SkyHammer (Jaguar) review
"In Skyhammer, you’re a hired mercenary pilot flying a helicopter-like aircraft in a futuristic "Blade Runner" city, shooting enemy tanks, other aircraft and picking up valuable packages. You have a cockpit view of the city as you hunt down your enemies and dock at the Cyber Mart for repairs. As you destroy your enemies and complete missions you can earn credits for purchasing more supplies at the Cyber Mart. "
In Skyhammer, you’re a hired mercenary pilot flying a helicopter-like aircraft in a futuristic "Blade Runner" city, shooting enemy tanks, other aircraft and picking up valuable packages. You have a cockpit view of the city as you hunt down your enemies and dock at the Cyber Mart for repairs. As you destroy your enemies and complete missions you can earn credits for purchasing more supplies at the Cyber Mart.
When I first sat down and tried playing Skyhammer I found things very confusing and difficult to figure out. At least part of the problem lies with the manual: it gives a cursory description of the control inputs, the various types of weapons, and enemy vehicles - but it doesn't really explain how to actually play the game. It’d be a big improvement if the manual included some more screenshots. For example, a snapshot of the cockpit view with labels pointing out what the various displays are would’ve been helpful. A few ‘tutorial’ hints on how to start off in the game and progress slowly might have also been useful.
The first couple of hours were frustrating as I kept getting killed off with little warning. "What the-" was an expression I used many times as I kept dying without even knowing where the shots were coming from. I kept at it and eventually clued in on how to use the scanners and how to anticipate various enemy attacks. By the end of the evening I had managed to buy a few upgrades for my aircraft and was playing the game reasonably well.
Once I got the hang of the game I really started to enjoy it. After a couple more nights of playing Skyhammer I realized that the game reminded me strongly of another 3D Jaguar game - Hover Strike. Now, before too many folks get upset with that comparison, let me just say that I'm apparently one of the few Jaguar fans who actually likes HS. I know a lot of people out there hate HS, but I've always liked it. There's something about Hover Strike I really enjoy: the sensation of sneaking around, hiding behind hills and ridges while lobbing mortars at enemies before they get you, and trying to track down the enemy objectives to be destroyed.
I popped in my Hover Strike cart and played it back-to-back against Skyhammer to compare the two. Skyhammer feels like someone took Hover Strike, improved the controls to give instantaneous response, bumped up the screen refresh rate significantly, and changed the hilly landscaping into a city full of skyscrapers - and of course added a third dimension of altitude to the game. The feeling of roaming around in enemy territory, dodging attacks while firing missile or lasers at oncoming bad guys - there’s definitely some similarity.
However, unlike HS, Skyhammer has really nice, intuitive controls. I like the way that while being shot at from behind, a Skyhammer pilot can simply roll 180 degrees upwards (or downwards) and fly upside down at the enemy while launching a missile or two. Also unlike HS, the controls are quick to respond with none of Hover Strike's 'floatiness'.
I can't fault Skyhammer's graphics. They’re much smoother than most other 3D Jag games, and do a good job of creating the illusion of being in a true 3D environment. There’s very little slowdown: about the only time I noticed it is while flying under a bridge as several enemy aircraft are attacking and exploding. I’d have liked to see more variety in the ‘tiles’ used to create buildings - but as is they’re not too bad.
The sound effects and music are okay, but nothing special. And while I realize that making Jaguar carts is expensive, I think that for $80 a simple overlay would have been nice, especially considering how vital the keypad controls are in this game.
I rate Skyhammer as one of the better games for the Jaguar: 8.5 out of 10.
Community review by LS650 (May 24, 2007)
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