|"Hey, now that you've gotten off the|
Tilt-a-Hurl, maybe I can interest you
in a spicy tuna roll! Uh, where are
Forgotten by me, but not so much by its developer Irem. It turns out the Hammerin' series is a popular franchise in Japan, with a handful of sequels on the NES, Game Boy, and Super NES. The latest entry in the series offers crisp polygonal backgrounds while abandoning Irem's past attempts at localization. The lead character, now named Gen, romps through a variety of Japanese locations, putting the hammer down on the thugs of a sleazy real estate tycoon. If his carpentry skills can't get the job done, Gen can adopt another blue collar profession, with its own unique abilities. Want to serve up some wasabi-flavored pain as a sushi chef? You've got that option.
Nothing about Hammerin' Hero will blow the drive door off your PSP, but it's a well designed and fairly distracting platformer with its heart firmly set in the arcades of the early 1990s. If you're looking to relive that experience (aggravating one hit deaths and all), Gen certainly delivers.
|The most fun you'll have with a|
But seriously, ladies and germs. If you haven't already had your fill of turn-based strategy with Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Disgaea, I'd suggest giving this a spin. Not only does it look nice, with your heroes battling on detailed polygonal playfields, it adds a few new wrinkles to the genre. Densely packed clusters of heroes form a "unified front," strengthening their defense, and soldiers armed with spears can either safely strike from a distance or skewer two adjacent foes with a single stab. Your enemies hit hard and the objectives for each mission can be demanding, making it critically important to plan each move carefully and conserve resources, especially Jeanne's tide-turning transformations.
PRINNY 2: DAWN OF OPERATION PANTIES, DOOD!
|Hey Etna, while we're looking for your panties,|
you can always wear one of these!
(Gets punted into the next county)
Prinny 2 wears its love for 20th century platformers on its sleeve, taking much of its inspiration from classics like Ghouls 'n Ghosts and Castlevania. It also pushes the limits of 21st century handheld technology with silky smooth animation and eye-popping special effects. When Prinny leaps into the air to rain hot death on its enemies, the camera rotates slightly for a more dynamic view of the carnage. Prinny 2 is packed with these little details, making you eager to feed penguins into its hungry jaws even as it taunts you with abusive level designs and a sense of humor so warped, even the title characters seem mystified by it.
MEGA MAN: POWERED UP
|How does he manage to stand|
with such a huge head?
But wait, there's more! There are two new stages, one hundred optional challenges, a dozen playable characters (including all the bosses!), and three difficulty levels which make profound changes to the layout of each level. The take home is that there's a whole lot of content packed into this disc. Curiously, there's also a lot of slowdown, but even the occasional frame rate drop can't tarnish the appeal of this abundantly generous remake.
GRAND KNIGHTS HISTORY
|Watch out boy, she'll chew you up.|
Well, today I am that jerk. And the game I'll be praising to the heavens is Grand Knights History, a role-playing title developed near the end of the PSP's life. This game was almost, almost brought to the United States, but the publisher got cold feet when Sony announced the PSP's successor, the Vita. Luckily, some talented hackers knew a good thing when they saw it, and translated the game to English themselves.
|Hey Greenie, catch!|
Look, I've played my share of RPGs and adventure games on the PSP, because heaven knows it's got plenty of them. Most are very good, but I don't think any of them can top this. There have been some concerns expressed about the game's online component, but I've played Grand Knights History for hours and haven't found it necessary. Don't let it stop you from experiencing one of the high points in the PSP library.