HUNTER HUNTED / Sierra / PC

During their time at the top of the PC gaming heap in the '90s, Sierra published a lot of quirky, lower-profile games that have sort of disappeared into the mists of obscurity; many of them coming through their prolific subsidiary Dynamix. Hunter Hunted is one such, an action-platformer that I guess is most comparable to games like Blackthorne and Flashback, just without the same level of detail, and taking place in smaller self-contained levels.

You're in a crapsack world in the future where evil alien marauders have conquered much of the galaxy, including Erf. One of the player characters is a dude named Jake, a sort of gladiator that is trained to compete in combat arenas for the amusement of the alien overlords. The other is Garath Den, a similarly enslaved gladiator, except he's a minotaur from some minotaur planet. In single-player mode, you alternate between Jake and Garath as they clear levels and try to escape. In multi-player, however, the two hunt each other down in a series of arena levels.

Let's just get this out of the way first - Hunter Hunted absolutely screams MID 1990S WINDOZE 95. The aesthetics of the game have aged about as poorly as a game can age. The characters animations are pixelly and choppy low-frame-count "motion capture", the backgrounds are nothing but drab bitmaps, the sound effects consist of linking a WAV file to an action so that it plays over and over and over (Jake's constant UNF UNF UNF as he climbs anything being the worst offender) and you'll grow tired of the smug sub-Mortal Kombat voiceover guy's constant "PLAYER HINT" within about two minutes of play. The game actually looks so bad and jaggy it starts to give me a headache if I play too long, no exaggeration.

The concept, however, is actually pretty good, and the game WOULD be an enjoyable obscurity if the control wasn't just a little too loose and floaty, and the levels not designed particularly well to compensate for the handling. Single player mode subjects you to too many boring "training levels" before you get turned loose on the game proper. Multiplayer is a little more interesting; generally speaking, Garath takes on the role of Hunter and Jake is the Hunted at the start of each, as Garath starts with better jumping and much more powerful attacks. Jake can find more powerful weapons scattered through each level, however, such as grenades and rockets. Once kitted out fully with the hard artillery, the tables are turned, as Garath's ranged attacks are crap compared to Jake's. Unfortunately, it seems to be hotseat only with joystick-keyboard or two joysticks (the game needs a special installer linked below for modern Windows systems, but once in, it actually picks up and configures an Xbox 360 pad with no problems whatsoever.)

Links :

* Installer for Win 7/XP/Vista

Videos :

* Gameplay Video

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