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Retro Fire

Written: 9.10.06
Acquired: 7.28.06
Status: CIB
Price: $20

Publisher: IremReleased: 12.22.93
Developer: IremScarcity: 3

This is the sequel to the Hammerin' Harry games (Arcade / NES). While scouring the net for information on Ganbare Daiku it surprised me there wasn't much. Maybe part of the obscurity
is the choice title versus, say, Super Hammerin' Harry? Or maybe it's just quite unknown? Whatever the reasons, while it's no Super Mario World, it definitely deserves a moment in the spotlight

As far as I can tell the story goes something like this...

Ahhhhh... nothing like that
fresh brand new house

Just makes you all toasty
and warm

But that lasts only so long...

                             PEARL HARBOR!
                             Whichever evil corporation
                             committed this heinous act
                             sure picked the wrong crib
                             to mess with!

                             Harry's out to put an end to
                             their diabolical, dubious,
                             dastardly deeds; nice
                             alliteration huh, and to
                             boot they've captured his
                             sweetheart just because,
                             well... they're evil
                             [Makes sense -Ed.]    


The game unfolds in a storybook-like fashion

                              There are 4 stages, each
                              with two zones. The game
                              possesses a distinct urban
                              Japanese feel -- one reason
                              probably why it never saw
                              a Western release

Harry attacks with his trusty
mallet. The standard hammer
is weak so find an upgrade
ASAP. Attack left, right, down
or up. You can also throw it
like a boomerang; a move that
becomes mandatory in the
later stages. U, UF, F +
attack... why not D, DF, F
we'll never know

The two hammer upgrades are:

                                  Swinger- Swings mallet
                                  in a circle

Quaker- Releases shock waves
along the ground. The best of 'em

Muscle icons are hidden inside crates and barrels. When you have 1 or more, press X to unleash one of two special moves. They're best saved for the bosses

                                Harry hurls the hammer
                                in the air causing a wave
                                of stars to fall in cascades

(Jump and then hit X)
Harry leaps into the air
and smashes the ground
causing an unavoidable
sphere of destruction

Special move #2 is more effective. And since they both use one muscle icon, there's no reason ever to use special move #1

Note: Boss names are strictly fictional. Alliteration aficionados will appreciate the attempt at assimilation...

                         It's the easy introductory level!
                         Send the SD Zangief clones
                         back to the scrap heap. The
                         cranky female street sweepers
                         makes for an odd enemy, but
                         indicative of the game's nature.
                         Even cats get into the mix.
                         Jump on the roof tops or
                         patrol the ground. It's cool to
                         have two choices of beating
                         a stage. When you're on the
                         shingles, you'll gradually slide
                         down. Good stuff


A super easy boss
thanks to its child's
play pattern. By the
way, all bosses have
twice your health.
When you get him
down to about 25%,
he sheds his cat
mask [Hey, where's
the alliteration in
Cat-Man?? -Ed.]

                                        Opens with a racing
                                        section. Punk bikers
                                        ride by trying to pelt
                                        you with rocks.
                                        Smack them or
                                        ricochet their rocks
                                        back their way.
                                        There are 2 racing
                                        bits throughout the
                                        game which lends
                                        some variety to the

After the racing part
it's back to the good
ole platforming bits

Here's a nice set
piece -- knock the
pillars over to send
the debris crashing

That'll wake him up!


                     BOSS 2: CHUCK THE CHUCKER

                                      True to his name (that
                                      I've created, mind) he
                                      chucks bottles and
                                      other junk. He's a
                                      push-over, the git!

Here we begin the
foray into the forest.

Why are the old ladies
sweeping a forest floor?

Ahh, you gotta love the
silliness of the Japanese

                                           These guys don't
                                           monkey around!
                                           [How much am I
                                           paying you again?

Ascend the trees to
break open crates

Certain branches
break to keep you

Make sure you see
whatever's inside
before you touch it.
The "poison icon"
is abundant here

                               This bit here can be tricky.
                               You can smash the hives,
                               sure, but remember that
                               ole thing called "cause
                               and effect"?

                               Best keep a low profile


This Tarzan wannabe
swings on vines and
on foot tosses a
boomerang. Simple
pattern. Show him
who's King of the

Which wooden stick to hit?  Remember "cause and effect"?  It rears its head again. Only a matter of quick trial and error, but it's interactive and that's always a plus

A cool construction zone
appears midway through.
Geez, they're trying to
destroy everything, these
mad men!  You can't take
my woods YA HEAR ME?!

*shakes fist* [cue
Groundskeeper Willie]

   [........ -Ed.]

                                     Wooden spikes can
                                     pop up out of nowhere,
                                     so tread softly

Ah those crazy Japanese. Check out her pattern!  The Quaker mallet will make short work of her. Any other hammer though and she can be very tough


The 2nd and last
racing section

                   BOSS 5: SCOTT "THE SCRUFFY"
                   SKATEBOARDIN' SAVAGE

                   I love how Japanese-y this game is
                   and along comes this bloke, heh.
                   Easy pattern based upon timing.
                   Send Scruffy packin'!


My favorite stage

It scrolls horizontally....



                                                                                 .... as well as vertically

The waterfall parts are
very atmospheric.
Some blocks fall when
you touch 'em. Standard
classic platforming since
the beginning of time

(or the '80s..)

                                         The coolest part by
                                         far, though, is the
                                         late afternoon skies
                                         making way for
                                         majestic and serene


Like Charlene, the Quaker
mallet does him in easily.
Any other... he's tougher
than a two dollar steak

Booby traps, gun turrets and foot soldiers litter this dangerous factory zone. Just check out some of the hazards you'll have to contend with!

Old scientists cramped
up in tiny corners madly
push buttons to operate
crushing machinery. The
only way to get past is
to employ the highly
obscure U, UF, F +
attack command

                              BOSS 7: DOCTOR DEATH

                              What a sight for sore eyes!

                              Two very important tips:

Richochet his various

                              2. Have plenty of muscle
                                  icons. GOOD LUCK!

I won't spoil the rest. You have 4-2 and 5-1 to work out. The final boss battle stretches 3 screens wide!  (unfortunately he's quite the cake walk)

Misc. Notes
-Pretty easy game -- beat it on my 1st try. Took 105 minutes, but I lost to some bosses quite a bit. 9 stages total. Possible to beat in 60 to 75 minutes

-No passwords

-If you like this game, check out Rocky Rodent, also by Irem (SNES). RR has somewhat of a Hammerin' Harry feel to it

-No options. Shame -- I'd have liked to up the difficulty

-The storybook sequences and ending are in Japanese. It's very import-friendly

-No slowdown

-Graphically the game has a cute, nice look. Things are "alive" and the SD characters definitely add charm. My brother walked by and laughed at the big heads

-Sound-wise I didn't like it too much. Some of the music gets annoying, and each character's death cry is the same! A big no-no. From the burly axe-weilding Zangief lookalikes to the female sweepers! Even the monkeys! Lazy!

Gameplay-wise it does nothing extraordinary. It's a linear game with no option of backtracking

Don't fall Harry!


Worth hunting down?  At a decent price, yeah. I like how it doesn't take itself seriously, unlike too many platformers out there. Just looking at the screenshots you can tell it's erring on the goofy side. Not a stand-out title, but it's a nice game to have in the ole library

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7.5
Longevity: 6

Overall: 7.5

Bronze Award