SPY HUNTER / Midway / PS2

This edition of Spy Hunter is not the one that was salvaged from the wreckage of the canceled The Rock movie, this is a prior release that acts as just a straight 3D remake of the original arcade game. This actually came out during a mini-wave of "3D-ifying" a lot of old arcade properties, most of which were total shit shoveled out as fast as possible on as tight a budget, but Spy Hunter actually turns out to be quite decent, sticking with the formula of solid driving and shooting action from the arcade original, paired up with some quite decent visuals and Goldeneye-style sub-mission objectives in each level.

You star as the most bumbling spy in the history of the world, who always seems to trip up his missions and end up getting chased by a small army of terrorists. Fortunately, you also have the most boss sports car ever, equipped with machine guns, missiles, oil slicks, turbo boosts and foggers. James Bond wishes he had this car. So they send you in for the meatheaded missions that are centered around blowing stuff up.

The driving action is arcade-style, very simple and forgiving in the handling. Suitable to both the Spy Hunter arcade legacy, and the fact that you're basically driving the greatest car ever made. Single-player sees you through a series of linear levels, as you thwart notorious international terrorist operation NOSTRA in their various schemes to ruin the world. Each level has a central objective, usually blowing something up, which is mandatory to clear the level. But each level also has a few optional sub-objectives. To unlock new levels, you not only have to clear the primary objective, but have cleared X number of secondary objectives from any of the previous levels. So like, to unlock Level 4, you not only have to properly complete Level 3's primary objective, but have 11 total sub-objectives from any of the previous missions done as well. Naturally, you can replay them as much as you like. Objectives and sub-objectives are all centered around driving really fast and shooting stuff, though - blowing up enemy supply trucks, shooting tracking units onto enemy trucks and boats, and finding hidden satellite uplinks in off-the-main-course paths are the usual ones in most every level.

There's a bit of confusion as to how to execute certain moves not covered by the tutorial - learning how to launch properly off ramps for distance is entirely a matter of trial-and-error, and the game really could more prominently explain that you need to equip missiles and then push L3 to lock and shoot them at targets that are way above you, for example. I personally ran into a glitch that kept me from getting more than a few levels into the game, as it refused to save any "collect all the satellite" sub-objectives when I completed them, and you hit a point around level 5 where you have to do at least 2 or 3 of those in previous levels to move on. I'm not counting the glitch against the game's score however, as I see no mention of it anywhere else, so who knows if its prevalent or not (happened in the Greatest Hits version for me, if that's worth anything.)

Otherwise this is quite a solid and fun little arcade-style driver/shooter, easily worth the $2 that used copies in good shape seem to be going for.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video