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reviews >> gameboy advance

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway
Year Released: 2002
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Teen

Visuals 8.75
Even though it's running on a Mode-7 engine, the developers pulled off some pretty neat tricks to create the feeling of rolling hills, as well as some water reflection.
Audio 8.5
The music is really good, and the sound effects sound fine, but at times there's a little crackling with the explosions.
Gameplay 8.5
Simlar to the console version, even when it comes to the objectives.
Replay Value 7.5
It's a pretty short game with only 8 missions (half of the console versions), but at least there's an arcade mode that you can unlock that lets you go for a high score.
Reviewer's Impression 8.5
I thought this version of SpyHunter was a lot more fun and less disappointing than the Gamecube version I played. At least here, there's an exuse for pixelation.
Overall 8.25
It's a solid action title for the GBA, but not very long.

Spy Hunter started out as an arcade game in 1984. The object was to eliminate the NOSTRA organization using a modified car equipped with weapons, much like a car from a Bond movie. In 2001, a remake was released, and was a fairly good effort, on the PS2. The GCN version was released six months later and had a lot of problems, mostly withing the graphics and framerate.

A few months after that, the GBA version was released, which closley follows the console versions, right down to the look and missions. In fact, it's much more fun to play on the GBA than it was on the GCN. Spy Hunter features 7 out of the 14 stages of the console version, as well as all of the weapons and features. Sadly, it's over all too soon.

The look of Spy Hunter is almost spot-on. It used the mode 7 engine, but with a few adjustments. Midway figured out how to add hills and some water effects into the package. It still looks a little flat, but is rather convincing in it's presentation. The car is pre-rendered, and does morph when you move across water or land. It looks nice, but the other cars look pretty flat. It's not horrible, but it is noticable. The framerate and speed is fairly solid and smooth. It's a good looking GBA game.

The sound is equally nice. The music is excellently compsed, and sounds almost like you're playing the console version rather than a handheld game. It does get a little crackly now and then, but it's very good. The effects also fare well, and nothing really sounds offensive.

Spy Hunter actually plays pretty well on a handheld. You can shoot, gas, boost and aim just like the console version. The counter weapons are useless. You really don't need the oil slicks or smoke screens. It's there if you want them. The biggest draw back is the replay value. There's not a whole lot of missions, but there are extra modes, such as the arcade mode, which you play for points until you are destroyed. This is a great inclusion, and an idea that should have been used in the console versions.

Spy Hunter is almost a solid package, but the battery save makes the game fly by very fast. They put a lot in, and the battery save does make me happy. Midway actually made and put effort in their best GBA game to date.