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by Interplay

I’m a Gauntlet fan from way back. When I first got my Gamecube I couldn’t wait for the newest Gauntlet game to be released. Imagine my disappointment when Gauntlet: Dark Legacy was released, offering almost nothing new and full of glitches. When I heard about Hunter: The Reckoning I thought that maybe this could be the Gauntlet for a new generation. Once again I was disappointed when I finally sat down to play the Gamecube version of Hunter: The Reckoning, with no improvements over the X-box version and some of the most frustrating gameplay ever.

I really tried to like this game. In theory it should have been great:  up to four players going hog wild blasting away zombies. There were moments I really started to like it. Then the camera would swing behind a tree and we wouldn’t be able to see anything. Or even worse yet I would fire six rounds at a zombie directly in front of me and miss with every shot. All I wanted from this game was some mindless action that my friends and I could get together and go through with a couple of beers. By mindless I didn’t expect to be puked on by a giant teddy bear. That’s right; there is a giant teddy bear for a boss and one of his main attacks is puking on you. I guess somebody, somewhere thought this was pretty clever. Myself, at two in the morning, having had a couple of beers, still didn’t find it amusing.

I don’t really know much about the tabletop RPG in which this game is derived, but what we get for story at the beginning of the game is pretty light. You are one of a team of Hunters: special people with the ability to see the evil that normal people cannot. Flash to a year in the past where you witness an execution that sets off evil spirits whom take over the prison staff and prisoners. Of course a bloodbath ensues. The Hunters are able to contain the evil, luckily, and the prison is boarded up. All is well until a bunch of misguided youths decide to throw a rage in the old abandoned prison, as misguided youths are so prone to do. This sets those darn evil spirits right off. Now the whole town has been taken over by evil and the Hunters must return to save the day.

For the most part you are only required to run around and blast zombies, lots and lots of zombies. Millions of zombies. They are constantly appearing from nowhere, right on top of you. I felt overwhelmed all the time. I am all for tension in a game, but it is ridiculous that I didn’t even have enough time to reload because the zombies appear out of thin air, practically chomping on me already. I just really wanted to bite them back.

After a while you must find keys in order to advance through the levels. For me that meant playing up to a gate then going back through the level and finding the one zombie I didn’t kill. It was always that one zombie that had the key. I just really wanted to bite him.

Of course there is the lead a small child through a level, protecting the child from all sorts of evil while the child walks as slow as possible and takes the most asinine route towards sanctuary. This is made even harder as you never know where a zombie will appear. I would be leading the child through an area that appeared to be cleared of baddies when a hoard of zombies would pop-up between the child and me. They would be killing me and the poor child before we even knew what hit us. The child has no defense; it doesn’t even know to run from the zombies. All the child does is follow you. I’m pretty sure, when I looked in that child’s eyes, that she really wanted to bite somebody too.

In preparation for this review I went back and reread the X-box Hunter: The Reckoning review. For greater detail on the game you should read it. The only difference between the two is the degradation in audio and video from the X-box to the Gamecube. It is too bad that they couldn’t have fixed a couple of the problems that the X-box version had before releasing it on the Cube. But really it wasn’t about making a good game; it was about making more money off of the title. I understand the urge to make more money, I sure would like to, but they could have at least made sure that it was as good as the X-box version. Sure the hardware is different but I think that they could have figured out something.

I did really enjoy the sound of my pistol firing. I could feel it through my subwoofer. It sounded like an actual gun firing in my room (don’t ask how I know what it sounds like having a gun shot in my room, I just do). This probably doesn’t do anything for those of you without subwoofers but I thought I better say something positive.

This is far from the worst game I have ever played. The major problem with this game is just the fact that it really is boring. It just wasn’t a whole lot of fun to play. It had oodles of potential and I think that is why I found it so disappointing. There where moments where I was nearly drawn in. Too bad I was always slapped back to reality with the unadulterated mediocrity of this game. Also, what is with the limited continues? I’m not putting quarters into my Gamecube. Why not let me continue as much as I want? In the end I really just wanted to track down the developers and bite them.

Matt James   (01/31/2003)


Ups: Up to four players; Dolby Pro Logic II support.

Downs: Graphics and audio took a hit in the conversion to GC; horrible targeting system; enough with the limited continues already!

Platform: text