Warner Bros. Interactive
PS Vita (Nintendo 3DS)
ESRB rating: Everyone
Review rating: 3.0 stars
"Spy Hunter" was one of the first video games that I played over and over again, but the 2001 remake was a huge disappointment. Now that Midway is no more, Warner Bros. has taken the reigns for a second attempt at a remake. Although the new "Spy Hunter" is true to its roots and fun to play, low production values and mediocre visuals make it difficult to ... err ... handle for modern gamers.
No storyline was present in the original 1983 version, and the only goal was to destroy enemies before being destroyed. While the goal hasn't changed much, the new version casts players as a nameless spy testing out a prototype high-caliber vehicle called the Interceptor that's armed to the grill. During the test drive, an evil crew with inferior vehicles crashes the party and carnage ensues!
It comes as no surprise that the G-6155 Interceptor is the epitome of vehicles. The ability to transform into a boat and carve through water combined with mounted weapons like machine guns, missiles, and flamethrowers gives it a huge advantage over "ordinary" spy cars. I really like the ability to have four weapons active at the same time because it adds even more destruction and increases the already blistering pace.
Another cool feature is the health system that relies on the same miniature reactor cores that power the Interceptor. Six reactor cores are active at the beginning of each level, and they regenerate 'armor' when not in combat. However, reactor cores are disabled when they are destroyed, so paying attention to the 'health' of the Interceptor is required.
While the control scheme is user-friendly, I found myself fishtailing too easily when making minor turns. In addition, the visuals look archaic for a high-definition handheld device, which can be detrimental in such a fast-paced game.
Old-school gamers will appreciate the nostalgia of "Spy Hunter," but I doubt if the game will attract new fans to the series.