If smacking people with a fish sounds like a fun time, then Hammerin' Hero is your game.
"Let's get busy!" OK, when someone says this, whom do you think of? Arsenio Hall? Well, some people might think of Hammerin' Harry, the star of an obscure but nevertheless entertaining NES game that came out in Japan a while ago. Why the game never got a U.S. release is beyond us, but Atlus has given the Hammerin' gang a second chance with the release of the PSP game Hammerin' Hero. While not for everyone, gamers who enjoy mindless and silly Japanese antics should pick up a copy.
In the game, you play Gen, a young carpenter getting his business off the ground. However, an evil businessman named Hyosuke Kurumoku stands in his way. He has his own enterprise to run, made up of muscle-bound construction workers who do whatever they please. It's up to Gen and his trusty hammer to knock those guys out of business before they ruin the quaint little Beranme Town for good.
Over the course of the game, you'll become a baseball player, a DJ, a sushi chef and even a comedian. Nothing beats tearing apart enemies by either smacking them with wasabi or taking them out with a Laugh Wave. It's this level of zaniness that makes Hammerin' Hero work so well. You'll also face your fair share of ridiculously over-the-top enemies, including a dude riding a mechanical shark and a bulldozer equipped with a giant drill.
Graphically, Hammerin' Hero features 2.5-D visuals, with characters and vehicles constantly running in and out of the background while you move left and right. The stages feature humorous designs, from the ballpark to a TV station to a bathhouse filled with soaking customers. The character dialogue was re-recorded in English, and has the same silly tone as the in-game action. If you prefer, however, you can switch to the original Japanese voices.
Along with the single-player mode, you can hook up with a friend in a point-scoring competition or co-op boss battling through AdHoc. Unfortunately, you both need a copy of the game.
Hammerin' Hero isn't without its problems. Slowdown makes the game chug along, and one-hit kills will frustrate most players. Fortunately, an apprentice difficulty opens up after your first Game Over screen, making things a bit easier.
We fully recommend Hammerin' Hero because it doesn't hold back on the fun. Where else can you smack around a helicopter with a bulldozer converted into a crime-fighting robot? Or, for that matter, letting a robotic shark have it with a fish? Pick this up and get hammerin'.
What's Hot: Cute presentation and hilarious voiceovers, fun "bash 'em" gameplay with a variety of weapons, lots of humor.
What's Not: Ridiculous difficulty, slowdown, multiplayer requires two UMDs.