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"That's one fast little guy with giant hammer."
A really difficult and fun single-screen-platformer from Taito.
|To look at it you wouldn't think this game was so hard--you mean all I gotta do to clear a stage is whop all these little bunnies and walking mushrooms with my dwarf's big mallet? All righty then! And then one of those bunnies up and jumps on you out of the blue, and you gain a little more appreciation for the true nature of things.|
Or I just suck at this game. But really, it's gotta be hard as nails, and the control is really sharp. You can find a variety of magical hammers to increase the peace, and also by collecting various things you gain power to throw enemies through more barriers/enemies.
And you know what that means! Combos! Yep, there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of bopping one of those durn bunnies on the head, hoisting his limp, stunned body onto your broad little shoulders, and then slinging him through his buddies at murderous speed, releasing a shower of tasty and point-ridden fruits. Yum!
You can play simultaneously with another dwarf (their names are Jim and Bob, if you must know) and the levels go on and on--further than the likes of me will ever see, anyway. The sprites are tiny and super-cute--I hear the arcade ones are cuter, but I'm not gonna care about that until someone plops a DDD cab down in my house. Until then, this little HuCard rules the Single-Screen-Platformer scene around these parts.
|The point here is to score points. Since points come from fruit, or magic powerups that appear at preset points, at preset times, sorta like Pac-Man (see entry 336), and disappear pretty quickly, you gotta be fast to get to them, and it helps to have a plan. In that sense, memorization and practice help quite a bit.|
Of course, I'm bad at Pac-Man because I always try to wing it, and I do that here, too--actually since the fruits can get scattered around depending on how powered up you are and how you whack the baddies, there tends to be a lot more sort of random temptation to get around the screen quickly and snatch some far-flung fruit before it vanishes forever.
Here, of course, is where you get caught, because almost every enemy has some kind of surprise maneuver whether it be jumping, shooting fireballs, throwing boomerangs, etc. The collision detection leaves absolutely no pixel uncounted so dodging must be pixel-perfect. On the plus side, unlike in Pac-Man, here you always have a way to defend yourself, namely that mallet that's nearly as large as your dwarfish body. Smash!
Certain enemies respawn other enemies, which means you can "milk" some of the levels for points if you are patient and leave the spawner guys untouched. Watch out though, 'cause if you take too long your bat-winged nemesis leaves his perch at the top corner of the screen (you can always see his feet up there) and starts lapping around the screen in dangerous loops.
This game seems endlessly inventive. I've only made it to stage 10 so far (sorta--I died right at the end of 9, and since you can just leave it there waiting for you to continue, it carried on to stage 10) and have already seen fireball breathers, boomerang throwers, bouncing grapes, two different kinds of powerup hammers, speed powerups (these are very helpful, you can get quite zippy), pink bunnies, two different types of leaping mushrooms (the darker ones are a bit smarter), giant rock creatures that take multiple hits before crumbling to powder, avalanches, and a gigantic, fire-breathing and many-headed Jack-O-Lantern boss. And that's just the first 10 stages--screenshots I've seen of further stages show that the cornucopia of inventiveness continues unabated throughout the 50 levels.