Monday, February 13, 2012

8-Bit Flashback: Shatterhand (NES)

When I got back into buying/collecting NES games I was first looking to re-acquire a few of the games I had as a kid.  While looking around the 'net for these games I ran across the box art for Shatterhand and I thought, "wow, how corny looking is that?".  The art was so typical of a 90's video game.  However there was also something about the box art that had me intrigued.  I think I found the cartridge for a buck or two a local video game store so I had to try it out.  I judged this game by it's cover and I'm happy to report that after playing the game is a lot of fun and one of the best NES games in the console's library. 

The game starts off with a pretty cool semi-animated intro.  I was always a sucker for games that told the story through animated sequences.

The game was released in 1991 by Natsume and is a side scrolling action game.  The game play is very similar to Sunsoft's Batman or even Konami's various Castlevania games.  You play as guy with prosthetic hands and all the combat takes place at close range.  I found this refreshing and a chance a pace from the Contra style games where your character is armed with a gun.  You character can't upgrade his own attacks per se, but he can find various alpha and beta symbols that arm him with 1 of 8 different robot companions.  The little robot hovers behind your character just over his shoulder and attacks when you attack.  The attacks vary depending on your combination of symbols collected.  Some lob grenade type attacks while others attack up and down.  Collect three symbols and your character will be encased in an all powerful armor where for 15 seconds your attacks launch fireballs.  During these 15 seconds you are also invulnerable.  Your attacks are quite responsive which makes the game fun to play.  One of the things I hated about Sunsoft's Batman NES game was the slow responsiveness when attacking.  All the platform jumping wasn't that well executed either.  Thankfully those problems don't plague this game.  The linear levels include all sorts of your standard platforming fun.  The difficulty is just right - not too easy while not too hard.  

After having fun with all the NES games I decided to take the plunge and buy an authentic Famicom system.  While doing research on games to buy I discovered that Shatterhand had been released in Japan as Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain.

From what I can tell there are several differences between this and the U.S. version.  I've yet to be able to find the game for a decent price so I can't comment much more on the differences.

One day I hope to be able to find the game as I am very intrigued by the changes I found out - such as the submarine level from Shatterhand being replaced with a circus level with the boss being two ladies.  It was common for Nintendo to censor their games and change things during the localization process.  I believe you may be able to play this game online HERE or play Shatterhand HERE.

If you're looking for a fun "beat 'em up" side scrolling action game that is a bit different from all the rest then I strongly encourage you to track down this game.  Perhaps you can find a cheap copy @


  1. Sunsoft Batman.. I wonder of that was the one we all played as a kid.

    I can remember we all stayed up all night trying to finish it since it was a rental. But don't think I ever saw a good Batman game since.

  2. Oops, I should have said until the two Arkham ones came out..