Hardware Review: Hammerin’ Harry Concrete Collection

This review is over yet another release from Retro-Bit and partners. We’re going to talk about what all comes in the set as well as my thoughts on the gameplay. LET’S GET BUSY!

Description:

The Hammerin’ Harry Concrete Collection brings the first two titles together which stars one of Irem’s most recognizable characters-Harry! Our heroic carpenter stars in Hammerin’ Harry(featuring the NES® port of the original 1990 arcade released in North America in a cartridge for the first time) and Hammerin’ Harry 2: Dan the Red Strikes Back(officially released outside of Japan and translated for the first time).Each one is full of platforming action where you’ll take on the Rusty Nailers, Dr. Parallel, and a giant phantom all here to ruin Harry’s time with his girlfriend. So grab your trusty hammer and headband and…let’s get busy!

Features:

  • Features the official NES® port of the original 1990 arcade-released for the first time in North America in a cartridge!
  • Oak Wood Hammerin’ Harry 8-Bit Cartridge
  • Both Games Have Numbered Deluxe Hardcover Cartridge Packaging
  • Both Games Have Full-Colored Instruction Manual
  • Both Games Have Exclusive Acrylic Cartridge Display Stand
  • Officially released outside of Japan and translated for the first time
  • Freshly Paved Hammerin’ Harry 2 8-Bit Cartridge

Unboxing:

Gameplay:

Let’s split this up into two sections, since there are two games. Let’s first talk about the original Hammerin’ Harry, no not the arcade, the first of the two games, man! So in Hammerin’ Harry 1, you get to be Harry, a carpenter who had his house taken down by the money-grabbing Rusty Nail Inc (the bastards!). But, now that you’re playing as Harry armed with his trusty hammer, you can head out on a mission to take down Rusty Nail and its boss.

The game is a fast-paced side scroller (for its time), with enemies popping out from all corners. Don’t worry, they hardly catch you off guard, especially when jumping. I’m not certain if this plays like this in the arcade, it’s likely more difficult there. The bosses are kind of easy, but still fun to beat. Maybe the game’s a bit short for some, just 5 levels and 4 bonus stages. I particularly like feeling like I bested a game. But once you finish it, there’s a tougher difficulty level waiting for you to up the challenge, which adds to the longevity and replayability. The bonus stages are a blast, like saving a kidnapped girl by smacking down as many baddies as you can. And there’s a fun mini-game of whack-a-mole where Harry uses the titular hammer!

For the sequel, it’s more of the same in terms of gameplay. But honestly, it didn’t have the same charm to it. I’m not entirely certain if that means that they didn’t use the same developers or if someone had a wild hair and decided to change what made the original so fun. It’s also possible that they didn’t have an arcade version to base it on, so they had to have original ideas. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t necessarily bad that it’s more of the same. And they did improve the game graphically a bit, so it’s worth playing. But maybe it just feels like a sequel always needs something a little bit more. I had higher hopes for the sequel, maybe new mini games or something, but it’s just a single player game. Even the soundtrack isn’t as fun or grand. It’s pretty repetitious and grinding.

Click to see more detail.

Hammerin’ Harry Gameplay Trailer:

Hammerin’ Harry 2 Gameplay Trailer:

Overall Thoughts:

I love this physical package, it has so much stuff in it and it’s so cute. It’s also obvious that the only way that they were ever going to sell copies of Hammerin’ Harry 2 is if they forced you to take it as part of a bundle. Again, the game is fine, but it’s not one I would return to after beating it. The first game I want to go back to again and again. If you’re not able to get your hands on a copy, or even a used copy, I’d highly suggest looking here for Hammerin’ Harry or clicking here for Hammerin’ Harry 2.

Links:

Castlemania Games

Limited Run Games

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