In the year 2030, medical technology develops to a point where missing limbs can be replaced with "cybernetic" devices that replicate human movement and form with great precision. Working on a top secret military project, a large group of scientists create military uses for these new cybernetic limbs. Within that group of scientists, a handful of subversives unite. With world domination as their goal, these subversives collaborate covertly to create an army of cyborg soldiers. General Gus Grover emerges as the leader of the group, and, after plans are carefully made and an awesome assembly of cyborgs stands at the ready, the group begins open revolt. They become known as the Metal Command.
To combat the revolutionary movement, the Law and Order Regulatory Division is formed (L.O.R.D.). They put another group of scientists together to come up with something to combat the cyborgs of the Metal Command. What comes of this group's research and development is a very special pair of hands.
These cybernetic attachments give their recipient the strength of a piledriver. They are capable of shattering metal on impact. There's only one problem. Without a willing recipient, these powerful hands cannot be used against the Metal Command.
Meanwhile, in the Bronx, a young and highly decorated police officer named Steve Hermann chases after one of the Metal Command's cyborgs. The cyborg slows down, allowing Hermann to catch up. Hermann is puzzled by the apparent cooperation of the cyborg, until he hears the crunch of metal on concrete behind him. He turns just in time to see a huge cyborg close in. Hermann becomes a human sandwich between the two mighty cyborgs. They pull apart to determine if Hermann is still alive, and despite crushed hands and ribs, Hermann manages to run to freedom.
Several days later, after both of his completely crushed and mutilated hands have been amputated, a L.O.R.D. official approaches Hermann's hospital bed with a package under his arm. He identifies himself and opens the package. He picks up the contents and displays them to Hermann: a pair of cybernetic hands - the strongest hands in the world.
Now more motivated against the Metal Command than ever, Steve Hermann accepts the cybernetic hands and the responsibility that goes with them. The cybernetic hands are attached, and Hermann spends the next two months recovering from his injuries. When he emerges from the hospital, he will be known only as "Shatterhand" to protect his true identity. His mission: crush the rebellion with his bare hands.
--From the NES Shatter Hand instruction manual.