Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hunter (Amiga)

GOOD RETRO GAME WEEK, day 2.

Hunter amiga title screen
This game seemed so advanced to me back when I first played it. It was like a glimpse into a possible future for games. A future of 3d sandbox shooters and huge non-linear rpgs.

There are three game modes; Hunter, Missions and Action. Missions mode offers one task to complete at a time, Action mode would give me a whole shopping list of things to blow up in whatever order I feel like, but I'm going to go with Hunter mode, seeing as it's the name of the game.

Hunter mode has only one task for me. I have to collect the head of the enemy general. But first I have to find him, and remove it.

I start on a tiny checkerboard island in the middle of nowhere, with a HQ and two other buildings. The 3D graphics are pretty simple, but to be fair this was made two years before Star Fox.

I started by visiting the HQ, but they told me to piss off until I find the general's head.

The buildings are full of interesting stuff though. Flares, a fuel can, a map, a log book... a bag of swag. I'm going to grab everything.

It's probably all mine anyway. I don't see anyone else living on HQ island.

Well I've got some stuff in my inventory now, but no weapons yet. I'll see what the log book does.

Awesome, I have the location of my first contact, and a place to buy weapons.

I'm claiming this boat too. First stop, the weapon shop.

I could go anywhere on the map right now, there's no area off limits to me and my boat. Though I'm not going to get very far with a quarter of a tank of fuel.

It's a little annoying trying to get ashore from a boat, because there's no 'enter vehicle' key, he just climbs inside when he gets close. So I have to swim away from the boat before I can swim to the shore.

How can I choose, there's so much to buy! I think I'll click auto and let the game decide what I'll need.

More swag for my bag, plus an enemy uniform. Exactly what I'll need if I'm going to go deep into enemy territory.

It's a long way to the meeting place if I travel on foot, but if I can find a car it shouldn't take too long.

There's only three vehicles in the area, and the one north of my dot is the rocket boat I used to get here. I hope the other two aren't full of enemy soldiers ready to jump out and ambush me. Or worse, enemies ready to stay inside and not let me steal their ride.

It was a tank, and they've left the door unlocked and the key in the ignition. Plus it's fully loaded.

I have to be careful when I'm driving these things to always slow down to a stop before I get out, or else the thing will be happy enough to continue driving off without me and I'll probably never see it again.

The 1st man says go visit a 2nd man. Okay, fair enough.

I have to put the coordinates into my log book manually to add the location to my map, but I actually like that. It makes me feel like I'm actually doing something, even though I'm really only copying two numbers from the bottom of the screen.

There's no way I'm getting over to my second contact in this thing. Not unless it can float. That helicopter, on the other hand, will get me across the map with no trouble. If I can figure out how to get the thing off the ground at all.

Helicopters are incredibly tricky in this. It's up+fire to increase the rotor speed and down+fire to decrease speed. But up and down alone tilts the blades, and fire on its own shoots whatever weaponry is on board the thing. So there's a really good chance I'm going to immediately fly into the ground or blow myself up here.


LATER.


A perfect take-off and I got it all the way here without incident. Now all I have to do is get her hovering, then very carefully reduce engine power.

Well I fucked that up. But it's okay! There's plenty more helicopters around, and maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to actually find another one of them.

Is that a grey beard or a shirt? Never mind that, I've got more important things to ponder. Like how to get this guy to give me information. I've tried giving him money but he just says thanks then goes right back to whining about being poor.

Oh, okay, it turns out that the solution is 'give him lots more money'. And now I have new locations to visit!

But first I have to get there, and the only vehicle around is a bloody rowing boat. It'd be nice if I could get it across that tiny gap and travel directly to the island, but nope, I'm rowing this around the long way.

Maybe I'll get lucky and find a speedboat along the way.

Well here's the key I need to pick up, but he won't pick it up.

Okay, I'm out of sensible ideas, time for overkill.

 
30 credits, what does that get me? You know I bet it's just my score, and is actually entirely useless. But regardless, I now have the key and I can continue my long journey... in a rowing boat.

I think this might actually be a step up from the boat. A very tiny step up. But I need all the speed I can get, because I'm running out of day one fast.

It's a shame I can't turn the camera in this, it'd be nice to actually see where I was going. At least I don't think I can change the camera.

Oh crap, the enemy defences are firing homing missiles at me! Abandon wind surfer!

They'll stop firing once I'm out of the vehicle, especially when they see I'm wearing my sharp looking enemy uniform. But my health is going to eventually start draining away in this water unless I can swim to shore quickly.

Nothing, no vehicles at all in the entire area. They even blew up my wind surfer. Those bastards.

I guess I'm stuck walking then.


78 MINUTES (IN-GAME TIME) LATER.


I was walking through a mine field? Well that's just fantastic.

YES, FINALLY! A VEHICLE! Immediately after getting in, a seagull explodes for no reason and I get the blame. Bye bye 30 credits.

I don't give a damn about credits anyway though. Time to get this truck turned around.

It... just drove straight into the gun and exploded. My truck...

Son of a BITCH! Okay, back to walking then I guess.


LATER.


Is this a mirage? A beautiful impossible mirage?

Oh look, there's a shifty looking enemy soldier over there by the left helicopter. I'd better get inside and airborne fast, before he manages to ruin everything... somehow.

And that was a damn good landing I reckon. I barely even accidentally fired off any missiles.

You want grenades? Seriously, I'm trading grenades for information inside a church deep in enemy territory here? Well fine, take the grenades, I'm just really glad the 'auto' button in the shop automatically bought me enough. Or else I'd have to go all the way back down there.

At least I'd have the cash to buy them... I see that secret bag of swag hiding back there. Swiped!

Another great landing, but now I'm totally out of fuel! I'll have to walk the rest of the way.

Uh, what do you want? Hey leave me alone.. no stop following me, seriously

This bull keeps trying to charge at me and chip away at my health, and I really need to keep hold of my health if I can because I don't know where to find a health kit.

Huh, that wasn't my fault! He just charged into a rock and exploded, you can't blame me for that.

Seriously, check my grenade count, the bull just ran into a wall hard enough to blow himself up.

Okay, fine, next location then... wait, you want WHAT?

No no no, I just wasted a fuel can on you, don't hit the boat, DON'T HIT THE BOAT!

And my helicopter hits the boat and explodes. But hey, at least I have a boat now.

Wow, I just thought the white border was just drawn on to indicate the edge of the map, but nope there really is a big white line there.

The nuclear device is inside one of these buildings, but I can't be sure which one. I should probably use the tank to take care of that barrier first before I start checking any doors.

Uh... oops. I really hope that wasn't the building with the absolutely plot critical object inside that I need to continue the game.

(It was.)


Well I found a nuclear device, but it turned out to be a nuclear bomb, and it kinda blew up in my face. So that's that then.

Is Hunter as good as I remember? Well, it's actually faster than I remember, amazingly. I thought it'd be unbearably slow, when actually it's just painfully slow on foot, and pretty quick when I find a vehicle. The combat is terrible, but wandering around the lonely landscape, hunting down weapons and equipment on the way to the next location still has some charm to it.

But really, this has been totally outdone by modern games like Just Cause 2 and Fallout: New Vegas. And thank fuck for that.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for doing this! Awesome, I used to love the hell out of this game years ago.. wow 20 years ago. Sheesh. I never did get that Generals head.

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  2. Bought back memories of playing on the ST - and I laughed when I saw the white line round the edge of the map. Reminded me that I found the white line border too!

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  3. I seem to remember that there are bicycles on the island. When I first played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas many years later and jumped on a BMX, my first thought was of Hunter.

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