Player 1 review by Malc.
(Jump down to Matthew
A Witt's review of In The Hunt)
love anything to do with deep-sea monsters. Films like Leviathan, Deep
Star Six, The Abyss and even Jaws I adore. Nearly wet my pants just
thinking of going to see Sphere, and yes, I know it's a bit bollocks.
Still, the book was good. So it was with great trepidation of an imminent
damping of the underwear when I bought the conversion of 'In The Hunt'
for my Playstation a couple of years ago. And it was with mixed feelings
and thankfully dry knickers when I finally switched off and considered
the value of my purchase.
You can probably tell I was a bit disappointed with it. Believe it or
not I don't immediately fall in love with every shmup I see. I'll give
you my don't likes first, then end on a positive note. Lets make a wee
I know it sounds like I thoroughly hate the game by now. And everyone
else who has seen it thinks it's Irem's best game ever. The graphics have
got a lot to do with this, they really are damned good. Which bring's
me onto my 'Do Likes' List:
main problem I have with it is the lack of speed and excitement. It's
just too damned sluggish! Notching up the speed on the sub itself
would have worked wonders, or even a speed select switch like in all
those PCengine games would be preferable. It feels far too treacly,
even with the max amount of speed ups collected. Dunno about you,
but I prefer my shmups to be heart-racing affairs. Wait a minute,
I seem to remember a speed up cheat for the PSX version... anyone
got it anywhere? Should have been a standard option anyway.
graphics get just too confusing. This is a major bugbear I have with
a lot of modern shooters. You should NOT die because you can't see
bullets that are hidden by explosions. Cardinal sin transgressed there,
and I expected better from Irem. Yes, the explosions are really cool,
except there's just TOO MUCH of them while you're actually playing.
don't like the scrolling method. You have to push right all the time
to move the screen, which I really think increases the sluggish ploddingness
of the game. There IS a time limit, but it doesn't seem to be any
incentive to get your arse in gear. Whereas R-type was a test of dexterity,
memory and sheer skill, ITH depends more on luck, lots of credits,
and the inclination to stick with it.
ship is too fat, and hence it's difficult to dodge bullets. It's a
chubby wee tub indeed. Last Resort on the NeoGeo is a bit like this,
as the craft in that is too long. Extremely annoying when there just
isn't enough room to get out of a nasty situation.
NOT BAD THINGS:
Finely detailed, huge amounts of care and attention spent on the many
frames of animation. Everything is beautifully coloured, and even
the smallest enemies move with well-oiled pixels. The backgrounds
are rich and varied, and the Bosses are wonderfully realised. It's
definitely a looker.
to detail. It's a shame they didn't spend as much time on the gameplay.
The only other game that had as much graphic detail in it was Metal
Slug. Everything is shootable, and there are loads of brilliant set
pieces going on all the time. Like the bulldozer which sweeps trucks
of the quayside into your path, or the train which falls and breaks
to tiny pieces when you smash the bridge. And look at those whales
at the start - don't they look beautiful? Everything is hand animated
with lots of frames, even the explosions are all different.
Although there's not much variety, they all behave exactly as you
would imagine. I especially like the corkscrew one which swirls through
the water leaving bubble trails. And when you get to the surface,
the guns break out, great for splatting helicopters.
Some are just fabulous. My favourite is the snakey ones in the underwater
lava level...the use of colour here is spot-on, and the way the snakes
bleed is just like a huge underwater snake should. I like the upwardly
scrolling level too, with the Rock-Neptune chasing you up screen and
smashing through brick walls.
you see, it's not all bad. I like it, but it's not the game to convert
a non-believer. I'd play it if someone wanted a 2-player blast, but
it wouldn't be at the top of the pile for a swift one on my own. A
wee while ago, the RAGE emulator added 'In The Hunt' to it's stack
of emulated games, so now you can play it without a Playstation. (I'm
eagerly awaiting the next update of that emulator, its got to be one
of my favourites.)
2 Review by Matthew A Witt
In the Hunt is a side-scrolling shooter wherein you control
a small submarine. It's made by Irem,
who brought us great games like R-Type. This game is unique among
other shooters which feature futuristic spacecraft, warp engines,
and lasers. I'm not sure what exactly the plot is, but most games
of this type don't need one. The introduction does mention something
about infiltrating the "D.A.S." base or something...
In the Hunt features spectacular graphics. Detail is especially
impressive. For instance, the sub rocks and bobs around when it surfaces.
When you blow up a bridge, a line of small people come cascading off.
The underwater explosions look very nice. The enemies are very well
animated, especially robotic ones. Stuff in the way of your missiles
tends do explode into a shower of shrapnel. One problem that this game
suffers from is graphic slowdown, especially with many sprites on the
screen at a time. This doesn't detract too much from the game, however.
There is no sprite flicker whatsoever. Overall, the graphics are clean
and nice, except I can't help but feel the enemy subs are a bit cutesy.
The sound is fitting: torpedo whooshes, explosions. Nothing out of the
ordinary here. Unfortunately, the music wasn't turned on in the arcade,
so I don't know if its good or not.
This game is moderately challenging. Veteran shooter fans will have
no problem getting to the second or third level in one quarter. The
learning curve is easy. One thing that helps is that the game pace is
set by the player; he chooses when to advance the sub and when to scroll.
At first I was reluctant to try In the Hunt; I preferred my futuristic
fighter to a primitive submarine. I also thought that having to advance
the level yourself instead of flying through it was lame. However, after
the first few tries of playing it, I was hooked. It is an addicting
game; its feel is particularly new and refreshing. Whoever thought of
staging a shooter underwater, instead of outer space?
In the Hunt is overall a solid shooter. The graphics are nice
and the gameplay unique. I doubt it would draw any 3D fan away from
their Tekken or Virtua Fighter, but for shooter fans like me, it's a
out of 5.0
attention to detail, colorful bosses.
Nothing spectacular, although the torpedos sound pretty cool.
take a while to get past some of the bosses.
for hardcore shooter fans.
well made and fun game.
Boringly, they don't let you shoot the whales. Shame. I was looking
forward to some blubber blasting.
Level one Boss has got these extensible arms which are quite unavoidable
sometimes. Things happily speed up a bit here, I love the way
the missiles go off-track in the rushing water, and fall back
onto the baddie!
Level Two takes place in a sunken city, a bit like L.A. (as in
'Escape From') Best bit here is the way you blast through motorway
(freeway:) overpasses, and they fall down. Made me grin inanely.
In a stadium where they play something called Football. Although
it's not proper Footie, like wot we play in the UK, Guv. I hate
these bosses, the swirly attacks traps you, and the only challenge
you have here is bearing the tedium.
This is what I call the Metal Slug Level. Everything is blow-up-able.
I can play this level again and again just looking for tiny details.
When you think about it though, it doesn't say much for the gameplay,
and the focus of the game is a bit off then...
Just wait until you blast this train off the tracks. An amazing
set-piece! Bet it makes you smile too.
Level three Boss, and a difficult one at that. The major problem
is that you are confined to the water throughout, and look how
low the water is here. Barely a puddle!
Level 4, and a snake sub-boss has just wasted my sub. You can
see it just cracking up. The lava blasts here are so good you
could watch them all day.
End of level 4 boss, a dragon/slug arrangement, but the heads
seem to be upside down!! This is where I picked up the totally
super wavey laser missiles (not shown here), the best weapon in
the whole game.
And so I died, a watery grave is mine. Neptune with acne climbs
up a shaft behind you, leaving you no time to dawdle. Good word
that. Dawdle. He goes a bit Alieny at the end, and his eyeballs
chase you around. Bet you didn't allow for this when you joined