When you hear that a dictator backed by a huge army has invaded a small territory you may start to think, uh oh, they didn't take long to make a game out of that! Indeed, it does sound very similar to what a certain person did to a certain country not so long ago.
But before the accusations begin about cashing in, let me say that Hunter was formulated way before anything happened out in the Gulf. Hunter comes from the revamped Activision. This month sees them staging a comeback the likes of which would make even George Foreman think twice.
Just a matter of months ago it looked like Activision were to be a name of the past, another of the glory boys who couldn't quite hack it. Well just to prove everybody wrong, they've returned. With The Disk Company in France at the helm, Activision arc back in business and out to impress.
In Hunter, a small but strategically important group of islands has been invaded by an army of some considerable strength. Your commanders do not want to risk a full-scale military counter-attack just yet as the casualties would be unacceptably high.
So they decide that intelligence gathering, sabotage and small attacks are the way to weaken the enemy enough before attempting further escalation. This is where you come in. You are one of a new breed of soldier, trained in undercover work and all forms of combat. Chosen to undertake the missions deep in the heart of enemy territory, you find yourself working alone behind enemy lines where you have to keep your wits about you just to survive, let alone complete your mission and make it back home.
Before you start each mission you are given a briefing by your superiors in which they tell you what you have to do and how long you have to do it. This ranges from a couple of hours to a couple of days - not real time I might add. After that you'll have to pop off to the stores to fill up your kitbag and away you go.
One of the things which makes Hunter so damn addictive is that regardless of which mission you are on there are no restrictions, apart from time, over how you do it. You can use whatever transport or equipment you like. This sense of freedom allows exploration and experimentation over transport and equipment mixes.
For example a typical mission could go like this. Exit briefing and go to stores. Fill up kitbag and grab ammo, jump in the car and head to the church. Nick the vicar's bike and go to the boat. Sail over to the next island and jump in the helicopter.
Then fly over to enemy territory. Land and raid some enemy buildings. Wear an enemy uniform and start talking to enemy soldiers. Nick an enemy's car and run him over. Then find your mission objective, blow it up and still be home in time for tea and Neighbours.
Or it could be completely different - that's the beauty of Hunter, so long as it's within the time limit anything goes. There are heaps of different modes of transport but each has its own problems - just 17 controlling the helicopter when it's at maximum thrust! On completion of a mission you are awarded a bounty for your efforts - but if you don't like chocolate they'll give you money instead.
Hunter is very addictive with tons of missions, each requiring different skills and each like a game on its own. Try the last mission where you have to assassinate the enemy leader and bring back his head - great fun. You can do the job quickly and wander about the islands for a while sightseeing. Everything you do has a knock-on effect. If, for example, you blow a radar tower in one mission it won't be able to detect you on any later missions and any soldiers you take out stay dead.
The graphics are 16-colour solid 3D with the game viewed from an independent perspective, and the controls arc easy to master.
Hunter is an action adventure game set in a fully 3d polygon world, which looked superb in its day, but alas looks rather dated by todays standards.
Nevertheless there is an lot of enjoyment to be had in this game. You assume the identity of a soldier catapulted into dangerous enemy territory to undertake single missions or a long campaign. You get to drive almost any kind of transport from bicycles to windsurfers, jeeps to ambulances and tanks to helicoptors. This has always been one of my favourite Amiga games and one which totally lends itself to a 21st century makeover.
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