ONE OF THE more successful arcade games of last year looks set to have potential double agents roaring up to their local shops in hot pursuit for a copy of the game.
Sega has recently licensed Spy Hunter to US Gold and continues the trend of arcade games crossing the Atlantic as computer software.
Shades of the movie The Italian Job creep into the game which places you in the key role of a spy trying to escape the country with a posse of double agents on your tail.
Luckily your turbo-charged car could have been built for James Bond and will become amphibious, taking to the water like a drought-stricken duck.
The chase is fast and furious, skidding down stretches of icy road and hair-pin bends. You can shoot at the agents, try to bump them off the road, but blasting innocent civilian drivers will be to the detriment of your score.
You have a bird's eye view of the road which scrolls vertically downwards - the zig-zags are hair raising and do not leave much room for overtaking.
One innovative touch to the game is the weapons van. just as in The Italian Job, the van drives past with ramps lowered. Should you be quick enough to drive in, the car will be re-armed with oil slicks, smoke screens and rockets - handy when shooting at the bomb-dropping helicopter. However, all weapons but the machine gun are lost if you crash.
The game is obviously not as fast as the arcade version, but in all other cases it is an almost exact replica - except that there is no gear stick or accelerator. Those features are, however, notoriously difficult to fit onto the Spectrum.
Publisher: US Gold
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Protek
Hard to remember that the coin-op original of this game came out in 1983. Some of us weren't even born then... er, quite. Anyway, this one's long overdue for a budget re-release, because although it's appeared on some compilations, it's still streets ahead of many flashier coin-op convs on sheer playability.
The format is dead simple; steer your heavily-armed spy car up the scrolling screen, barging and blasting the equally be-weaponed opposition and avoiding steering straight into the roadside or into the water. Exciting enough, but halfway through you get a boat instead, and all the excitement becomes waterborne.
Dead simple, looks and sounds pretty grotty, but in fact as good a blast-up as you could wish for.
Author: US Gold
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
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