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Video Game / The Caverns of Hammerfest

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"More than 200 levels!
Loads of enemies!
More than 70 quests!
More than 350 items to collect!
A lof incredible secrets!"
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Remember the time arcades were actually existent and all of the machines ended making you use up all of your allowance as you played those hardcore games they had to offer?

The Caverns of Hammerfest is a Flash game made by the French game developers of Motion-Twin in February 2006, and is the masterpiece homage to the good old platformers that made you yell Big No-s at the loss of your character's last life. Particularly inspired by gems like Bubble Bobble and Snow Bros, the insane difficulty it has to offer is notable (while also being very fair), but its real charm are the countless collectible items and the nice graphics you come across in your quest.

In it, you're a snowman named Igor brought to life when a sorcerer steals your carrot nose, who also happened to kidnap and enslave all the sentient fruits of the orchards of Hammerfest for no apparent reason. Now, Igor must venture to his subterranean hideout and go through 100+ levels without dying ( did we mention there are no save points?) in order to recover his honor and free his fruity friends from the clutches of Tuber the evil sorcerer.

With the ability to throw bombs that freeze your enemies, to progress you have to clear the levels out of the bewitched fruits by sending them to the bottom of the level with them. It's not as easy as it sounds, unfortunately, as you'll see in latter levels. To help you on your way, though, there are the aforementioned 300+ items, most of which have twisted effects of all sorts that go from dandelions that make you flutter to trophies that summon a three-eyed-god to make your enemies dizzy. And these are among the weakest.

Originally the game only had the 103 levels between the game's start and the final boss, but then the developers introduced the concept of Parallel Dimensions: extra levels that you can access in specific points of the game's main course. They're usually referred as PD + the level in which you can enter the parallel dimension. The Parallel Dimension with the game's hardest levels, for example, is officially named Hell, but is also often called P.D. 54 as one can enter it in the 54th level of the main course.

Note that there aren't even many hammers in the game. It is rather named after the city of Hammerfest, one of the coldest and nothernmost cities of the world.

