STAFF REVIEW of Spy Hunter 2 (Xbox)


Sunday, January 11, 2004.
by ShannonX

Spy Hunter 2 Box art Jump in and buckle your seatbelt. You're in for one wild ride after another in Spyhunter 2, the sequel to Spyhunter. You're the driver of a ultra powerful counterintelligence vehicle code named the G-8155 Interceptor. As you battle through more than 15 missions and 4 level bosses, use your new weaponry such auto-tracking turrets and energy shields and other advanced weaponry to uncover Nostra's mad plans to dominate the world, all while uncovering the secrets of a mysterious female agent.


Game play is pretty straight forward arcade like. Most missions give you a set of objectives you need to complete within a certain amount of time, or before something like an airplane or large boat get destroyed. One thing that is seriously lacking is an auto save of some sort between submissions. You can play through a three part mission, get to the very end and then get destroyed. Frustrating to say the least. It does save between main missions, but there is no option anywhere to save your own games which would seem logical considering we have a hard drive available. Physics play a part up to a point but you'll rarely ever find yourself worrying about controlling your car. Most of the time you'll need to spend all your focus and energy in not getting blown to bits by the countless number of Nostra enemies shooting you with missiles, chain guns or trying to blow you up by dropping land mines in front of you as you speed through the huge maps. While the game proclaims multiple ways to get through a mission, this might only mean taking a slight detour while still getting to your destination in exactly the same way, every single time you play. One thing that may bug you is regarding the power of your car. As your driving and shooting enemies, it doesn't seem to take long to take those baddies out. But watch out, one or 2 solid hits on your vehicle and you'll loose your outer shell, and another couple of solid hits and your done. And the farther you get in the game, the more bad guys there are. You do get stronger weapons as you progress, but the increase in the number of enemies basically eliminates any usefulness that these weapons would have provided. One other drawback is the difficulty level. It can be insanely difficult and without those mid mission saves, it can get down right infuriating. Finally getting past one spot after 15 or 20 tries, getting to the very end and then either running out of time or dieing can get very old, very quickly.


Visually, the game isn't really anything special. Graphics a reminiscent of games from a few years ago instead of something that came out in the last month or so. Your main car, the G-8115 Interceptor does have a decent poly count and looks pretty good. Transitions from one vehicle form to another are done smoothly without causing any framerate issues. On the other hand, enemy vehicles tend to be rather bland in comparison. They do have detail, just not to the extent as your vehicle. One thing that really bugged me, was the placement of text messages in the middle of your screen. You could be coming up on some enemy vehicles and your on-board AI would display some wonderfully useful tidbits of information right smack in the middle of your TV, exactly where you need to look to shoot those bad guys. Another thing that bugged me was the fact that when you destroyed a vehicle, it basically sunk into the ground. Pretty cheap way to get rid of junked cars in this writers opinion. It almost seems like your running on quicksand, but you don't sink unless you get blown up. The one good thing I can mention about visuals are the special affects. Explosions look very well done, even though the cars sink as I mentioned earlier. Particle affects from kicked up dirt and weapons fire are well done also. And each weapon has a distinctly different particle affect when it fires and not just a generic affect. So that was a big plus.


Sound-wise, the game is an average contender. Every weapon sounds different if not fantastic, and your car sounds pretty shallow when accelerating. Enemy fire sounds basically the same, you have a rocket sound, a chain gun (or bullet projectile) sound and a explosion sound for land mines. Not much variety. Of course, you don't really have time to sit back and listen to the sound because once you do that, you die. You have to be on your toes the entire game.


Suggestions:
I would suggest that anything you decide to work on in the future have online play. This type of game is made for online play, its just sad that that wasn't an option this time around.


Overall: 8.2 / 10
Gameplay: 8.6 / 10
Visuals: 8.4 / 10
Sound: 7.8 / 10

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