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Fans of the arcade game won't be disappointed with this version. The graphics and sound are on a par to the original, including the great atmospheric tune. But the most outstanding thing about this conversion is that the 'feel' of the game has been reproduced perfectly - something usually lost on translation from arcade to computer. My only quibble is that to really enjoy the game, two joysticks are required. Don't let that stand in the way though - get out and buy another one! Compelling stuff, reinforcing US Gold's hold on the British software market.
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This superb arcade blast-em, bump-em, crash-em, all action shoot-em-up, explodes onto your screens with this ace no-holds-barred conversion. This clone has every feature of its arcade counterpart and also plays just as well. Smooth scrolling, fast graphics and that great tune give frenetic gameplay. This is a must for any shoot-em-up addict's collection.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Spy Hunter
1983 Bally Midway/Sega
Programmed by ?
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (May 1985).
 

SPY HUNTER
US Gold/Sega, £9.95 cass, £12.95 disk, 2 joysticks or keys


O Superb arcade feel as you smash cars off the road
O Smoke screens, oil slicks, missiles, vicious enemies

Budding James Bonds can now live out their fantasies in this exciting new American release. The bits with women are out, Iím afraid. But the thrill of being chased across land and water by evil baddies in their sleek, deadly craft, while blasting and bumping anyone and anything that gets between you and a high score, is most definitely in.

All this action takes place on a vertically-scrolling plan view of the landscape. A weapons van pulls up on the side of the road, allowing your spy car to roll out onto the road, armed at first only with machine guns . . . and youíre off!

A counter reading 999 ticks away at the bottom of the screen, and during this time you have an unlimited supply of cars. Once the timer runs out though, you only have one extra life. Others have to be earned. Extra cars are awarded, every 10,000 or 20,000 points, depending on which level you select before play (novice or expert).

Points can be earned by either shooting, or bumping, enemy agents off the road or just by staying alive. Some enemies can only be bounced off the road to earn points, others both shot and bumped (See panel). As well as enemy vehicles, there are a few of your own side that shouldnít be shot or bashed -- it temporarily halts your amassing of points and besides, itís bad form.

As you race along the continually changing terrain, you will meet forks in the road, cross bridges, and hit a stretch of icy road, making your car harder to control. All this must be dealt with whilst the enemy tries its best to dispose of you.

Fortunately, you have luck (well, more like other agents) on you side, in the form of other, more sophisticated weapons. Along the way you pass weapons vans on the side of the road, marked on top with a symbol representing the type of weapon they carry. Once youíre past, they give chase, dropping ramps for your spy car to drive up.

If you can make it inside, the van you will pull over, stopping to equip you with an extra weapon. This is where the second joystick comes in, as it is used to fire your additional hardware (see dossier).

At some point in the course, you will come to a waterway, preceded by a Ďbridge outí warning. If you are foolish enough to ignore this, you will find yourself in deep water -- literally.

However on entering the boathouse at the waterís edge, your car is instantly transformed into a high powered amphibious vehicle. Your problems donít ease up though, as the river also contains enemy boats. Itís possible to return to the road by way of another boat house.

Here you've just been deposited by the
weapons van (right)

Control of the car is via joystick or keyboard, the former being the preferable as the keys are awkward and misplaced, unless you have three hands.

The sound effects are good and very appropriate, as is the music played during the game. Graphically the game is by no means outstanding, but the graphics are an effective reproduction of those in the arcade version.

GP
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++TOP SECRET ++ OFFICIAL DOCUMENT++

From: Mission control
To: Prospective spy hunter

As one of our top agents, you will need to be familiar with all forms of enemy agent encountered during your mission and the weapons at your disposal. The following is for your eyes only. Once the information has been digested, digest the information. This piece of paper must be torn up and eaten.


THE ENEMY: On Land.

The Road Lord.
Makes a more frequent appearance later in the game. Doesn't represent any real threat. Is bulletproof, and therefore can only be rammed off the road to score. Value . . . 150 points

Switch Blade.
Highly dangerous adversary. Has extendable buzz-saw hubcaps to slash cars - especially yours. Beware of being sandwiched by two or more 'Blades'. Value . . . 150 points

The Enforcer.
Makes very brief appearances - but when he does, it proves nasty. Fires a shotgun and misses rarely. Value . . . 500 points

The Copter (Mad Bomber).
Drops bombs onto spy car. Extremely aggressive and can ONLY be killed with the missiles supplied by the weapons van. Value . . . 700 points

THE ENEMY: On Water.

Barrel Dumper.
Drops barrels in water ahead of spy boat. Shoot or ram to kill, and watch out for the barrels. Value . . . 150 points

Doctor Torpedo.
This vicious character delights in firing torpedoes at you. Attempt to avoid the oncoming torpedoes, and the doctor himself. Get behind him, and give 'im a taste of his own medicine. Value . . . 500 points

YOUR WEAPONS

Machine gun.
You are armed with this from the start - but it is effective only against cars or boats ahead of you.

Oil stick.
Makes an enemy behind you skid off the road.

Smoke screen.
Blinds an enemy to the rear, forcing it off the road.

Missiles.
Essential for destroying the helicopters.

DO NOT shoot or ram motorbikes, small blue cars or the weapons van as these are on your side!

Good luck on your mission.
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What a fantastic conversion this is -- it has all the action of its arcade daddy and even the tremendous music. The car crashing, tyre blasting, boat bumping excitement has the same feel as the real thing and equal

addictiveness. The different sections of track and terrain add to the game as do the variety of diabolical weapons you can pick up. The only slight disappointment is that you lose the music sometimes when you die and this detracts from the atmosphere.

 

 
PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
61% No high score feature or
2-player option.
67%
New features plus elements of other games.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
66% Simple scenery, small cars, but smooth movement.
91%
Grabs you immediately -- great playability.
SOUND
LASTABILITY
73% Great atmospheric tune, simple effects.
87%
Helicopters, ice, and lethal foes on higher levels.
VALUE FOR MONEY
87% Another truly addictive title from the US.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (25 March 2001)

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