- Spy Hunter (2001 on PlayStation 2, 2002 on Xbox, GameCube...)
- Spy Hunter (2002 on Game Boy Advance)
- Spy Hunter (2012 on Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita)
Description official descriptions
Originating in the arcades, Spy Hunter is a driving action game played from an overhead point of view. Your car is equipped with machine guns to help you get past the numerous enemies out on the road (be careful not to shoot any civilians, though!) Occasionally you will come across a weapons van, and if you drive into the back of the van your car becomes equipped with a second weapon (such as smoke screen, oil slick, or missiles). At several points the road splits and you can enter a boathouse which transforms your car into a boat temporarily. If you drive far enough the seasons change as well (watch out for icy conditions during winter!). The enemy cars will do anything to stop you, including running you off the road, firing guns from the back of a limo, or dropping bombs from a helicopter.
- Spyhunter - Alternate spelling
Credits (Arcade version)
Average score: 72% (based on 17 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 97 ratings with 3 reviews)
Spy Hunter is such a simple, yet addictive, game that had arcade-goers insisting on "just one more go" as they would repeatedly insert quarters into the machine. The reason for this is that you can't beat the thrill of being chased across land and water by various types of enemies. Add to that the satisfaction of staying alive for a long time.
Unlike other games of its time, you don't start controlling your vehicle right away. Instead, you have to wait for the weapons van to pull up at the side of the road so that your spy car rolls out from the back of the van. The first thing I noticed right away is the excellent rendition of the Peter Gunn theme, which is easy to know off by heart. It blends in with the action that happens during the game.
A neat feature of this game is the ability to enter this little house and transform into this speedboat. When you do, you get to see the ripple behind it as it makes it way across the water. There is only one enemy here: another speedboat that drops mines behind in an attempt to stop you. You'll know when you are about to hit the water when you read a warning. Players that ignore this will find themselves on a broken bridge.
The enemy cars have excellent artificial intelligence. Nearly all of them are capable of bumping you off the road, and the further you progress, the more tougher the enemies become, with the "switch blades" using their hub caps to make your swerve off the road. The animation of your car spinning out of control is great. Then you'll encounter choppers that drop bombs onto you when you get in their line of sight.
Also, the terrain changes if you last about ten minutes in the game, and some of it is difficult to navigate through. There is an icy surface that you car may slip on if you are not careful.
There are a number of weapons you can use to defeat enemies. You start out with mounted guns at the front of your car, but by entering weapons vans that appear from time to time, you can equip your car with other things such as oil slicks and smoke screens. This can be a pain for anyone catching up to you, as you can use the second joystick to leave behind something that will make the car serve off the road. A neat feature of this game is a timer that counts down from 999 and gives you unlimited lives until it reaches zero, so you can crash as often as you like in the meantime.
Driving into a weapons van interrupts the low of the music, and it stops completely when your car explodes as a result of you running off the road or being shot at by an enemy.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Spy Hunter is a great game where you see yourself driving along the road and killing enemy cars by either shooting your mounted guns at them or by ramming them off the road. In the first half of the game, you are supplied with infinite lives, allowing plenty of time for stuff-ups. What's great about the game is the variety of weapons that you can use, and the way you can enter the water and travel in your little speedboat. There is that excellent rendition of the Gunn theme and the nice terrain that changes as you further proceed in the game. Anyone who owns a Commodore-64 and are into chase games should give this one a try.
Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2013
* Game of skill and ability.
Match wits with variety of different opponents.
Armed with a cool selection of weapons in James Bond-esque/Knight Rider style to knock-out enemy agents. Oil slicks anyone!
Colorful graphics and animations.
Brilliant conversion from the arcade game with no major loss in game play.
Played for hours, but never could reach the end!
The Bottom Line
Easy to play action/arcade racing game in James Bond-esque style.
The game begins by reversing off 'weapons van' (inspired by Knight Rider?) onto the open road later goes towards waterway containing a boathouse with a speed boat.
The standard car is armed with machine gun gun, used to eliminate enemy agents. By re-entering the 'weapons van' more weapons (like a missile to take out helicopters, smoke screen, oil slick, etc) are collected.
Terrain color changes as play progresses like the road/water branches and forks, contributing to the atmosphere and speed of the game.
Enemy agents are plentiful and challenging, but not impossible with the weapons at your disposal or tactics to outmaneuver them. Some are smarter than others, like onroad - bulletproof Road Lords, deadly double-ended Switch Blades and in water - Doctor Torpedo does as the name suggestions, so does our Barrel Dumper.
Apple II · by Garcia (4822) · 2006
it goes really fast. almost too fast, but it's fun and hypnotic, as all good games are. hard to believe the arcade version came out two decades ago.
it can't keep my attention for more than a few minutes, since nothing new ever happens. even when you get to the boathouse all that changes is that you're driving on a blue background instead of grey.
The Bottom Line
a simplistic racing game that's a lot of fun but that gets boring very quickly.
NES · by Jeff Koerner (27) · 2003
1001 Video Games
The Arcade version of Spy Hunter appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
According to the magazine Retro Gamer (issue #2), the game was originally developed as James Bond licensee, but the publisher backed out because of the high licensing fees.
There is a freeware remake named Highway Pursuit released in 2003.
- Retro Gamer
- September 2004 (Issue #8) – #99 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
- May 1985 (Issue 1) - #17 'It's the Zzap! 64 Top 64!'
Related Sites +
AtariMania (Atari 2600)
for Atari 2600: downloadable release; online version; cassette inlay; advertisement; additional material
AtariMania (Atari 8-bit)
for (Atari 8-bit): downloadable release; software sets; advertisement; additional material
CPC-Power (in French)
for Amstrad CPC: game database entry; package material; manual digitalizations; downloadable releases; additional material
Cambridge Centre for Computing History
for (BBC Micro): exhibit reference ID CH4319; additional material
for C64: reviews; music; manual; cover art digitalizations; additional material
The International Arcade Museum
extensive information about the arcade game machine
World of Spectrum
for ZX Spectrum: downloadable releases; additional material including – cassete inlay, advertisement, instructions; player reviews; magazine references; magazine adverts
- MobyGames ID: 7668
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Servo.
Commodore 64 added by Quapil. ColecoVision added by PCGamer77. Browser added by HelloMrKearns. BBC Micro added by ZeTomes. Arcade, Palm OS added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. Atari 8-bit added by ZZip. ZX Spectrum added by James Glover. Antstream added by lights out party. Apple II added by RodeoInTheGreatWhiteNorth.
Game added November 3rd, 2002. Last modified October 20th, 2023.