Hunter (video game)
Amiga cover art for Hunter
Hunter is a 3D action-adventure game in which the player navigates around a series of islands. Hunter was developed by Paul Holmes and Martin Walker (music), and it was released by Activision for the Amiga and Atari ST home computers in 1991. The combination of the game's 3D graphics and sandbox-type gameplay has been subsequently compared to the Grand Theft Auto series and similar sandbox games, such as Far Cry 2.
The player controls a soldier in a large three-dimensional world where he can move freely by walking, swimming or using various vehicles such as cars, vans, tanks, ships, bicycles, helicopters, hovercrafts or even rowboats and surfboards. Each vehicle type has its unique properties. The game world also features a large variety of buildings, most of which can be entered and explored. Other in-game characters include enemy soldiers, civilians and animals such as seagulls, sharks and cows. The player also has a wide range of weapons ranging from a regular pistol to SAM-missiles, grenades, land mines and timed explosives. Surrounding terrain can be surveyed with aerial observation units and radar. Food and money can be used to bribe and gather information from other characters. Target coordinates can be recorded into a log book, and the player can see his position in the game world on an overlaying map.
Hunter features a rather sophisticated AI for its time. In addition to shooting, enemy soldiers can also drive vehicles and track the player down. Guard towers, tracer guns, cannons and SAM launchers have the ability to shoot towards the player, and homing missiles launched by the enemy accurately follow the player's vehicles. Birds can also flock around the player, which can cause them to get killed by a vehicle.
The game is controlled mostly via joystick and mouse. The joystick controls the directional movement of the character, and the mouse is used in the selection of weapons and items. Keyboard can be used to give input and zoom the view towards or away from the character.
Graphics and sound
The game world consists of a 3D polygon terrain with islands, hills and lakes. In addition to various buildings and vehicles, also some trees, plants and rocks are modeled in 3D. Use of colour is limited and shades of green, orange and blue are emphasized. The game features a 24-hour clock, and the brightness of the environment depends on the time of day. Flares can be used to illuminate the surroundings during night.
The only music in the game is the main theme composed by Martin Walker, and it can be heard during the title screen on both platforms. Sound effects include engines, gunfire, explosions, waves and squawks of seagulls. Typically the Amiga is both visually and sonically more advanced, using more colours and having digitized sound effects whereas the ST version uses more dithering (re: the ocean areas) and uses synthesized sound effects.
There are three different game modes to choose from. Each mode has different objectives and a map of its own.
- The first mode, Hunter, is an action-adventure game in which communication with other characters is important. The player's mission is to track down and assassinate an enemy general and return to headquarters with his head before time runs out. The mission can be accomplished by collecting clues from civilians, bribing enemies and using various vehicles and weapons.
- In Missions mode, the player has to complete a short mission and then return to headquarters in order to receive another assignment. The objectives become subsequently harder and the time shorter to complete each mission. The last mission is to destroy the enemy headquarters.
- The last mode, Action, is one large mission in which the player has to destroy a preset number of targets in any order he wishes. The player is given a long list of enemy targets, and it is up to him to use the map and log book to locate each target and destroy them before time runs out.
|Amiga Joker (Germany)||89%|
|Génération 4 (France)||93%|
Hunter received very positive reviews (ranging from 85 to 95 points out of 100) in various game magazines. Although occasional graphical glitches and simplistic animation were noted, most of the reviewers considered Hunter one of the first serious takes on 3D gaming. The game was characterized as an innovative addition to 3D vector games and a bold step forward.
What gathered most attention, however, was the scope of the game and the freedom of movement inside the game world:
- [R]egardless of which mission you are on there are no restrictions, apart from time, over how you do it. You can use whatever transport or equipment you like. This sense of freedom allows exploration and experimentation over transport and equipment mixes.
- Although the missions have time-limits there are no constraints as to how you must complete them, and this flexibility is severely lacking in past attempts at accessible 3D games.
- I loved the idea of controlling your character with freedom to travel around the various locations, using the various means of transport and going into buildings without so much as a "by your leave".
Although most reviewers were enthusiastic about the game world and its absorbing nature, some argued that the game world was small and could be explored in a few hours. Another aspect considered negative in the reviews was the lack of music and the quality of sound effects. Despite these minor downsides, Hunter was heralded as a believable 3D action-adventure by many reviewers. Jonathan Davies, for example, summed up his review in the Amiga Power magazine like this:
- Hunter is a real all-rounder. There's something for everyone in there, all wrapped up in a believable 3D world you can get lost in for hours.
- Hare, James. "Amiga Classic Reviews: Hunter". Reality Glitch Online. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Fahs, Travis. "IGN: The Leif Ericson Awards". Retro.ign.com. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- Patterson, Mark (1991). "Hunter review". CU Amiga. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Webb, Trenton (1991). "Hunter review". Amiga Format. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- "HOL database: Hunter reviews". Hall of Light. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Davies, Jonathan (1991). "Hunter review". Amiga Power. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Reagan, Fred (1991). "Hunter review". Amiga Computing. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Wilson, David (1991). "Hunter review". Zero. Retrieved 2010-09-23.