FatHammer Classics Review

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Graphics: 6.0
Sound : 7.0
Gameplay : 8.5
Multiplayer : N/A
Overall : 7.2
Review by Kurt Knudsen
FatHammer Classics consist of 3 different games all on one Gizmondo SD card. The three packaged titles are Angelfish, Super Drop Mania, and Stuntcar Extreme. Angelfish is a top-down plane-based shooter, a willing clone of Midway’s arcade classic 1942. Super Drop Mania is an addictive addition, similar in form to Bejeweled, while offering a lot in terms of strategy. And Stuntcar Extreme is a racing game with slightly substandard graphics but fun gameplay.


Angelfish

As stated before, Angelfish is a top-down shooter similar to 1942. The story behind the game is that you are the only person capable of stopping aliens from taking over the world—with a little help from your prototype spaceship. Woo-hoo! The Gizmondo’s graphics are absolutely stunning on this little handheld title, and they definitely hold their own against the hardware competition. The game runs at a fairly fast clip and you’ll need a keen eye to avoid getting hit by the incoming barrage of bullets and enemies.

Your ship and the alien hordes are all extremely detailed, as is the smoothly scrolling background. The animations and explosions all look great, as do the different types of weapons. As the game progresses you meet new types of alien ships that use different strategies to better destroy you, all of which look great while hurling a great deal of firepower at you. The game’s background images offer considerably honed detail and there is a lot of variety in them too.

Even when set to the easiest difficulty level, Angelfish is a tough nut to crack. Usually these types of games comply with easy when you select that particular difficulty—but not Angelfish. Luckily, you can continue from the last episode you died in, meaning you can renew your battle against the aliens even after you quit the game. Your ship comes equipped with shields, an upgradeable weapon system, and an incredibly powerful special attack. When depleted, the shields regenerate slowly over time, but because there is so much firepower on screen at any given time, if you become trapped then you’re dead. Your weapons can be upgraded by collecting blue orbs. If you continue from a previous game, the game will kindly drop a few of these upgrades at the beginning of the level to give you a better chance. However, your weapons degrade after losing a life and also decrease your chances of survival greatly. The special attack sends blue waves out from all sides of your ship destroying anything they touch. Applying the special attack also makes you temporarily invulnerable, which is certainly handy.

When you kill an enemy they drop a silver bonus that increases your score the more you catch. The more you catch in a row, the higher the score multiplier, but if you miss one your multiplier starts over at 1.

The levels in Angelfish aren’t too long and there are a ton of them to challenge you. The game plays at a fast enough pace to keep you on your seat for the duration. Weapon upgrades and extra special attacks are dropped during each level—and they carry over to the next if unused. However, if you should continue a game, then you start afresh with the most basic weapon.

Angelfish offers a notably challenging experience with a wealth of entertaining features, and it’ll keep you glued to the screen and yelling at it at the same time. Angelfish is a definitely must-have for the new Gizmondo—and luckily it’s packaged along with two other equally fun games. Read on.

Graphics – 8.5/10
Audio – 7.5/10
Gameplay – 8/10
Overall – 8/10


Super Drop Mania

Super Drop Mania is an addictive semi-3D game, much like Bejeweled. Your goal is to match blocks together and then use a special block of the same color to clear them out. You can chain together the block clearing to increase your score and beat the level faster. The only way to beat the level is to get the blocks below the ‘Clear’ line. This line appears only after a certain amount of points have been gained during that level, and the amount of points needed increases as the game progresses.

The game is easy enough to learn but offers a lot of strategy to beat the game in the fastest time possible. You need to figure out the best way to connect the blocks to get the highest score. If you beat a level within a time limit, then you get bonus points, though you don’t lose anything if you cannot complete the level before the time limit expires.

During play the game will raise blocks up from the lower level to keep the game going and to make things progressively more difficult. You need two columns free to drop the blocks, but if the blocks reach the top and block a column you cannot drop a block there. If enough columns become blocked then the game is over.

The graphics in Super Drop Mania aren’t the greatest ever created but, then again, they don’t need to be in a puzzle game. There is a 3D element when the levels change, but that’s basically it for flash and pizzazz. The game music is catchy and addictive while exuding an old school feel, and the audio effects are wacky and sound as though they’re emulating a Looney Tunes cartoon.

Super Drop Mania presents an extremely addictive experience that is easy enough for smaller kids to learn but contains enough focused strategy to keep adults coming back for more once junior knows the basics. There are separate difficulty levels and the game is certainly widely accessible on the easiest setting—and if you lose, you can always continue from where you left off and try again.

Graphics – 7/10
Audio – 8/10
Gameplay – 9.5/10
Overall - 8.2/10


Stuntcar Extreme

Stuntcar Extreme is a little deceiving because its stunts aren’t really that extreme. This is the only title out of the packaged three to offer multiplayer capability via Bluetooth. The graphics are perhaps a little dodgy and the sound a tad weak, but the game itself is certainly fun and very challenging.

Controlling your car takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it the game is a blast. Your car is equipped with a refillable nitro booster, which can be filled by picking up a bonus or just waiting a little bit for it to refill itself. The booster is vital for winning in the game because your opponents are armed with one, too. Using the booster on the various ramps will give you an edge because you land at a better angle and it allows you to fly over certain objects that might otherwise block your path.

The A.I. in the game is tough, but once you forge ahead and keep your mind on the track then winning is always a possibility. Thankfully, the game doesn’t appear to have some sort of ‘catch-up’ mode that allows the A.I. to be right on your tail during the entire race. If they fall off the edge of a map then they end up way behind—they don’t magically appear right behind you or adopt super speed to regain contention.

There are three modes of play in the game: quick race, championship, and multiplayer. Championship mode is long and offers a lot of racers to challenge. In this mode you challenge fellow racers for points or their car, and you can also race in a Friday Night Race or a Championship Cup. You can race in the Friday Night Races at any time during the game, but your chances of winning are increased greatly once you’ve secured a better car. Some opponents require you to have a certain amount of points to challenge them for their car, whereas others may demand you achieve a certain time on a course, and some will need you to have won 3 or more Friday Night Races.

The different maps don’t offer a lot of stunts, mainly just jumps and obstacles. The inclusion of the nitro booster helps bring a lot more to the game because the cars do travel rather slowly without it. Because the A.I. is so good it’s going to take a few tries to beat them on the later maps—you’ll need to grow familiar with the map layouts in order to win, as it’s often too hard on the first try. The race maps don’t look that great either, their detail being rather low, which is also echoed on the vehicles themselves. The cars are somewhat blocky and lack definition and detail, though they do all look different.

Stuntcar Extreme may fall short in terms of actual stunt quota, but it doesn’t want for fun. The races can be as exciting as they are frustrating, and the tracks are weird and full of different obstacles and jumps as well as handy shortcuts and lots of perilous ledges. Despite the flawed visual content Stuntcar Extreme is still great fun to play.

FatHammer Classics comes with 3 very addictive and fun titles. Super Drop Mania is a great time killer and very addictive, Angelfish is tough and provides a lot of challenges, and Stuntcar Extreme is a silly racing game bound to make a lot of people happy. This is another must-have title.

Graphics - 6/10
Audio - 7/10
Gameplay – 8.5/10
Overall – 7.2/10