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 smell
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 all
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...
1-1 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
BOSS 1: CAT-MAN
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.]
1-2 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 proceedings
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!
2-1 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 sometimes...
These guys don't monkey around!
[How much am I paying you again? -Ed.]
Ascend the trees to break open crates
Certain branches break to keep you honest
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 here!
BOSS 3: BOOMERANG BILLY
This Tarzan wannabe swings on vines and on foot tosses a boomerang. Simple pattern. Show him who's King of the Jungle
2-2 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]
YA CAN'T HAVE MAH WOODS![........ -Ed.]
Wooden spikes can pop up out of nowhere, so tread softly
BOSS 4: CHARLENE THE CHAINSAW CRUSHER 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 evening
BOSS 6: DYNAMITE DAN
Like Charlene, the Quaker mallet does him in easily. Any other... he's tougher than a two dollar steak
4-1 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:
1.Richochet his various projectiles
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
-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
-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