Personal Computer News

Spy Hunter
By U. S. Gold
Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer News #110


Back the white DB4 out of Q's Weapons Van onto the hot tarmac. Let the van pull away then stamp down on the gas. Ease up behind a red Switch Blade and let him have it up the exhaust pipe from your double-barrelled machine guns.

Spy Hunter is straight James Bond stuff, the official version of Bally Midway's first arcade hit. There are two phases to the game, but they're very similar. In the tradition of shoot-'em-ups the aim is simply to better the current high-score.

Points are scored for rubbing out enemy agents. But don't fire at everything you see - some are innocent civilian vehicles and killing them loses you points. The Road Lord is bullet-proof so has to be rammed; not so Switch Blade, which carries buzz-saw hubs.

Spy Hunter

Strike a yellow motorcyclist and he does into a sickening spin before crashing.

The road is shown as a central black strip, flanked by a lethal hard-shoulder. Behind this is green countryside dotted with trees, the colours changing as you progress. The road's not straight. Bends, detours and forks appear, forcing you to slow down to cope with the driving conditions.

Last long enough and the Weapons Van appears again, with a symbol on its roof. This tells what kit you can pick up if you can manoeuvre behind it and up the ramp that it will drop. Back on the road you can select from the weapons you're carrying. You'll need rockets to take care of the bomb-dropping chopper that hovers overhead, while you can drop oil slicks that cause other traffic to skid off the road.

Occasionally detours lead to waterways. Pass through a boathouse and you're dumped in the second phase: more of the same fare. The 'road' is now blue and enemy agents steer boats. Carry on for a bit here and a detour will appear, allowing you to get back on the road and chasing more bad guys.

Spy Hunter is very playable to the point of compulsion. The action is fast, the graphics are colourful, detailed and smooth. But the scenario is very limited and after a while you find yourself just playing for laughs, creaming everything in sight. Spy Hunter's age shows, I'm afraid.

Bryan Skinner

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