Ed Hunter is a greatest hits album and video game released in 1999 by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden and Synthetic Dimensions respectively. The game objective consists of following Iron Maiden's mascot, Eddie, through various levels depicting the band's past album covers. The accompanying CDs the group's most popular songs, as selected by fans on the band's official website.
The album was released alongside a tour of the same name, in which the band only played songs which were featured in the compilation. The tour itself was also notable for marking the return of former vocalist Bruce Dickinson and former guitarist Adrian Smith, who had left the band in 1993 and 1990 respectively.
The band's intention to release their own video game was announced in a sticker which appeared on the case of their 1996 compilation album, Best of the Beast, which stated, "Available soon... Melt, Eddie's own state-of-the-art 3D game." In September 1997, the band announced that the Melt project had been cancelled, with then vocalist Blaze Bayley commenting, "It was crap. Maiden want to give their fans something to blow them away. The new one will." The band also revealed that a different game would be released in its place, with Bayley commenting, "This game is nearly there. You've got to get to Eddie through time and space, heaven and hell..... the works ! It's a shoot 'em up which we promise will out-shoot`em all." Prior to its release, bassist Steve Harris commented that "it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I don't get shocked very often, but Ed Hunter was so good. It's like walking into a 3D version of the Somewhere in Time album cover, like going into the bar at the Ruskin Arms, only full of aliens and stuff. You go in and we'll be, like, holograms playing in the corner, or sitting at a table gambling. And then you've actually got the game itself, which is, like, this big shoot-'em-up chase through space and time to catch Eddie. It's brilliant." Originally slated for release in the Spring of 1998, the game was then pushed back to Christmas 1998 and eventually July 1999 to tie in with The Ed Hunter Tour.
The package includes 3 CDs. The first CD contains 14 songs, the second CD contains 6 songs and the installation program for the game, and the third CD contains the game data. The soundtrack consists of the top 20 songs voted for by Iron Maiden fans on the band's official website. The US version also contained a hidden bonus track of a new vocal version of "Wrathchild" with Bruce Dickinson.
The game passes through various levels, starting in London's East End before progressing to a psychiatric hospital, hell, and other various locations, all of which are lifted from the covers of past Iron Maiden albums. While the gameplay itself consists of shooting the appearing enemies with the mouse cursor, it acts as a rail shooter, meaning that the player has no control over movement apart from occasionally choosing the route he will take through the levels. In spite of this, the user can select which tracks play in the background, although only one song can be chosen for each level, which led to critics complaining about the soundtrack's repetitiveness.