Spy Hunter is a franchise that many may hold fondly to their childhood. Whether it was playing the original that released in 1983, the ones that released on the NES or SNES, or even the later installments that hit the PS2/GC/Xbox era, Spy Hunter isn’t exactly a franchise that people haven’t heard of before. Warner Bros. Games and TT Fusion have decided to bring the franchise back, this time as a handheld exclusive for the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS. How does the G-6155 Interceptor’s return fare?
Spy Hunter has always been a simple pickup-and-play game. You’ll take part of a secret project codenamed “Spyhunter”, which is intended to allow for operations to be engaged without detection. Thanks to the new G-6155 Interceptor, you’ll be manning a vehicle that not only operates on the road, but off-road and in the water as well. Thankfully, your team has also equipped you with plenty of gadgetry and weaponry to aid you in the missions ahead.
Spy Hunter is all about engaging in dangerous missions that will make you utilize the Interceptor at its full capacity. After your base is breached during a training session, you and your team will tackle 23 missions that will lead you to the organization behind the attack. After the training mission ends, the real fun begins. Spy Hunter was a simple yet effective game back when it was first released, and this latest installment still finds a way to carry over that level of fun. TT Fusion looked at what made Spy Hunter the game it is today and aimed to reboot it for both fans and newcomers. It’s all about driving a slick, sexy vehicle that contains all these weapons and gadgets a spy would have. When you initiate a mission, you’ll be able to tailor your Interceptor with up to four various types of weapons. You can choose one for the front, rear, roof and side of the vehicle. Each weapon type contains different weapons as well. The roof can equip a 50 Caliber cannon or Swarm Missiles, the front can have standard Machine Guns or a Railgun, the rear can have a Flamethrower or Mines, and the sides can have Shockers or Shotguns. There are other weapons in these categories but this is mainly just to give you an idea. Also, each weapon can be upgraded up to three levels to enhance the rate of fire or recharge rate. You’ll use Research Points that you earn for certain skill shots or secondary objectives you complete during a mission.
Once you’re ready to start a mission, your Interceptor will dangle outside the side of your Weapons Truck and you’ll have to tap the ignition button on the screen to launch it onto the road. Controls are simple enough to pickup on and there are a few configurations to tinker around to your liking, such as accelerating with the X button instead of the R button, using the D-Pad instead of the Analog Stick, or assigning certain actions to the Rear Touchpad. You’ll switch between weapons by pressing the face buttons that correspond to the direction the vehicle is facing. Triangle will utilize the front weapons, Square will use the roof, Circle will use the sides and X will utilize the rear. Learning which weapons work best for you, as well as when to use them, is the key to survival. You’ll also be able to boost your way past enemies or catch up to them but the meter needs to be full, or just shy of being full, to activate. Should you let go of the boost halfway through the meter, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge before giving it another go. It doesn’t take very long to refill at all but knowing when to use it is integral in certain missions.
Throughout the game’s 23 missions, TT Fusion added some variety throughout their mission structures. There are times where you’ll use a UAV to scan the road ahead and plot out mortar strikes, airstrikes and “Sky Needle” strikes to destroy everything in your path. There’s even a particular mission where you’ll have to protect the Weapons Truck with the UAV, controlling the movement with the Analog Stick and tapping the screen to rain missiles down on hostiles. There are also moments where you’ll drive into the Weapons Truck and take control of the turret on there. These moments definitely change up the pace of the game and help it stay fresh.
There were a few gripes I had with Spy Hunter that need to be addressed. First off, the G-6155 Interceptor handles a bit too loosely and if an enemy rams you from behind, you’ll usually go crashing head-on into the side of a wall. While I’m all for challenge, this happens a bit often and can lead to a ton of frustration. Secondly, while the mission structures are varied, the environments aren’t as much. There’s a decent amount of different environments but some missions have you repeating the same area only in reverse. Later in the game, you’ll have the ability to use a defense maneuver for your Interceptor, which becomes incredibly handy. However, there’s no indicator what-so-ever as to when it charges back up. They usually replenish every 10 seconds but there’s zero indication of when it’s back online. Lastly, the worst part of the gameplay that really had me frustrated were the moments where you’ll have to control a remote warhead missile. The controls for this were incredibly inaccurate with the PS Vita’s Analog Sticks. If I’d press left, it’d turn left but at an angle and hit a pipe within the narrow area, leading to unnecessary mission failures. You had to be 100% dead-on with your analog movement for it to register the way you wanted it to register. Despite these set backs, Spy Hunter is a genuinely fun game that’ll entertain you.
Spy Hunter is a game that’s available for the 3DS and PS Vita. However, it seems like the PS Vita version didn’t really push much in terms of visuals. The environments look decent with some solid textures, as does the Interceptor, but the draw distance isn’t too great. As you’re driving, you’ll see the environments pop-up in the distance and just seems slightly unpolished. Explosions look okay, as do the weapon effects, but the bullets coming out of the weapons disappear after a short radius, before even colliding with an object. Despite one section where the framerate dipped a lot, the whole game ran pretty smoothly. While there are only two FMV sequences to watch, they’re rendered pretty poorly, giving them a low-res blurry look. It’s not a poor looking game at all though. It’s just an average one that doesn’t really push the PS Vita’s strengths.
When it comes to Spy Hunter, the Peter Gunn theme is automatically associated with the game. Composer Ryan Shore was brought on board to infuse a modern-style to the theme and while it’s pretty good, it seems a bit excessive to have the theme incorporated into every single song. The soundtrack consists of jazzy tunes that mesh with the Peter Gunn theme, alongside a dubstep version of the theme that’s only played in the game’s intro. To be honest, the game could’ve used that song at least once during a mission as it was catchy. Sound effects are effective for the guns, explosions and of course, the Interceptor itself. Voice acting is minimal, as you’ll mostly hear a deep, scrambled voice talking to you most of the time (the game’s antagonist), but it gets the job done without sounding cheesy. Oddly, there were a few times where the game’s menu music would never kick in which was a bit strange. The overall audio package is pretty solid but doesn’t provide anything too memorable.
Replay Value: 3/5
Once you complete the game’s campaign, you can go back and try to achieve all the secondary objectives in each mission. Secondary objectives will range from how much damage you receive, the time to complete a mission, finding the “Black Box” and destroying the “Comms Vehicle”. Completing these objectives net you more Research Points to upgrade the weapons and if you complete all the objectives in a level, you’ll earn the Spyhunter Pro title for that level. You can also use the Research Points to unlock different skins for your Interceptor and there are a good amount to unlock. If you’re looking to nab a Platinum Trophy here, you’ll get a decent amount of time with it, but still nothing too long. Personally, I was able to nab the Platinum Trophy within 10 hours or so. Once you get that, there’s very little reason to return.
Overall Score: 12/20 = 6.0 out of 10
Spy Hunter isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a mediocre game. It’s a solid game that satisfies just that. It may lack a bit of polish, but there’s no question that the game is quite enjoyable. TT Fusion definitely has some solid foundation with their first attempt at a Spy Hunter title and kept me engaged in the experience while it lasted. While it’s not an overly memorable title, it’s one that fits the bill if you’re looking for an entertaining action-vehicle game on the go…just don’t expect anything “great” out of it.
+ Entertaining gameplay
+ Varied missions
+ G-6155 Interceptor is still a sexy vehicle
- Lacks visual polish
- AI is overzealous at times
- Car handles a little too loosely
- Unmemorable Soundtrack