October 13, 2001
Spy Hunter - Review
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this title from America. Spy Hunter is an exciting game which puts you in the seat of one of the most advanced cars ever. As the Spy Hunter, you are relentlessly pursued by hordes of air, ground and water enemies as you battle to accomplish your missions and save the world from the mind of a madman. The game is a remake of the arcade classic from many years ago, but has had many improvements both in terms of gameplay and cosmetics. The Playstation 2 version of Spy Hunter boasts ultra-realistic 3D graphics, real-world locations and one very cool vehicle capable of morphing into a boat, jet ski or motorcycle. Throw in some explosive weaponry and impressive defensive mechanisms and you potentially have one of the most exciting games in recent years.
|Handling is a little too responsive.|
The storyline for the game, not that it really needs one, is pretty much your typical spy stuff. A small group of evil businessmen (calling themselves Nostra) want to control the world for the better of mankind by shutting off energy across the world via a set of satellites and some powerful EMP bursts. Your job is to stop them. You have been given a totally remade vehicle, the G-6155 Interceptor, a sleek yet muscled-up sports car that looks very much like a Ferrari or Lotus Esprit.
|You must try to avoid the innocent.|
The bulk of the 14 levels in Spy Hunter will see you chasing down the opposition and destroying them by any means necessary. However, each mission in the game can have several primary and secondary objectives which can not only include capturing or destroying the enemy but also avoiding civilians, tagging suspect vehicles, and escorting teams to safety. You definitely won't get bored with this game too quickly.
The game does include a couple of neat twists including the ability for your vehicle to morph from a car, to boat and even a jet ski. One minute you will be racing through the city, and the next, trying to avoid rocks in the water as the persuit continues. The Interceptor is equipped with machine guns and missiles, as well as more defensive items such as smoke screens and oil slicks and you'll need every last one of them in this moderatly tough game. As you progress more weapons become unlocked such as flame throwers, EMP blasts, and more powerful heat seeking missiles. As you race on the tracks the game also places a weapons van through the levels to help you along the way.
|The boats are ultra cool.|
Truth be told I wasn't too happy with the handling of the cars. It's far too easy to get into a spin and crash into the walls. Tighter controls would have been nice. If you do manage to turn a sharp corner the camera seems to take the wierdest of angles at times which is slightly offputting in the game. The targeting on the opponents can also be pretty tough with your car seemingly extremely week compared to theirs. I mean they can be hit by hundrets of bullets and still be going while yours manages to be destroyed with a handful of hits.
It seems like Midway release a game every week. On the PS2 already they have released 5 titles, with several more before Christmas. Unfortunately Midway haven't released a AAA title for many years, but they are improving after much restructuring. Games like Spy Hunter and NHL Hitz are definitely worth considering, and their NFL Blitz games are always fun.|
Spy Hunter is definitely a fast game. The car rockets along the road while swerving between innocent vehicles, motorbikes and cyclists on the roads. Indeed Midway have done an admirable job with the graphics. The game has very little slowdown and the texturing is quite neat. The only problem is that the second car you get in the game, which is much quicker then the original, doesn't seem to result in a faster game when travelling through the courses. Strange. Still as a Playstation 2 title it's probably around the middle of the pack graphically.
The music and sound effects in this game are possibly the biggest strength. The music is all familiar and up tempo with some wonderful renditions of Peter Gunn to set you in the mood. In fact if you don't like Peter Gunn you may want to steer clear as it's pretty much all you'll hear during the game, apart from the car noises and weapons of course. Speaking of the car engine it lets out a wonderful purring sound, you know, like a car that you really can't afford, and probably never will.
|Close racing is common in MX 2002.|
Some people may disagree with the scores that have been given to Spy Hunter, but in all honesty I didn't have as much fun as I should have with the game thanks mainly to the poor car handling. This is however, Midway returning to it's arcade roots, and it was a good decision. This is an exciting game with a pretty high difficulty and plenty of action and if ever there was a game that could do with a sequel (and some slight refining) it's this one. It's a cool game let down by some below-par development.
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