Stillhunt is a Korean-made fast-paced side-scrolling shooter similar to Gunstar Heroes. The player can choose between the male (Jean) and female (Houn) protagonists, who defend their homeland against an onslaught of mechanized creatures. Both characters can shoot in eight directions and begin with two weapons, a machine gun and a shotgun. Throughout the game they gain access to special weapons which can be obtained by shooting robots that carry them. Jean can use a laser gun, homing laser balls, and the powerful Exploder; Houn is able to wield a flamethrower, a napalm thrower, and homing grenades. A few stages differ depending on the character chosen by the player. Stages typically culminate with boss battles.
During the 90's, South Korea was home to many PC games that elsewhere would have appeared on consoles. Such a case is Still Hunt, a classical run 'n gun very much inspired by Treasure's Mega Drive games, most of all Gunstar Heroes.
At the beginning, you get to choose between a male and a female hero, but there's no two player mode that allows to play both of them cooperatively. Your standard weapons are a machine gun and a (useless) shotgun, but each of the characters has a range of special weapons that can be picked up by shooting their carrier robots. The guy, Jean, can use a laser gun, "Homing Laser Balls" and the devastating Exploder, while Houn gets a flame thrower (stolen directly from Gunstar Heroes), a napalm thrower and homing grenades.
For each weapon type, experience points are tracked, and they can be upgraded several times for more damage, range, and/or shot frequency, depending on the weapon. At later stages a third character can be unlocked, who fights with his weapons fully upgraded.
The game's big weak point is the level design, especially during the first half of the game. Most of the time you just run from left to right while shooting everything that comes in your way, without any particular challenges. The second stage (which differs for the two characters, as they take a different route at that point) consists of a sequence of auto-scrolling levels, some of which seem to go on forever and feel really mind-numbing. After that it gets gradually better, especially when the game gives more opportunities to use the character's abilities to slide over the floor and hold onto ledges to climb. Still, it never reaches the genius of its great role model by Treasure, and less patient players will probably dismiss the game in the early stages, especially since there's no save function and you have to go through them every time.
It's more good news in the graphics department. Still Hunt doesn't have to hide behind the best-looking 16-bit console games when it comes to sprite work and effects. The partly pre-rendered and down-sampled backgrounds disturb the good impression a bit, but they're not too bad, either. Only when a lot of explosions fill the screen does the game tends to slow down, which can't even be countered with a fast computer, as the system speed has to be regulated to make the game run slowly enough to be playable. The music will put a tear in the eyes of any Mega Drive lover. The rocking tunes perfectly capture the spirit of a classical 16-bit shooter game. The soundtrack even conveys a bit of the Sega hardware's scratchy flair.
All in all, Still Hunt is not a bad game despite some serious problems. But it is by no means a masterpiece, either. Constantly respawning enemies can be exploited to fully upgrade your weapons from the beginning, rendering the first few stages ridiculously easy. Some of the bosses are designed pretty stupidly and are all too easily tricked. Finally, the game contains its share of bugs. They're not omnipresent, but triggering a glitch that forces one to quit the game on the final stage can be very aggravating. The review score reflects the game's average performance. It is worse in the beginning, but better in the end.
The game was only released in Korea, but the main menu is completely in English. There are story sequences in Korean, but it is not necessary to understand them at all.
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