This game provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Gender: Not gender per se, actually, but there have been a lot of discussion whether the red fruits are apples or tomatoes. Evidence in favor of them being apples is the fact that there is a Tomato item, which looks nothing like the enemy.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The hardest quests often lead to disguises.
  • Drop the Hammer: There's a hammer item that makes Igor automatically begin swinging it in front of him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After enduring the whole of the game's length and difficulty, it's only well deserved that Igor reunites with his fruit friends!
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Though Tuber lives at the very bottom, the whole caverns are his hideout.
  • Every 10,000 Points: You get extra lives past 100,000 and 500,000 points. After these marks, new lives are only gained again every one million points.
  • Evil Laugh: In level 2, coming all the way from Tuber's lungs while he sits in the bottom of the caverns.
  • Excuse Plot: I want my carrot nose back, dammit!
  • Fetch Quest: All of the quests involve collecting items, some of which are randomly dropped and others are found in only specific levels (or Parallel Dimensions) of the game.
  • Fighting a Shadow: At level 100, the bat you fight there? He's Tuber.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: The levels are simply segments of the huge pit that is the game, and Igor will be killed if he tries to go beyond the level's bottom without having cleared the fruits of the area.
  • Flunky Boss: Tuber.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Partially averted. Though without the freezing effect, your bombs stun your partner in 2P Mode.
  • Goomba Stomp: It is an ability that can be achieved for one stage if you get the Koopa Shell item.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The items, collecting them is a huge part of the game's appeal.
  • Guide Dang It!: Okay, if you want big scores, you must check walkthroughs about the orders in which you must kill the fruits in order to get the big crystal. It's nigh impossible to figure them out by yourself, mainly when there more than one of the same fruit.
    • There's Cadomax for French-speaking players, and Zaxarinka for the English-speaking ones.
  • Harder Than Hard: Hell is a Parallel Dimension infamous for having the hardest levels in the game, now try imagining it in the game's Nightmare Mode. Unfortunately, there are no unique rewards for being able to complete Hell in Nightmare Mode.
  • Harmless Freezing: Turning the fruits into cubes of ice only makes them angrier.
  • Hell: The name of the Parallel Dimension that can be found at level 54. Entirely optional, but contains the hardest levels in the game as well as some unique items deep into it, which only the most hardcore of players manage to get.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Igor after killing Tuber, as implied in the game's flair for the quest completed when one acquires Tuber's cloak.
  • 100% Completion: Though a sizable number of players managed to complete all the game's quests, no one ever unlocked all the collectable items - it may even be impossible, since an oversight by the game's developers makes one items inaccessible in the game's main mode.
  • Idle Animation: Igor blows a bubble out of a bubblegum after a while or pulls a silly dance.
  • Instant Ice, Just Add Snowball Bombs
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The fireball that comes after the second Hurry! to pursue Igor, just like the monster called Baron von Blubba does in Bubble Bobble.
  • Joke Item: The Chocolate Mousse. It looks like poop (it is implied to be poop in the French version) and is only worth 1 point. It also happens to be a coefficient 5 item, one of the rarest items in the game, with only a 1 in 700 chance of appearing in any level.
  • Kill It with Fire: When under the effects of the Ring of Fire item.
  • Kill It with Ice: How the gameplay works.
  • Locked Door: Some doors will only open after you got the right key through a Side Quest. One opens only after you completed the game.
  • Mook Maker: Tuber.
  • New Game Plus: Once you beat the final boss, you complete a quest that allows you play the game with an upped difficulty in Nightmare Mode. Considering that playing the game always involves starting it over from the first level, the game's quests may also count as this in a general sense, since they give the player new power-ups and/or items to be usable in the next session of gameplay.
  • Nintendo Hard: Given that you have to go through 103 levels without dying and beat the final boss in one sitting, it can take between one and five months to hone enough your skills so that you're able to beat the main game. And that's not counting the amount it takes to master the (albeit entirely optional) Parallel Dimension of Hell, which often can take significantly longer.
  • Nostalgia Level: P.D. 16 (Super Mario Bros.), P.D. 43 (Bubble Bobble), P.D. 51 (Rick Dangerous) and P.D. 62 (Sonic the Hedgehog).
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Igor cannot take any damage or he'll die. Luckily, he has good ol' fashioned Video-Game Lives.
  • Path of Most Resistance: This is the point of the Parallel Dimensions, which often (but not always) have rewards or are shortcuts.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The Starfish item, a red star that can only be found as an effect of items from the Zodiac Signs family of items. Problem is, once the player collects all Zodiac Signs, these items will never spawn again in any level of the game. If a player doesn't collect at least 10 Starfishes before completing the Zodiac Signs family, the Starfish item will become impossible to unlock.
  • Poison Mushroom: A bunch of items are there just to make things harder.
  • Portal Network: Hidden portals lead to bonus stages. There are also visible ones for quick displacments inside a stage.
  • Power Up Letdown: Out of many, the biker helmet (which allows you to kick bombs further, which is more often a hindrance than an advantage) and the dandelion (which makes you fall slower, and often makes it harder to dodge the fruits).
  • One Bullet at a Time: Initially, Igor can only have one active bomb at a time, and must wait for the last one to explode before laying another. However, there are power-ups that can allow you to raise the bombs limit while they're active, as well as sidequests that raise the limit permanently when completed.
  • Randomly Drops: Most of the items available in the game. The rarest class of items has only a 1 in 22000 chance of appearing in any specific level, so some can be very hard to get.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Igor sports one which changes of colour according to the type of bomb he can currently drop.
  • Schizo Tech: While the game supposedly takes place in 404BC it doesn't stop from there being modern-day objects as items (and even robots) and teleporters.
  • Scoring Points: Played straight this time. Scoring big not only nets you lives, there's a 5 level ranking based on the top players by score.
  • Secret Level: The Parallel Dimensions.
  • Selective Gravity: Subverted. Everything falls (with an exception being those watermelons).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bubble Bobble: The Trope Codifier gets a Parallel Dimension (P.D. 43) with levels whose designs are straight from it. Not only that, the Bubble Bobble series of games often had levels with the tiles arranging in the style of drawings or words, and Hammerfest has a few levels with tile-art too.
      • Special notice to level 93 from Hammerfest, which pictures a Bubble Bobble enemy named Monsta. The level is full of watermelons, a Hammerfest enemy that behaves exactly like the Monstas from the original Bubble Bobble.
      • The bubbles that wrap Igor, the umbrella items that make you skip levels and the big crystals that fall when you kill the fruits in a certain order also come from Bubble Bobble.
    • Snow Bros: Another Elimination Platformer, from the times of Bubble Bobble, where the protagonist is a snowman.
    • Hare Nochi Guu: Pokutes, Mandas, Chourou's chesthair and a doll of Guu are items. One quest is based on collecting them.
    • Super Mario Bros.: Collect all of the four mushrooms and you get Mario's signature hat. Also, P.D. 16, the Secret Coins and the Koopa shell item.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog: Parallel Dimension 62, where you can collect Golden Rings that look like the ones from the Sonic games and features levels all styled after Green Hill Zone.
    • One Piece: Chopper and Luffy's hats are items.
    • Half-Life: The Gordon's Key item is a crowbar identical to that of the first game.
    • Rick Dangerous: P.D. 51, which not only is styled on the game's first level's evironment, it also has the Ankhel Jewel as a reward at the end. And the Rigor Dangerous key, needed to get into said P.D.
    • Doctor Slump: In the French version, the poop/Chocolate Mousse item is called Arale's delicacy (literal translation). Arale, from the show, is known to have a fascination with feces.
    • Johnny 5, UFO Robo Grendizer, Ulysses 31, Star Wars, Robocop and Transformers: All get items on the robots-based family items.
  • Snowlems: Igor is one.
  • Socialization Bonus: Some items can only be acquired in 2P Mode.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The sped up music that plays after the first Hurry!, just like in Bubble Bobble.
  • Spikes of Doom: Made of wood.
  • Turns Red:
    • For all of the fruits after they unfreeze. In Nightmare Mode, they already start like this.
    • The Hurry! warnings.
  • Warp Zone: Primary way to get to the Parallel Dimensions.