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The return of an arcade classic

By James Stevenson     October 17, 2001

© Paradigm Software Development

If I had my choice, I'd go back to the days of ASTEROIDS, TEMPEST and PAC-MAN any day of the week. These games were the beginning of a long evolution that led to the videogames we know today. Among these games is SPY HUNTER, a classic by all rights. Now, Midway has given the old game a complete facelift and brought the series to the next generation. The results couldn't be better.

In the original SPY HUNTER, you drove from a top down perspective and blew up enemy cars on the road. The same basic principle holds true for the PS2 version of SPY HUNTER, except it's in full 3D and gameplay has been deepened by the addition of mission objectives.

The game features 14 levels with different objectives such as protect, escape, or destroy. As you complete the levels multiple times and finish objectives, you open new levels for both the multiplayer and single-player modes. Unfortunately, these levels speed by very quickly and you'll suddenly find yourself at the end of the game wishing for more.

Regardless of the length, the game is a blast to play. Midway has perfectly translated SPY HUNTER into the 3D world and everything feels just right. The gameplay is different but at the same time similar to the classic gameplay of the original. The incredible nostalgia that came over me while playing the game was awesome.

Midway has put a ton of over-the-top scenarios in the game (in true arcade fashion). It's really a lot of fun just to play through the levels and see what's going to happen next. It's like a giant James Bond chase scene.

The multiplayer mode is a big disappointment. It's mostly racing and mindless item collecting. It really hurts the game's lasting appeal.

The game looks exactly like it should. All the cars have come from their 2D roots into 3D perfectly. The surroundings look pretty good too. This isn't the best looking game on the PS2, but it's not too shabby. The worst part is some slowdown that occurs occasionally, but it's minor.

The game sounds perfect. The original theme has been included and the band Saliva provides some great lyrics and music. As a whole, the sound is pretty good.

SPY HUNTER is a fun game for anyone, but for fans of the original this is a must-own. It is rather short, so if you're on a limited budget, rent first.


Grade: A

Platform: Playstation 2

USBR Rating: Teen

Genre: Action

Players: 1-2

Save: Yes

Developer: Paradigm

Publisher: Midway

Suggested Retail Price: $39.99




Graphics: A-

Sound: A

Gameplay: A

Replay: B-

Fun Factor: A

Reviewer's Wild Card: A+

Overall Grade: A


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