Review By: Christopher
remake of an old classic. I have a saying that I like:
"eventually, everything will have a sequel", or in
some cases a remake. Let's face it, the philosophers are right,
all stories have been told. The human race ran out of original
ideas back in the days of ancient Greece. If you accept that,
you might not cringe as much each time you find out that someone
wants to 're-interpret' an old movie, or song, or in this case
said, I actually didn't cringe when I found out that they were
remaking SpyHunter. Let's face it, the idea is cool.
International spys, espionage, conspiracies, and a weapons
loaded kick-ass supercar -- THAT'S cool. Of course, even the
idea for the original arcade game (1983 by the way, don't I feel
old) came from the old James Bond flicks. I guess back then, the
boys at Midway thought they could do it better without 007. This
time around, they went so far as to go head to head with Mr.
Bond when producing this new spy-racing game. It seems they won
the race, since the proposed '007 Racing' has recently been
the deal? Well, what you didn't know back in the 80's was that
the 'bad guy' you were fighting was an evil corporation named
Nostra. It seems that the mastermind behind that company, Daemon
Curry, has had a lifetime obsession with the prophecies of
Nostradamus (Nostra, get it?). Daemon's ultimate goal is to
launch four satellites into orbit which, when positioned, will
send an EM-pulse throughout the entire world, sending mankind
back into the dark ages. Fulfilling Nostradamus' prophecy:
will fall from the sky, rivers will turn red with blood, and a
war unlike any the world has seen will unleash the four horsemen
problem right? So, in order to combat this growing evil, IES
(International Espionage Services) created the SpyHunter team.
The team's main weapon is the G-6155 Interceptor (the car), with
it's onboard computer "Leonie", and super-spy driver
Alec Sects (a former F-15 fighter pilot). How do I know all this
backstory? It's in the instruction Manual, NOT in the game.
seriously, "Leonie"? That's the best name they could
come up with for the onboard cojmputer? At least "Kitt"
was a cool name; does this onboard computer have a cheesy
Italian accent like Mario and Luigi? We might never know. Again,
it's not in the game. It does seem, from the limited
"story-based" cut-scenes that are included as 'unlockables'
in the game, that there WAS actually some thought put into the
story and plot. The trouble is, the developers decided not to
bother actually telling the story to the players apart from what
is in the manual. The "after mission" animations are
cool, if somewhat short. But there are only two purposeful
"story-based" cut-scenes that give the players a brief
glimpse at what may have been an interested international
terrorist plot (unfortunate timing aside). The story itself is
never expanded upon, nor does it have a real conclusion. The
title of the game is SPY-hunter afterall, where are the spies?
Where is the espionage, apart from the player completing mission
objectives, that are only explained in point form?
There is one
'early test animation' that can be unlocked, that shows what
appears to be a further expanded intro scene. However, it also
appears that the developers originally planed to create a "Spyhunter"
character (Alec Sects apparently). I'm glad they scraped the
plan. I, for one, am extremely happy they decided to keep the
'driver' a mystery. This game is, of course, about the vehicle.
That sleek machine the G-155 Interceptor. The man behind the
wheel is inconsequential. That being said, I would have liked to
have known more about Nostra, and the agency that owns and
builds the Interceptor (IES).
the plot and the history lessons, what is the gameplay like?
After all, a game SHOULD be about the gameplay. I know I
sometimes rant about the lack of a coherent script, or character
development in games, but don't get me wrong, I'm all about the
gameplay. And this game definitely has it. The original
SpyHunter was a classic for good reason, and this game surpasses
it. The new SpyHunter does everything the old one did, but way
better. It is, of course, unfair to compare the computing power
of a 1983 arcade machine to the Playstation 2. But on top of the
great graphics, awesome sound, and 3D environments, this game is
slick, and cool, and fun. The controls are perfect. There is a
LOT going on in some of the missions, and the player has a whole
lot of choices in weaponry (offensive and defensive). This fact
alone could ruin the game: too many choices, too many buttons to
think about. But that's not the case. Everything feels right. To
target, click L3, the same button your thumb is already using to
steer. Toggle weapons with L2 or R2, and shoot with L1 or R2
(defensive on left, offensive on right). There are primary and
secondary weapons, scanning and EMP devices, but each new 'toy'
is accessible right where you would want it to be. The control
here is the real gem; it frees the player, and allows the game
The car is
amazing. Morphing, in-game, from the Interceptor car, to
speedboat, to motorcycle on the fly. Wait until you see the
'Matrix' style, bullet-time, cam-spinning morph in the first
level (I actually called people into the room to watch it
again). In total, there are 14 levels, and the diversity and
innovation make them all fun to play. I especially loved one
level where Nostra had planned a terrorist act, to bomb a city,
during an F1 race. In order to disarm the bomb, the Interceptor
has to break onto the track and race WITH the other racers,
complete with commentary by the race announcer. Those types of
details make all the difference.
the music is great. There are a couple of variations of the
original Spy Hunter theme ("Theme from Peter Gunn"),
which change depending on the mission or intensity. The sound
effects are spot on, but maybe could have been a little more
flashy (I like a lot of loud explosions, and screeching brakes).
Graphically, the game is above average. Better than most of the
current racing titles (which is a testament to the developers,
because this isn't strictly a racing game), but not quite up to
the Grand Turismo 3 level. There are a lot of great uses of the
PS2 processing power, such as particle effects (leaves, bits and
pieces of wreckage, etc.), and impressive reflective surfaces.
As for reply
value, there is surprisingly a lot. There are a number of
'cheats' to unlock, including supercar-mode (invincible, full
weapons, and a slick metallic-silver outer shell.) Completing
certain missions within a predetermined time limit will also
unlock test animations, storyboards, and concept art. PLUS, the
disc has a couple of music videos by the band that re-made the
SpyHunter theme, rock band: Saliva. In addition, completing all
the objectives in each level opens that level for two-player
mode. The two-player mode has three 'sub-modes': Head to Head,
Globe Trotter, and Chicken Hunter. The last mode has each player
attempting to eliminate as many chickens (yes, I said chickens)
as possible before either player reaches the finish line. The
races, and missions for that matter, do tend to be on the short
side. But it's SO much fun driving around shooting things (and
running over chickens) that the gameplay makes up for any of the
weapons and "feel"
remake of an old classic
mode has no 'original' areas, and the others are too short
to be an International super-spy. There are not many guys (or
girls I would imagine) out there who haven't dreamt about being
James Bond. And, most video gamers simply want access to all those
cool 'toys'. Like it's predecessor, this game IS basically just
driving around, shooting, and blowing up things. Yet, there is a
real sense of international espionage. That being said, it's ONLY
because of the 'toys' that the game holds water. It's good despite
a lack of imaginative cut-scenes, or any kind of in-game story or
plot. If you're looking for hardcore espionage, try MGS2 or maybe
the new James Bond title (which HAS a car racing element built in
as well). If you want a slick racing game, with a load of weapons
and destruction thrown in, buy SpyHunter.