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SpyHunter Package Art
†GENRE
††Racing-Action
†DEVELOPER
††Paradigm
†PUBLISHER
††Midway
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-2
†CONNECTIVITY
††no
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SpyHunter

Everything that is old is new again in this day and age. Classic arcade games such as SpyHunter are getting a long awaited revival with a complimentary facelift; however, some games were better left as nostalgic memories rather than being brought back into the limelight. Fortunately for us, SpyHunter made a successful and solid leap into our gaming consoles, but it didnít do so flawlesslyÖ

visuals

The worst part about SpyHunter by far is the visuals. To start off with, the base graphics and character models were average at best on the PS2. Due to some sloppy porting, and lack of effort on the developerís part in fixing any outstanding problems or attempting to improve on anything, the end result is worse than the Playstation 2 version.

The Good

  • Water effects are really nice.
  • The menu has a really slick interface and it is easy to navigate.
  • Both of the interceptor car models are well done. The windows reflect the environment and the transformations animate nicely, although sometimes it seems a tad slow.
  • From a distance, everything looks good. Not great, but good.

The Bad

  • All of the textures in this game (environment, humans, enemy vehicles, particle effects) have a low resolution (the closer you are to them the more pixelated it looks) and generally arenít very impressive to begin with.
  • Human enemies do not animate whatsoever.
  • The cut scenes suffer from horrible distortion, graininess, and darkness. All of these things are most likely the result of bad/sloppy compression techniques.

audio

To be blunt, thereís a lot left to be desired. There are only two songs in SpyHunter and they are both remixes of the original theme song. However, the only time you hear the songs are in the mission select menus and during the cut scenes. The final stage contains the second song, and itís exclusive to that level. Quantity is the only problem here because both songs are well composed and catchy.

SpyHunter has a full range of weapon sound effects, vehicle noises, and computer-aided messages that are well done and adequately fit their purpose in this game.

gameplay

There are 14 levels of progressively challenging gameplay, and approximately 60 objectives in total to accomplish. Each mission contains one mandatory objective that must be completed to complete the level, and anywhere in the range of two to five sub-objectives. Some of the more typical objectives are things like collecting sat-coms, destroying communication towers, and disarming bombs. Each level also has a time limit assigned to it that must be met, or the mission automatically ends. In the earlier stages they usually give you a fairly generous time limit, but later levels they really put you to the test.

To progress through this game you need not only finish each level by completing the primary objective, but you also need to complete a set amount of objectives to unlock each subsequent level. Obviously, the further you progress in the game the more objectives you will need to have completed, but in the later stages the limit bar becomes raised so high that it forces you to go back to the earlier stages and complete the objectives that you missed.

The controls in SpyHunter are very easy and make good use of the GameCube controller. But most importantly, the control of the vehicle is nice and tight which is essential when youíre constantly racing against the clock through winding and hazardous terrain. However, if you happen to miss a pathway or objective and you need to turn around you will almost always have a very difficult time doing so. The reason for this is because you simply canít turn very sharply in this game and the very narrow corridors that appear very often in this game do not help matters either.

The vehicle you drive around, the G-1655 Interceptor, is a highly advanced piece of machinery that can transform into two other forms (Boat & Motorcycle) and has a plethora of different weapons in its arsenal for both offensive and defensive attacks. After each successfully completed mission you will receive an upgrade to your vehicle (usually weaponry) for the following missions. By the time you finish the game you will have earned weapons such as triple heat-seeking rockets, a rail gun, a flamethrower, oil slicks, smoke screens, and upgrades like extra ammunition for your rockets, better machine guns, and extra turbo boosts.

There is one really bad glitch that occurs in SpyHunter quite frequently, which is a camera glitch due to bad collision detection. The place where it happens most frequently is when you are driving down a very narrow corridor and you accidentally hit the wall. The result is the camera (and your vehicle as well) goes haywire and begins to swirl around for a few seconds uncontrollably. This also happens on occasion out in the open if you hit an unmovable object at a funny angle.

And finally, thereís one other thing that I encountered in this game that I really disliked and I believe is another sign of laziness by the developer. Throughout the game you will encounter many roadblocks set up by the enemy made out of their vehicles and humans. When you approach one of these roadblocks they will attack you; but as soon as you make it past, they will just sit there motionless and not even bother to attack you. The very least they could do is turn and attack, and even better the vehicles could begin to pursue you, but neither of these things occurs.

multiplayer

It is quite obvious that Paradigm Entertainment didnít put much effort into the multiplayer part of this game, especially in the GameCube port, because they didnít even bother to try to make it 4-player ready. Instead what we get are some lame 2-player modes directly from the Playstation 2 version that look like they were put together in about 5 minutes or less.

  1. Two different versions of "collect more than your opponent." which includes kill more chickens or collect more satcoms before reaching the finish line.
  2. Race head to head through stages of the game that you must unlock first by completing ALL of the objectives in that particular stage.

overall

This game is very playable, progressively challenging, and most importantly: fun. Less than spectacular visuals can take away part of the experience a game can offer, but solid gameplay will always shine through and SpyHunter is a perfect example of this.

However, when you consider how long it took to port this game over from the Playstation 2, consider the technology difference between the two consoles, and you look at the quality of the Xbox port and the fact that it has extras included (like the original arcade game!), you can't help but to feel disappointed. This is a great game in its own rights, but GameCube owners definitely got the shaft.

final score 6.7/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Jeff Pearson
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"I've given all I can, but it's never enough."


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