SHATTERHAND / Jaleco / NES
Shatterhand is a somewhat interesting attempt at a fusion of Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden, looking pretty nice and having some decent music to boot. It's almost awesome, but sloppy level design and obnoxious boss battles really hold it back.
You're a cop with robo-hands, soloing what appears to be the army from Rush N' Attack in the cybernetic future. No clue why any of this is happening, presumably whatever story there was was in the manual, because almost nothing at all is mentioned in-game. So you're mostly equipped with just your dukes against a wide variety of enemies, which is where the Ninja Gaiden feel comes in, along with the dark detailed backgrounds (actually, Shadow of the Ninja is probably the better comparison, since they're both by Natsume and use a very similar engine.) You pick up Greek letters along the way though, spelling out various combinations of them gives you a little Option sidekick with varying powers. These are totally unpredictable too unless you've tried each combo previously, possibly another thing you need the manual for. Anyway, the Mega Man bit is in that once you've cleared the initial level, you get to select from five other levels to take on in whatever order you see fit. Also lots of those teleporty light beamy effects as you travel around, and similar sound effects.
It looks nice and for the most part the gameplay is very solid, but the level plotting is obnoxious and full of cheap hits, and some of the boss battles are outright ridiculous - the very first one you fight to clear the intro level is already a giant dick if you happen to not come in with an Option thingy. Semi-primitive level design, but pretty good everything else.
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