Big bad company Centro Holographix has taken two human subjects, turned them into holograms (fairly solid holograms, but we will put that down to artistic licence) and for the sake of economy put them both into one body.
This has obviously irritated Hammerfist, the tall, dark, violent male, as well as Metalisis, the tall, blond, violent female who, by the way, has a kick like a Thai boxer on steroids. They decide to steam into Centro, do the business and leave the place looking like Bournemouth beach after a friendly footy match.
Unhappily the company feels it has a right to stop secondary fighting. They decide to lob in a few guards, the occasional zipping robot, a few traps, the odd giant ant and some militant vegetables in order to protect their property.
Both Hammy and Metty play their own roles in the game. The former is skilled in firing laser bolts from his... er, hammer-like fist - you will need to keep picking up the red power-ups with the Ls in the middle in order for this weapon to function. Failing this, he can use a hammer-action fist. This latter weapon is handier than you might think - some of the stooping, white-overalled guards will duck laser fire.
Metalisis is no slouch herself. While Ham-the-man is beefy, he is no good at all at leaping onto higher levels or moving at any speed. Metalisis is highly reminiscent of Daryl Hanna's high-kicking flick-flacking android from Blade Runner. She also comes armed with side kicks and a pretty neat line in ducking and jumping.
Moving between characters is simple enough, you just push the joystick up and shazam! Each of the characters then has their own moves and weapon manipulation - a handy little ID card fills you in on this lot. Once you have got the moves sorted out it is time to get into the fray. Each screen you meet comprises a number of enemies, maybe a puzzle or two and some computer screens to head butt. Once certain of the screens have been busted and a few droids wasted, the security on the room will have been breached and it is time to move on to the next.
Each guard, droid, terminal or vegetable destroyed provides power-ups, energy or weapons but beware, the Master is also watching you. Occasionally, when his (or it might be her) energy is built up, each of the power-ups becomes a deadly skull-faced anti-matter blob. Avoid these at all costs. You should also be aware of the re-charging stations along the way. Plugging into these follows the same routine as terminal bashing. Again watch out, you may wel send too much charge up your central circuits and end up by frazzing yourself - game over!
With all this going on you might think that death would come quickly, but far from it. Hammerfist has the luxurious edge in that it allows you to play and play for hours on end. Every time you look like dying, you head back to the recharching point, find yourself a strategic spot and stand there blasing the foe. Relax for a while in a secluded storeroom and catch your breath. Once you have rested up, it is back to the fray with a vengeance. Playing with a little though and some skill you could keep going for days.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Nice bit of scrolling here. All very smooth with no jagged edges which suddenly mke you realise that you are not in fact there but are in a small bedsit in East Molsey. The flick-flacks of Metalisis are particularly joyful to watch as are the exploding backgrounds. Nothing appears static for too long which gives a pleasantly manic feel to the whole thing. The soundtrack is fairly work-a-day, nothing to write to Smash Hits about. The effects are also passable with the odd explosion and rather emasculated laser burst.
Tons and tons of it. Because you can keep playing for hours, you can really explore those rooms and work out some tactics. This latter point, tactics, raises Hammerfist from a basic horizontal scrolling hack'n'slash to a different level of gameplay. When the Master becomes active, there is no point in blasting for power-ups, you have to think a little. Each screen provides its own difficulties, each puzzle its own solutions. Great stuff.
At first sight you could be fooled into thinking that Hammerfist was merely another bish, bash, bosher. It is possible to play it like that. But do not be fooled. Reflexes are taxed to the limit and brain cells are not left to atrophy. Reaching the end of this outing is certainly not the easiest task in the world and for once you really do want to reach it. One problem did crop up in the 'Room of the pumping screws' - if you fall off one of the platforms there is no way of getting abck - you do not die, but you are not on the screen either. Aside from this, Hammerfist is definitely a game to keep you busy for a long while.