This game kicks ass. I mean it. A totally awsome side scrolling action game starring you as secret agent Shatterhand who is tasked with taking down some kind of terrorist organization. But you're such a badass that you choose to personally beat down every single one of the evildoers with your own bare hands.
Well, maybe not bare hands. You have cybernetically enhanced asskicking hands of doom that can punch through brick walls. And bullets. And people's skulls. They're so crazy badass that they make people explode on impact. Plus you have a little flying robot buddy that hovers around and unleashes whoop-ass at your command. Damn this game rocks.
Gameplay is similar to Ninja Gaiden and moves just as fast. You run right to left, jumping over obstaces, punching the living daylights out of people. Each time you kill somebody they either drop a coin (which you need in order to buy health) or a little Greek letter. Get a certain combination of Greek letters and your robot sidekick will bust out a new weapon, such as a lazer gun, plasma sword, bladed yo-yo thing, or bladed richoceting rings of death.
Punching is handled with two quick jabs and a hard left as your default combo, and each successive punch after that is a hard left (usefull for taking out walls and such.) You can also cling onto background fences (there are areas with no ground, or ground covered in spikes where you have to jump from fence to fence) or hang onto the bottom of your robot and hitch a ride to a higher platform. Get a certain combo of letters and your robot turns into an invincibility suit that lets you shoot fireballs for a limited time.
After the first introductory level you get to choose which next level you want to progress to like Mega Man, however there really is no strategic advantage to the order of the levels. They're all about the same as far as difficulty goes.
The enemies look decent and aren't too generic, and every one has at least one unique animation or attack behaviour (instead of just running into you.) Bosses in this game kick ass. They are challenging without being too hard and all of them mix up the pattern to keep you guessing. As per 8-bit game play mechanics each has a gimmick that you have to learn , the first level boss is this big Russian Cossack guy who clings onto the walls and shoots at you, another boss reverses gravity, etc.
The graphics are full of awsome, among the best you're going to see on the 8-bit nes. The levels have lots of animation in the background (such as the first level where little parachute bombs drop while you're running and the city is burning behind you.) Some of them even have parallax scrolling. yes my friends, your eyes will pop out of your heads when you behold the graphical equvialent of kickass that is Shatterhand.
Everyone in the world owes it to themselves to go out and get this game. If there ever was an 8-bit game that was worthy of having a sequel this is it. A very awsome game with a lot of playability. The various bot types makes you take different strategies for each, and the non linear layout lets you experiment with different runthroughs. I highly reccomend this title for any old school Nes collectors.