Hammer Away – A Rediscovered Sega Arcade Prototype

arcadehero November 5, 2014 4
Hammer Away –  A Rediscovered Sega Arcade Prototype

We’ve discussed prototypes here a number of times but for new ones that are uncovered, it is much easier to get a hold of information on unreleased games from Western companies. It isn’t all the time we hear about prototypes from Japanese-based companies, even big names like Sega.

UPDATE: Just putting updates towards the top. This was discussed on the Shmups Forum by user RM. There he discussed how the discovery went and how he got the game working:

To test it (the main board is completely destryed) i had to use another System 18 board, remove the encrypted processor and replace it with a regular M68000, after this you just plug in the ROM board and you are good to go. The ROM board is all EPROM’s, there are no Mask roms as usual.

Me and a couple friends (Atro and 1up from the neo geo forums) visited a warehouse[in Lisbon] that looked like an Arcade graveyard. Some of the boards have been exposed to rain, there was rats excrements all over the place, really nasty,lol.

The board was tested and was completely dead, and obvious we were unable to identify it, i even thought that it could be some kind of conversion made by Sega like Capcom south America used to do to their boards.

The user 1up decided to buy it for parts anyway (he is the owner) and gave it to me so i could try to bring it back to life somehow using one of my System 18 boards.

And this was the result


ORIGINAL STORY: So this news today is a pleasant surprise, in that an unreleased Sega arcade game has been discovered by “three people in Portugal”. Called Hammer Away, this would have been released in 1991 on the System 18 arcade board, which was host to popular titles like Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, Shadow Dancer, Alien Storm and Laser Ghost. It was developed by Santos and shown at AM1991 but disappeared after that. Here is a video of the game in action:

My first thought with the tanks rolling on the screen like they do was that it was going to be Tac-Scan with tanks but then the helicopter appeared and that thought changed to being Sega’s response to Twin Hawk. Then again, 1991 was still a time when such games were a big thing in arcades so it may not have been a specific response to any one game. Graphically it reminds me of Raiden – overall it looks like fun although its hard to say whether it would have done enough to truly stand out at the time, which might be why it was canned. Great music though.

The game will soon be playable on MAME but how many boards might be out there are probably down to just a handful. What are your thoughts on this discovery?

[Via SEGAbits]



  1. 60Hz November 6, 2014 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Looks like this could have been inspiration for under-defeat???

  2. Arcades4ever November 9, 2014 at 4:18 am - Reply

    Looks interesting. My first impression was something like an after burner and then after seeing the game start up I thought you were going to control not just the chopper but the tanks also. It looks like a decent arcade game, wonder why it never got released?
    Unless it was because there was too many arcade releases at the time similar to this game.
    Is the game complete or was there some things missing in the prototype?

  3. Mark A November 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    “1991 was still a time when such games were a big thing in arcades so it may not have been a specific response to any one game”…..Yeah, that’s the number one reason why I miss 1991.

  4. cb November 13, 2014 at 8:32 am - Reply

    That reminds me strikingly of Tiger-Heli, actually.

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