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Spy Hunter: The Return
Preview By: Siou Choy
Developer:  Midway
Publisher:  Midway
Genre:  Racing
# of Players:  2
Est. Release:  9-25-01
Posted:  7-31-01

It's become somewhat of a given in the entertainment industry: when the well runs dry of ideas, (in the immortal words of Douglas Adams), "don't panic!".  This is hardly the time to get flexing those well atrophied creative muscles - just relax, kids, because it's time to recycle.  It seems that as soon as developers lose the creative impetus, they indubitably choose to play it safe, by taking a popular favorite and giving it a generally unwarranted "update" in a crass attempt to peddle the same old crap one more time.  The only difference?  Well, this time, it's formatted for the system du jour.

Well, get ready for another one, people.  Yes, folks, yet another moldy oldie is getting the cobwebs dusted off of it, and being given a new
paint job to take in the rubes: Midway's Spy Hunter will be making it's return later this year, this round for the Playstation 2.  Spy Hunter:
The Return
will be an updated version of the original Spy Hunter, in full 3D, and running at 60fps.

The wisdom of this decision remains debatable, as doubtless any fans of the first game know all too well; namely, the original Spy Hunter, to be
generous, was somewhat lacking in plot...and in keeping to form, there isn't much of one in The Return either.  To quote from the manual, your
mission on the original was to:

Pilot your vehicle through the track.  Seek and destroy enemy agents who will use every means to wipe you out.  You must avoid the road hazards and protect the friendly pedestrian vehicles.  There's terror at every turn -  tire slashers, torpedoes, bomb dropping helicopters - standing in your way of the most diabolical collection of enemy agents ever to hit a video screen.  You have your skills and reflexes along with smoke screens, oil slicks, and heat seeking missiles to outmaneuver your opponents.  One mistake and it's all over.  So strap yourself in; no need to check your ammo.  You've got more than enough; and take the challenge. Be: Spy Hunter.

OK, admit it: if you ignore the usual smelly load of hyperbole, media hucksterism, and PR B.S., it becomes pretty obvious that there's not a
hell of a lot to Spy Hunter, and never was.  Nonetheless, for those of us who grew up popping quarters into sticky, clunky machines in the dingy arcades of our youth, the fact remains that the game was a lot of fun.

Once again you are behind the wheel of the G-6155 Interceptor.  As every true Spy Hunter aficionado would know already, after you take on a certain amount of damage, it will transform into a smaller vehicle, cleverly named (by popular consensus among dental hygenists everywhere) as a "Secondary Extraction Vehicle".  Said vehicle is able to accelerate faster and has the benefit of sharper controls (in other words, it's a motorcycle, or jet ski, depending on whether you're on land or at sea at the moment).  The advantage to this, of course, is that it makes you a smaller target, and thus a bit more difficult for NOSTRA's cars to hit. Of course, your main goal is still to arrive at the rendezvous point within a given time, but this time, there will also be a task or two to be accomplished during the level.  Well, come on, you didn't think they'd be able to sell a game this simplistic nowadays otherwise, did you? There will be 14 levels with at least 65 objectives to be completed in the game.  On the other hand, their idea of sprucing up the game is to give you some profound and deeply deliberated missions such as stealing NOSTRA's plans for a vehicle similar to your own G-6155 Interceptor. (WOW, heavy, man.)

As in the original, the enemy cars will be black or blue, and you have to keep your eyes peeled for those damn red 18 wheelers, which provide extra weapons for your car when you pull up into them.  These weapons include oil slicks, smoke screens and various artillery.  Hunting the enemy will be easier this time around with the aid of a lock-on feature.  You will also be able to tell how fast you are going thanks to some newly added displays which will also inform you of the status of your ammunition, time remaining and the amount of damage your car has sustained.

Each level will contain photo-realistic backgrounds and include locations such as Venice, England, Germany, France, Panama, Key West,  and the Middle East desert.  The levels will be linear with the usual twists, turns, and branching roads that the were found in the original Spy Hunter.

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