Released in October 2009, Hammerfight is a physics based 2d action game which aims to accurately simulate how to use centripetal force and inertia to gather enough kinetic energy to smash things to bits. Tragically, Sir Isaac Newton has been unavailable for his expert opinion on the game, though we are reasonably certain he would think it's "totally rad".
Best time with deaths: Single-segment 0:36:10 by Kyle 'chairbender' Hipke on 2013-10-02.
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Hammerfight is a game where you smash things! It's also a game where the physics frequently freak out, sending you and sharp metal objects flying all over the screen and ending your run prematurely. This game requires lots of practice to get precise with landing blows without hitting all of the various things that can kill you. Whenever you bump into anything, even a tiny piece of debris, you lose control of your copter for a short time, and this can send you to your death if it causes you to fly into spikes or an enemies weapon, especially since this run doesn't use any armor. The fact that the game is heavily physics-based means you can expect to deal with a lot of things dynamically during your run (like how enemies move and how things bounce around).
I decided to run this because it seemed fun and run-worthy, and nobody has given it much love.
Anyway, all of the technical information, route information, etc... Is in the Hammerfight SDA Knowledge Base page. I'll still write this for someone who has never played this game, though.
== The Run ==
The settings I went with are worth explaining. Graphics (a slider in the options menu) are turned down to 0, which means some extra things don't render. This actually seems to stop fire from spreading on one level, which saves time strangely. I went with this because the screen can get REALLY cluttered with all the debris, and I wanted to minimize that. As for mouse DPI, the game actually recommends a really horrible setting that makes it impossible to deliver good hits. Basically, I just turned it down a bunch and found a setting where I could move quickly with little hand movement.
Sometimes you'll hear the character laughing. When you wiggle your mouse, the character taunts and makes enemies attack him. Most of the time I just do it for fun. Also, normally a smiley face with its tongue out appears above the character, but the low graphics setting makes this not happen.
Enemies will beg for mercy in this game but I will give them none (unless it's too risky to finish them off or I have other enemies to deal with). It's much faster to finish a stage by killing them instead of waiting for them to stop begging. This actually still makes me feel really uneasy even after playing this game a whole lot. But, as usual, the optimal strategy with the game is to be a huge jerk.
There are lots of different weapons in this game, but I didn't feel that it made a huge difference to have a slightly stronger or different weapon. You can steal weapons from enemies, but you lose them if you die (and I suicide a lot so that is out of the question). You can also buy weapons, but I didn't want to waste time on that. I felt that I could do enough damage with the starting weapon.
At times, you'll see me turn blue and time slow down. This happens when you land a big enough hit or knock away an enemy's weapon. This increases your weapon's mass a bunch, which can make you do a lot more damage, but also can kill you if you get dizzied because it drags you much farther (since its heavier).
Finally, during fights, you'll see me do what I call "Ground and Pound". Basically, when an enemy hits something, they get dizzied and just float (and, most importantly, can't bring up their armor). So if you keep hitting them over and over into a wall or the floor, they tend to die much faster.
Now for comments on the individual stages:
-Tutorial-2: I missed a few times on this guy. It only wastes a few seconds. This can happen a lot in hammerfight because of how difficult it is to be precise with your hits while also being fast.
-2-1: I need to collect enough money so I can do what is probably the most important thing in Hammerfight: suicide skip. Basically, on most levels, if you die 3 times and you have enough money, you can buy the "Gold Bulla", which lets you skip the level BUT you lose ALL your money. You have to have enough money for it and it doesn't tell you how much you need, so I had to get a feel for it through playing. This makes route planning interesting, because I needed to determine where to put the level skips to maximize time savings, since you need to be able to collect enough money and also need to be able to suicide quickly. Anyway, I manage to collect enough here.
-2-2: If you let go of your weapon, you immediately die because the leader gets mad at you. So I throw my weapon away as quickly as possible. Throwing your weapon in Hammerfight is one of the most frustrating things, because you don't just press a button. You have to hold the right mouse button for long enough (and the duration is different for each weapon), and you also have to be accelerating and then release the right mouse button during the mouse movement. I still haven't figured out the exact criteria for when it works. But this level goes okay.
-4: You can get randomly unlucky and the Sophit just runs into the worm rider. This happens to me. It only wastes a few seconds, and for the sake of practice it can make the fight easier when you restart because it changes the position you and the worm start (and since I used restart to practice, I am more comfortable with playing from this starting position). I managed to get the worm in two passes by smacking it in the head enough, which is a very good time. It's possible to kill it in one pass, but very difficult and kind of random. This level took me awhile to figure out how to play, because basically once the Sophit is on the screen you don't have enough time to start your weapon swing. So I give myself more time by putting the worm rider near to the Sophit. Then, when the worm rider yells or starts shooting, I know it's time to ready a swing. If you don't hit the head soon enough, the Sophit throws its claws out at you and blocks you from hitting its head.
-5: Suicide skipping is MUCH MUCH faster than playing it through, so I just run into the spikes. Running into wooden spikes with no shields is instant death, usually.
-6-2: I got a bit unlucky with where the enemy landed. If he lands under the spikes on the left, it is difficult to hit him without killing yourself on the spikes or his weapon. I also needed to be careful to collect enough money for the next suicide skip, as this is the only stage since the last suicide where I can get money. I managed to knock him away and get him low enough to where he gives up. It could've gone a few seconds faster.
-6-3: This stage is long if you don't suicide. This stage is scary for me. I have to successfully drop the sword up on the ceiling precisely enough so I can bump into it until I die. As I said before, dropping weapons is very inconsistent in this game. If I don't get it right in the corner, I have to very carefully juggle it around. I manage to get a pretty quick series of deaths, though, despite an accidental regrab on the first and failed throw on the second.
