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Point of View Inc.
Midway
Action
1-2
03.15.02

Spy Hunter


Back in 1983, arcades would be jam-packed with kids who wanted to play the shoot 'em up racing game Spy Hunter. During this time, game companies released games that were aimed at specific audiences to become popular and eventually (and hopefully) become classics. Spy Hunter was one of these games. And as we all know, Spy Hunter sports the most popular theme song in history, Theme from Peter Gunn. And if you didn't know the title of that song before hand, most people would just refer to it as the "Spy Hunter theme".

Graphics

The graphics in Spy Hunter look about as good as can be expected from a PS2 port. Low detailed textures are saved by nice reflections and particle effects, but are far from what Xbox is capable of. The level design on the other hand is really good, with lots of hidden short cuts to explore. As we all should know, the new version of Spy Hunter was originally released for Playstation 2 and was ported to the Xbox. Most thought that porting it to the Xbox would enhance the sound and visual quality, but unfortunately it doesn't. The graphics remain the same wither in the Xbox, Playstation 2 or Gamecube version, so don't think you will get better quality in one system over the other. The impressive aspect of the graphics is that it takes the classic 1983 offensive and defensive weapons and puts them in a 3D environment, creating a whole new world for the Spy Hunter legacy. Skid marks can now be seen when the car slides and even sparks will fly off of your car when it gets shot with bullets and other various weapons. And for those who remember the G-6155 Interceptor (the car) from the original game, the 3D enhanced version of the car in this game is really sweet.

Sound

Spy Hunter supports Dolby Surround 5.1, unlike its Playstation 2 predecessor. The sound in the game is excellent, but unfortunately is too low at some times. The sound effects for the machine guns and missiles and the oil slick and smoke screen are nice, but in general, in-game sound is sort of low and uninteresting. Still, this is the game you want to play with the volume up, mainly because of the completely redone musical score. The musical theme "Theme from Peter Gunn" was completely redone by the leading hard rock group Saliva. Other additions were added to the soundtrack, like pop, techno and some classical tracks. The music is excellent and the cutscene sound is amazing.

Gameplay

The game's plot is simple. Daemon Curry, President of Nostra International, is planning an evil plot to take over the world with 4 strategic satellites in space. His mission: to use electromagnetic waves from these satellites to knock out all useful power in the world, leaving him as the next world leader. You play Alec Sects, a former F-15 fighter pilot recently FBI trained. You work for the IES (International Espionage Services) in order to rid of evildoers. Hopping into your G-6155 Interceptor has never been this easy. Spy Hunter has to have some of the easiest gameplay around. The controls are simple, just accelerate and brake, fire weapons with the triggers and select defensive weapons with the black and white buttons. At top speed, the levels seem to fly by, making it extremely intense because most people like high paced fun. One disadvantage to that high-paced fun is that it is the type of game where there is only one direction. During your missions you have to complete certain tasks, such as collecting comm sats, tagging boats or destroying specific targets. Due to the high speed, if you miss a target, you'd have to stop and turn around, although the game really isn't designed for you to turn around, but you still can. Stopping and turning around defeats the purpose of the game, but it can be done. One disappointment I noticed was the accomplishment of missions. Unlike the original you don't just zoom down a highway killing enemies and collecting a high score. They actually give you objectives for every mission that you MUST complete; otherwise you won't unlock the next level. And the downside to that is, if you don't complete enough single player missions you can't unlock any of the 2 player levels in the multiplayer option. Another disappointment is on the cover of the game it mentions that the Full version of the Original Spy Hunter is on the disc. I was psyched to just put the disc in and play that, but to my avail, a disappointment. Nowhere in the manual does it tell you how to play it so I came to a simple conclusion: You have to beat the game to unlock the original Spy Hunter arcade game (sniff).

Bottom Line:

Even though it was just a port from the Playstation 2 version, Spy Hunter is still a good game. The game is the same graphically whether you play it on either system; the only difference is the controls per different controller. The replayability of this game takes a big hit. The game is pretty short, and once you beat it the chances of you popping this in your Xbox to play with your friends instead of games like Halo is pretty low. In general though, this game is worth at least a rental, and the hardcore Spy Hunter fans might want to buy it. If you were around in 1983 and played the original in the arcade, or if you played the original for the NES, Spy Hunter for Xbox is worth a shot. In my honest opinion, this game will most likely be a keeper for the Spy Hunter fan at heart.

-Brian Dappolone




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