Review by Randy Femrite
Early in the 21st century, cyberspace was declared the legal equivalint of hardspace. In 2012, anarchist hackers injected a virus into the computerized world, and chaos erupted on a global scale. Soon citizens were forced to choose the slavery of a corporate contract, or the risks of living beyond the law.
You are a Skyhammer pilot, and your job is to defend your corporate holdings and "renegotiate" teritorial rights with competing companies.
Skyhammer is an incredible full-freedom 3D game set in three huge, texture-mapped cities, and features nonlinear missions that allow you to reach objectives and repair your craft according to your own decisions.
Use cannons, missiles, bombs, scanners, docks and more to achieve your objectives.
Produced by Rebellion and published by Songbird Productions Skyhammer is now available for the JAGUAR. If the name Rebellion sounds familiar to you it should. They are responsible one of the worst and one of the best games for the JAG, Checkered Flag and Alien Vs Predator, respectively. It is no wonder Skyhammer has been anxiously awaited for years.
In this futuristic shooter you pilot the Skyhammer, a hover type craft designed to maneuver around, between and over tall buildings. Your Skyhammer is equipped with multiple weapons systems, both offensive and defensive, shielding and a navigation device linked through your cross hairs to assist you in completing whatever task you are up against.
There are two modes to this game. The first mode, or default, is mission based in which you carry out assigned tasks within the first city, Jericho. You are awarded credits for both the success of your missions as well as the annihilation of your enemies who try to keep you from your objective. The more credits you earn the more supplies and upgrades you may obtain, but more on that later. Accomplish all your missions and the city is yours. Victory is yours after you have taken all three cities; Jericho, San Diablo and Troy.
In battle mode you must defend your territory (zones) against enemy attack while attacking enemy territory in an effort to gain control of their zones. Control is established by seizing the zones node. Once all enemy zones are conquered and it's fleet vanquished the city is yours and you are free to move on to the next. One unique aspect of this game is the number of cities is infinite, as long as you don't lose your territory you continue to play, theoretically, forever or until your ship is destroyed.
This game is based on your Skyhammer. The heart of your Skyhammer is it's engine. The engine is responsible not just to get you from place to place, zone to zone, city to city but also in what manner you do this. You cannot replace your engine but you can upgrade it to allow you various manuverabilities. The engine is also responsible for regenerating your shields. You cannot upgrade your shields but you can regenerate them faster with an upgraded engine. Smart bombs and homing missiles are a threat to the enemy, yes, but if you don't have a superior way of getting around town combined with a top notch defense system you are going to see the GAME OVER screen more times than you did on AVP!
To both defend yourself and attack the enemy you are equipped with the standard array of weapons; bombs, missiles, the ever dependable Gattling gun plus something not seen on any other Jaguar game, an ECM (Electronic Counter Measures). How you acquire ammo and upgrades for these various systems is split into two methods. You may purchase specific items of need from your local Cybermart, kind of like a 7-Eleven type weapons depot, only problem being the prices are about the same also. This expenditure can be reduced, thereby saving your precious credits for upgrades, by passing over ammo crates as you did in Hoverstrike. You will find these crates on rooftops, mainly in enemy territory. To make this more difficult and dangerous you will find stationary guns peppered about. You would be wise to make these ammo runs short and sweet. Goodies can also be found in place of destroyed objects as in Cybermorph and Aircars.
Graphics are well done with the extensive use of texture mapping. The cities could become monotonous and bland if not for the ingenious use of lighted billboards and signs displayed throughout. These also prove useful when trying to keep your bearings while scaling buildings and performing wild acrobatic stunts with your Skyhammer. There are many enemy craft and each one is detailed nicely. I would have loved to see this title on CD, the use of FMV's would have been nice here.
The sound is adequate with music that fits the atmosphere of the game. Nothing to write home about. The SFX of your engines and weapons are worthy of a good stereo system, I wish I could say the same about the enemy SFX. One thing to note here; maybe I am suffering from post AVP withdrawal but I swear I can hear the Predator lurking about from time to time.
Controls are very solid in Skyhammer taking full advantage of the Jaguar control pad. The fire button is flanked by the decelerate and accelerate buttons, the "A" being the most important. The keypad is practically screaming for an overlay. A makeshift cutout one is included in the manual provided you don't mind losing part of your instructions in the process.
Anticipation was high for this game and the Jaguar gamers will not be disappointed. Some technical problems, or bugs, have been reported from gamers already in possession of Skyhammer. These issues, as well as tips and information not covered by the manual can be addressed on the SKYHAMMER PLAYER'S PAGE at http://free.prohosting.com/~pforhan/games/sky/
Graphics - 8
Sound/Music - 7
Control - 9
Gameplay - 8
X = move ship up
Y = ECM
Z = move sip down
Li = move ship left
Ri = move ship right