-6-4: I have to not take too much damage until 30 seconds. Then I have to get damaged until I get to the red, and the overseer ends the fight quickly. When the enemies aren't attacking, they back away from you if you get close, so I use this to try to position them in a way that it makes it easier to dodge them.
-6-5: I'm being particularly careful not to hit the enemy's hammer, because that can be instant death if I get caught between it and him (sharp weapons are dangerous in this run since I have no armor).
-7-2: Suicide tends to be faster on this stage because more enemies spawn after you defeat the first enemy.
-7-3: The trick to this stage is to smack the enemies into each other so that they get dizzied and don't bother me by trying to attack me.
-8-1: As usual, when there are wooden spikes, suicide is usually the fastest option.
-8-2: This level is very scary. There are spikes all around the walls, so I can't get dizzied or I risk getting killed running into them. Also, the enemies can get stuck if they get knocked outside the stage, which has happened to me a lot. I ALSO need to collect enough money to suicide in the next stage. Thankfully, I manage to pull this off very successfully.
-8-4: This stage benefits from the reduced graphics settings. There are explosive barrels all around the outside of this stage. Explosions in Hammerfight suck. Not only do they do ridiculous damage (even at a distance), and randomly kill you from really fast moving debris, but they also cause this high pitched ear-ringing sound. Due to how the game was programmed, while the high pitched sound is going, the level cannot end. So, on this stage, if you trigger an explosion, it can make the level take longer to finish even after you kill the enemies. THe stage starts with a fire set on one of the wood blocks, and eventually it spreads to the explosive barrels, causing the explosion. The explosion also always tends to go off after I kill the last enemy, wasting time. Setting the graphics low prevents this from happening. I'm particularly proud of the last kill, where I knock the enemy's weapon off and then kill him with it by hitting it back at him.
-8-5: You can kill the boss by just destroying the middle section. It's hard to hit because he has the claw hand and the flamethrower hand and you have to constantly move to dodge him. Also, if you don't kill him quickly enough he goes off screen and spawns 4 sawblades, wasting a bunch of time. I fortunately killed him in one cycle.
-9-1: You are supposed to throw the weapon and break all the rocks hanging above you. But throwing in this game sucks. And I don't have time for his silly games, so I just throw my weapon away in defiance and suicide skip.
-9-2: This stage is actually harder due to the low graphics settings. Occasionally, it spawns barrels that explode when you break them, damaging you. They are indicated by being on fire. Unfortunately, fire doesn't render on these settings. But the explosion still happens. There's some luck on this stage, not dying to the explosions. I miss a barrel or two, but that wastes only a few seconds. And, I make up for it by landing good slices on the barrels (where you scrape it with just the tip of your weapon), which is hard and impresses the audience so you have to slice fewer barrels.
-9-3: This is probably my favorite suicide method. This level takes a long time because you have to wait for stones to roll down, and then hit them up really high. Instead, I just go break a hole in the place where the audience is and give them an even more entertaining spectacle: bumping myself to death with my own hammer. I was really scared I would drop the hammer on the final suicide, which would have ended the run, so I'm pretty proud of how I finished it with style by flinging it up into the air and ramming into it.
-10-1: This level is a deathtrap. You may notice I'm trying to hit the enemy up. That's because the grinding gears at the bottom don't really damage him, but they damage me. So sometimes he can get trapped down there and make it really hard to kill him. It goes well.
-10-2: Originally, I had planned to suicide skip this level because of all of the enemies you have to fight, and because of the size of the arena. It's just too risky, though, because you have to waste time on the previous level trying to collect coins, but it's hard to collect them because there's only one enemy and a lot of them fly off into the spikes. So I decided to just play this stage normally.
-10-6: This could've gone a bit faster (maybe about 15 seconds or so). These enemies are huge jerks and disappear when you try to hit them. The best way to deal with that is to just dizzy them so they can't vanish, then ground and pound them.
-13: I need to grab the stone mace from the enemy so I don't have to switch weapons on the next stage. This level can REALLY destroy a run because random explosions can happen on the ground and instantly kill you. I try to stay away from the ground to minimize that risk
-13-1: This level plays like a side-scrolling beat-me-up. You have to kill enemies and then move on to the next screen. It takes a long time to complete so I definitely needed to suicide skip on this.
-13-2: I need to suicide skip the next stage, so I make sure to be careful to collect money.
-13-3: Those enemies have a lot of health, so suicide skipping tends to be faster than fighting them. I've experimented with stealing the weapon they have to use on the final stages, but it's SUPER heavy and I didn't want to rely on that
-14: This is the biggest mistake I make. I die on this stage. Considering the rest of the run went so well, though, and considering I make up for it by running the stage very quickly afterwards (and this being single segment), I still feel confident that it's very difficult to improve upon my time, barring new glitches being discovered. The death was because the spinning hammer from a destroyed enemy was hidden behind the background, so it was pretty much just bad luck.
-14-3: This level cannot be skipped. I originally played it by killing enemies as they appeared, but I found that that caused a lot of random deaths due to the buzzsaw blades and debris bouncing around. So I just have to circle around and not get killed. This is by far the SCARIEST moment for me, because the robot that shocks you from a distance got a few hits on me. It's also very fast, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to keep outrunning it (I had to clear a lot of space on my desk so I could keep moving the mouse at a high speed). There's also a robot that just shoots at you. I just barely died, but finished in style with a few good laughs thrown in for good measure.
And with that, the run is over. I don't need to fight this boss because of the branch I took.
Shout outs to the people behind AGDQ and the whole SDA community for getting me into speedrunning.
If you're interested in running this game, just refer to the Hammerfight page in the SDA Knowledge Base. It's very up-to-date.
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