Other than BattleSphere, one of the probably most wanted Jaguar games was Skyhammer, an action flight game from the creators of Alien Vs. Predator. Thanks to Carl Forhan, we're able to have this game, which otherwise probably wouldn't have ever made it.
It first was known as HammerHead, and I believe it was going to be on a CD. It was later changed to Skyhammer, and also was put on cart. It was to be released in late '95, since it was finsihed, but it never showed up. We don't know exactly why, but it became one of the many lost Jaguar games until Carl Forhan picked up the binary from Rebellion.
GAME: Well, this is a game I have been certainly impressed with. This game is an original, the G-Police before G-Police ever came out. It looks nice from the title screen and into the game. A Skyhammer is a sort attack hover-plane, and you are a mercenary who works for the Cytox company. There are two styles of gameplay, mission or battle. Mission is really cool, where you are assigned missions non-linerally. It could be something different everytime. While some of the more common missions seem to consist of going into a hostile zone and finding a data packet or destroying an enemy command vehicle, there are plenty of other missions which keep things varied. There are three cities in the game, first starting off with Jericho. You have to claim the entire city for your company before you move on. You do start claiming areas after a little while into game. The city is split up into 15 zones, which are held by three companies at first. I'd also like to note that the city is absolutely HUGE. And with the ablity to fly anywhere, it makes it even bigger. Your company seems to be the smaller of the three, but you do get to start taking over later on which is really cool.
Like AvP, you constantly view the game over screen, even on easy. You have to be careful because your craft isn't the all- powerful craft that can go through anywhere with blazing guns and return without a scratch. So you have to use some strategy more than mindless attacks. One of the things I love about this game is all the stuff you can buy for your craft. You get paid for things you destroy, and even more for completing missions. There are several weapons to choose from first off. You have your basic gatling gun, which is pretty useful, then you have mini-missles, bombs, homing missles, smart missles, and smart E.M.P. missles. You can deal quite an amount of destruction with these, and it's great. You get that satisfying ultra-destructive feeling you get from Iron Soldier with the exception that you're flying. After the weapons, you also must look into buying engine upgrades, which are very useful. With upgrades you get the ability to strafe, raise or lower your craft in place, and increase overall speed.
By the time you upgrade to a level 4 engine, you can blaze across the city in no time, which is quite cool. You can also upgrade your fuel tank or your E.M.P. device, which is used to destroy rockets headed towards you. You can do these things at a number of different docking stations which are located around the city. But some docks have higher prices than others and different amounts of weapons in stock(which is a cool feature).
There is also battle mode, which I haven't played as much yet since I've been focusing mostly on missions. I battle, you strictly defend your territory and try to take over the enemy territory (you do get to do that in mission, but battle is just focused on this). It's pretty fun though, it's like a variation of Gauntlet mode on BattleSphere.
STORY: Early in the 21st century, cyberspace was declared the legal equivalent of hardspace. In 2012, anarchist hackers injected a virus into the computerized world, and chaos erupted on a global scale. Soon citizens were forced to choose the slavery of a corporate contract, or the risks of lining beyond the law.
GRAPHICS: All I heard about Skyhammer a couple years ago was that it's framrate was really low. Now it isn't moving like Tempest, but it's really not bad at all. It moves like AvP I feel, and that's good enough. It's always playable, and that's what really matters. If you've seen the videos, then you only have an idea of what it's like, it's much different on the TV screen.
This is also a game that shows that the Jaguar can texture map after all. Nothing is without a texture in this game. There is also an abundance of animated textures. The res of the textures seems to run around the same as AvP, but I'm not exactly sure. There isn't clipping, it just fades in like in AvP. Overall, it looks really cool, and I believe it uses a good deal of the Jag's power. The 2D effects are pretty smooth. The only thing I didn't like that I had to get a little used to was the cockpit size seems a little small. But after playing a litlle bit, it's not bad.
The games major flaw comes from not being completely finished. I mean mostly that there are bugs which were never worked out which give you a headache towards the end of a level. I have never gotten past Jericho on Mission mode because as you take over more territories, enemies are piled on dramatically. You are constantly attacked by Battle groups, which are battalions of enemies who try to take over your ground. And when the game becomes flooded with 10 groups at a time, the frame rate drops and the difficulty shoots through the roof. Also, at this point, lock-ups are seen constantly as well. I find that Battle mode is a little more playable however and more enjoyable as well.
I'll just comment on the sound and controls really quick. The opening track is really cool, and in-game it's alright. The voices, just like in AvP, are crystal clear and sound awesome. The control is a snap to use if you've used a Jag controller before. I'd really suggest the procontroller, it helps a lot.
Overall, even in today's gaming world Skyhammer is very cool. I like it as much as AvP! Get it if you can...