#596 – Spy Hunter


                                                                                        Feathered wings very much included.



                                                                     Lousy armored cars. Always in the way of progress.





GENRE: Arcade

RELEASE DATE: September 1987


So Spy Hunter‘s an “arcade classic” right? Then why is it so void of purpose and meaning? Few games provoke a sense of worthlessness while playing them, but Spy Hunter does just that. Fighting words, perhaps, but let’s delve into the game’s inner workings. You play the Spy Hunter, a car looking to drive, drive, drive his blues and his enemies off the road. You drive for points, which you accumulate simply by driving. You also get points for taking down armored cars, tire-slashers, cyclists; your typical Los Angeles fare. Lay your enemies to waste with your double shooter on the front of your car, or accumulate one of three special weapons: oil slicks, heat-seeking missiles (for those obnoxious helicopters), and smoke screens. You have a time limit which runs out within the first couple minutes of play. While the time limit is decreasing, you can die as much as you want with zero consequence. If you die after the time limit has run out, it’s game over unless you have extra lives acquired by points.


But why continue? What does one achieve by playing Spy Hunter? If you’re a points-aholic, maybe, but the points obtained are so easily gotten. All you have to do is drive and you’ll be drowning in points. There’s no sense of progression other than slight changes in scenery. No level changes, no rewards. You could literally drive forever if you’re good enough, which, chances are, you’re not, given Spy Hunter’s ridiculous sense of speed. You can accelerate and decelerate with the D-pad. The faster you go, the more likely you are to crash, and the slower you go, the more likely you are to get bored and put the game down. Even if you desire to be a Spy Hunter expert, it will take dozens, if not hundreds, of lives to get a handle on the game’s blinding quickness. But again, why bother? Personal fulfillment should come from playing and progressing through a game, any game, regardless of genre. Unless you just enjoy watching points rack up, Spy Hunter offers little enjoyment to the player.


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