Review by Al Giovetti
Release: October 25, 1996
Genre: action (side and back scrolling platform game)
Game Designer: Chris Cole
Executive Producer: Jeff Tunnell
Producer: Ken Embery
Art Director: Brian Hahn
Lead Programmer: Rich Rayl
Executive Producer: Jeff Tunnell
Publisher: Sierra Online
Requirements: Pentium, 2X CD-ROM drive, 35 MB free hard drive space, Windows 95, 8 MB RAM, 640x480 256-color, SVGA, sound card, mouse, keyboard, Gravis, Microsoft or Thrustmaster gamepads.
Company line: Late in the 20th century, Earth was invaded by a technically superior race of brutal alien warriors. Five billion humans lost their lives in a matter of days. Humankind was all but exterminated. Those unlucky enough to survive were enslaved. Only the strongest, fastest and smartest of the slaves learned to endure. For entertainment, The Masters force chosen slave fighters, satirically called "Hunters", to kill or be killed in dark, lethal arenas deep in the guts of decimated cities.
Earth was not the only civilization overrun by The Masters. The planet Kullrathe, home of a savage species of beasts, also fell under their dominion. Beast soldiers were captured and held in concentration camps where they, too, were forced to play The Masters' "Hunter Hunted" game. The date is 2015.
The Masters could have easily annihilated both species. Instead, they've chosen to toy with the survivors. Champion "hunters" from each planet have been matched to the death, until now only two remain. Whether you choose to be beast or human, your only hope is escape. Scattered throughout the Hunt Arenas are remnants of the civilizations The Masters destroyed. If you can survive long enough to gather hidden pieces of technology, there is a slim chance you can assemble a vehicle capable of escaping.
Make no mistake. Each "hunter mission" is double jeopardy. You could easily die during The Hunt. But, The Masters will certainly destroy you if you refuse to participate. Your only way out, your only chance to exact revenge, is escape. Good luck. Good hunting.
History: Sierra is one of the most respected computer game companies who have worked on strategy, adventure, and simulation games. This action game is one of the rare time, outside of the old obligatory arcade sequences in graphic adventure games, that the behemoth company has ventured into pure arcade. I believe that Sierras first action title was the immensely popular side scroller called Thexder.
Sierra has formed a "k.a.a." division to be headed by Jeff Tunnell, one of the founding members of the Dynamix group within Sierra and now an executive producer. Jeff explains, "you definitely won't find any of your grandma's software coming out of the k.a.a. group." Where Disney has Touchstone, Sierra has k.a.a.
Plot: Its human pitted against mutant beasts, so that you don't have to worry about being cruel to humans or animals. You take the role of the human street warrior Jake or the Minataur like alien named Garathe Den. Since these beasts are mutant spawn and obviously evil and must be wiped out, your conscience is clear, so get in there and beat the mutant slime into submission or whip it into a soufflé and watch it rise with a little baker's yeast. Battle in Bizarre Behemoth Battlegrounds while berserker bashing belligerent brute beasts. Boy, what a blast.
The interface is basically a third person perspective, side scrolling, platform-like combat game, with a twist. Not only can your party move up and down and from side to side but they can also move into and out of the screen, which Sierra calls Z-plane movement. Characters and monsters can go into and out of the plane of the monitor, called the z-axis in geometry, giving the game depth. At the bottom of the screen are the traditional Doom and Duke Nukem 3D readouts for life and ammo and such. Like Doom gone side scroller.
You get to pay one of two characters, Jake, the hand-to-hand human fighter with an arsenal of weapons, the Hunter beast, minotaur-like horned monster with spiked club, fangs, and electric whip. Into this maze you have special cyborg enemies, who also lurk in the shadows and attack the main characters, act as hovering sentries, roving guards, and many other beasts, including Death, a hyper-alloy skeleton with a fire wand, and Chameleon, the nearly invisible, camouflage best with poisonous claws.
Levels: There are one hundred game levels that are broken up into 60 for the single player, 25 head to head and 15 cooperative play modes.
Enemies: You are not just pitted against the other combattant, you must defeat traps and other denizens like the hard to kill but slow
Graphics: The world of Hunter/Hunted was created with Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) motion capture graphics. Graphics are SVGA with 640x480 pixel resolution and 256-colors.
Animation: Motion captured animation techniques make characters amazingly life-like and realistic.
Voice actors: "Sound like Freddie Kruger when really pissed," says Pete.
Music score: Ten original songs with stereo effects. "ear-splitting" Considering the over 100 levels in the game, the ten tracks will get boring over time.
Sound effects: "thunderous"
Multiplayer: Death matches, head-to-head competitive and cooperative split screen action allows side by side play on the same system for two players. The phone or null modem version that was planned did not ship with the game. Sierra tells us this mode, when available, will allow up to four human players to compete with two on each machine. The game lacks the network and internet play modes needed to make the game great.
Stevel Bauman, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 16.
Clint Boswell, InterAction, summer, 1996, pg. 60-61.
Jeff Young, http://www.gamespot.com/previews/hunterhu/index.html
Steve Honeywell, Happy Puppy, www.happypuppy.com
Joyce Worley, Escapade, www.escapade.com
Gameslice Weekly, http://www.gameslice.com/interview/hunter.html
Pete, http://avault.com/sector/reviews/hunter.htmlJason D'Aprile, Computer Player, volume 3, number 6, January, 1997, pg. 62, 80%.