Hammer of the Gods : First Look

Announced back in April of 2022, Hammer of the Gods is a side scrolling beat em up programmed by phoboz with the art, music and SFX being created by Eternal-Krauser.

Being fairly new to the Jaguar scene and also the homebrew scene, after a short while scrolling through the Atari Age Forums I came across this title, as I'm a fan of those arcade scrolling beat em up this has been compared to games such as Knights of the Round and Rastan Saga III to name a few, Golden Axe was clearly also thrown into this mix, like this Hammer of the Gods has impressive art style, colour translucency which can be seen in levels were light shines through a window/opening and music which drew me in from the get go.

Phoboz inspiration for this game was Moonstone for the Amiga however, phoboz means that the combat of Moonstone isn't suitable and the controls are more similar to Golden Axe with the added dash/running direction combo which they've mentioned they would like to expand it to be a little more advanced. There has also been a discussion about adding RPG elements to Hammer of the Gods which could give the characters experience points to help improve the characters abilities.

They chose a specific art direction for the game as they wanted to have a post 16-bit look to it, Eternal-Krauser also had similar impressions on some of the animations when he saw them in action. 

Phoboz mentions that "Hammer of the Gods is a mix of pre-rendered characters, and digitized graphics for the backgrounds"

"We experimented with a lot of different renderers, and none of them initially performed well on low resolutions. Because either significant parts of the models disappeared, or the image looked very pixelated due to the high level of detail in a small area. Eventually Krauser found the renderer we are using now, which made the characters look a little bit cartoonish, but at the same time a little bit more realistic than pure hand drawn cartoon characters. 

So we both felt thrilled that we had found the look we wanted for our game. Of course it's a matter of taste, but I think more people have praised the look compared to the people that thought it could improve."

Looking through the rest of the development through the Atari Age forum Eternal-Krauser has shared some incredible screenshots of WIP level designs , enemies and different player combat attacks/movements.

I've kindly been given an early early WIP demo version of the game which is for two players however, it was just me here to test it so I added the same controls for a second player just to see how the game runs.

Phoboz mentions "The demo supports 2 players, a Knight and an Archer. Both must move for the screen to scroll. The demo is limited to the first 3 scenes, as only these are considered somewhat playable for now. The enemy formations are not final yet.

Note that the game runs in BigPEmu, but it may crash (even if it doesn't crash on real hardware)"

First Impressions

I went into this thinking the hit detection would be way off as Phoboz mentioned it was an early early (yep double early) WIP demo, but clearly it wasn't too bad as you can see from the video below I was able to hit enemies and also take hit by them. In the past I've played finished games that had worse hit detection than this, so I was pleased that I could actually play the game for starters.

The sprites I feel are just the right size to match both the background and the on screen characters, with nice use of colours throughout on the level designs to the character themselves.

Normally repeated sound effects for swinging a weapon or hitting an enemy would annoy me but thankfully the background music overpowered them which set the scene for the epic adventure which (When the game is finished) awaited me.

I've only tested this for a little while, as I reached to what looked like a mid or end of level boss, at this point my two characters had fallen in battle or taken heavy damage to get here so if there is anything beyond this point I've yet to see it.

I'm looking forward to read about further developments and updates when they happen, I'll keep a close eye on the Atari Age forums and also Phoboz's YouTube channel - It is also great to see the community comparing this game to other games they loved plus also praising the work both Phoboz and Eternal-Krauser have done, providing them with feedback, ideas and suggestions.

There are other videos on Phoboz's YouTube channel that showcase previous and further developement of Hammer of the Gods plus other games which are being or have been worked on, go check them out here.


- Up to 3 layers of high colour parallax scrolling backgrounds

- Transparent shadows, lightening effects in CRY colour mode

- Large sprites

- Individual palette fades per game character

I used the emulator BigPEmu to showcase this game.