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'Spy Hunter' is worth the ride

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita owners will be able to play a reboot of the 1983 arcade game 'Spy Hunter', set to be released October 2012. (Aug. 14, 2012)

Review Score:  7/10

"'Spy Hunter' on the PlayStation Vita is fun to play and worth a purchase for racing game fans and retro junkies alike."      - Warp Pipe


'Spy Hunter' pulled audiences into the arcades in the 1980s and now the same high speed, road-racing action is back with a new paint job on both PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS. Don't worry, that smile that will trickle across your face after hearing the remixed Peter Gunn theme for the first time in years will not fade away. This game is a worthy handheld adaptation from the franchise.

Developer TT Fusion did a tremendous job bringing the "Agent" to handhelds in this reboot of the legendary combat driving series all the while retaining its classic charm it stood for when its gamers first hit the gas pedal. The steering of the high-tech G-6155 Interceptor supercar is very responsive in high speed chases while transforming into an off-road assault vehicle or speed boat is effortless. The three vehicle types keep up with the trademark rush of the 'Spy Hunter' series, each slightly adapting to the terrain traveled on. The transformation sequences are a nice detour from the repetitive drive that saw little scenery change that I remember from my retro days.

Many games on and off the roadways have offered an expansive variety of ways to make all things in my path go boom but I was pleasantly surprised to see that each mission does a nice job of asking players to take full advantage of nearly all of its arsenal. Some enemies require a good zapping at their side with shockers while fender benders can be put away with heat from rear flamethrowers. Before each mission, load-outs can be interchanged to the player's preference of devices and defenses. 'Spy Hunter's firepower is upgradable too, adding to the intensity en route to each chase sequence.

The PlayStation Vita's touch screen controls work splendidly from the menus and throughout each mission. Tapping on the screen when enemies get a little too close for comfort delivers a defensive shock wave while at times when accessible a scanner can be tapped to download enemy intel or retrieve black boxes form banged up vehicles. I really enjoyed the short aerial bomber mini-game in-between some of the campaign many missions. Tapping on targets and swiping a finger equates to your own personal firework show along the highway from above.

Although mission goals do feel repetitive and much of the story is within text and not voice acted, 'Spy Hunter' on the PlayStation Vita is fun to play and worth a purchase for racing game fans and retro junkies alike. Replay value has its limitations outside of earning skill points for upgrades but the best way to get more out of your retail copy is with friends. 'Spy Hunter' features 2- to 4-player local multiplayer on the PlayStation Vita. I was unable to test this feature but it did not stop me from telling my fellow Vita owners about the game with hopes they would burn rubber and pick up the game. 'Spy Hunter' is worth a holiday wish list addition.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment surprised us with the end product they sent us for review and we only hope that the same can be said if the rumors are true and 'Spy Hunter' will make an appearance on the silver screen in the future.  

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