E3 06: Project H.A.M.M.E.R. Hands-On

We drop the H.A.M.M.E.R. down on Nintendo's new beat-'em-up for the Wii. It's H.A.M.M.E.R. time!

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LOS ANGELES--We got our chance to play Project H.A.M.M.E.R., the newly announced beat-'em-up from Nintendo for the Wii, on the show floor for the first time today. From a third-person perspective, you control a big, beefy-looking character who is loaded up with some glowing, futuristic armor and a really, really big hammer. As we ran down the streets of a rather war-torn looking urban area, we were confronted with groups of robots that we were able to just bash away at with our mighty hammer by repeatedly tapping the A button on the Wii remote.

We had more-advanced maneuvers at our disposal as well, which we had to activate by using some of the Wii's motion-sensing capabilities. For instance, by holding down on the A button and rapidly swinging the remote from side to side, we were able to execute a spinning attack that cleared out enemies from all sides. Alternately, if we held the A button while drawing the remote back and up over our heads, our warrior would mimic our movement by drawing back his hammer as it charged up, eventually slamming it down, completely decimating any robot that it made direct contact with and stunning any nearby robots. Interestingly, a red dot would appear on the screen wherever we pointed the remote, and our charging slam attack proved much more effective when we were able to center the red dot on the screen after charging up.

Though the game generally had a pretty traditional beat-'em-up feel to it, there were some other bits of Wii-specific functionality. Specifically, when we were close enough to an enemy or a destructible obstacle, we could target it with the pointer, at which point the targeted item would glow red. When in this state, we could then hold the Z button on the nunchuk to lock on to our target, which proved especially useful in the demo when we came upon a row of flamethrowers that were blocking our path. Past the flamethrower, we were confronted with a hulking piece of machinery that was capable of producing endless supplies of robots--think of the monster generators from Gauntlet, but with a more menacing payload. Our warrior's spin attack proved quite effective in destroying the robot-generating machine, and after we cleared out the area, a huge, walking boss enemy armed with a massive cannon busted through a brick wall. We were prepared for it to be totally on, though sadly at this point the demo actually ended.

The demo was short on back story, not really giving us a sense of where the robots were coming from or where our character had acquired the world's biggest meat tenderizer, but the quick-and-easy gameplay wasn't really in line with the kind of game that would be heavy on the story elements anyway. We're definitely curious, though, about any additional moves we might be able to execute using the motion-sensitive Wii controllers.

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