but easily mastered giving the player a wealth of control all available through well thought out joystick actions. Anyone who finds this tricky can use keyboard keys for some actions.
The security system isn't easy though and energy is drained from the current character each time they're hit and when a character's energy meter falls into the bottom row of the display and you change character then you cannot use that character until their level has built up to the second row. You can replenish your strength by collecting the numerous available icons.
The icons are central to the game as they provide energy and firepower for Hammerfist and Metalisis. Each time you destroy a security droid an icon is released. Each time an icon is not collected before it fizzes out, then that energy goes to the Master and increases his energy shown by the bar below his sleeping icon until he wakes up. Then the icons all become negative energy and so you must leave them to fizz out and go back to the Master and put him back to sleep.
Hammerfist is a great game. The graphics are clean and have achieved the illusive balance between action and clarity. The game play is superbly progressive, with 'safe' spots on screens so that you can have a breather and decide on your strategy. It's well hard, harder perhaps than even hammerfist himself.
Label: Activision Author: Vivid Image Price: £9.95 Joystick: various Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
All the magical ingredients of a great game cooked to perfection. A feast for arcade fans.