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Developer Eurocom Options
Distributer MGM Interactive/Eidos 1-2 Player
Game Type Shooter Password
Review Date February 1998 Analog Control
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Setting the Scene
Ever just want to unload on someone? Having a bad day and feel semi-postal? Need to just get your aggressions out on something? Well look no further! Machine Hunter is a regular blast feast that will surly get you back in the right frame of mind.

Set in a rather dismal future (aren't they all?), earth is now all but drained of it's natural resources. Robots are created to begin excavating resources from Mars to help replenish our dying planet. Suddenly, an alien invasion is mounted on Mars and the robots there are reprogrammed to do the bidding of the invaders. Fearing a possible attack on Earth, special task forces known as the 'Machine Hunters' are created. The MH's are equipped with a suit that enables the wearer to mentally and physically inhabit a powered down robot. The task force is sent to Mars to try and stop the aliens and the renegade robots and so begins the hunt.

Machine Hunter is an action packed top-down perspective shooter style game.

The graphics in Machine Hunter are dark and moody, fitting in perfectly with the overall atmospheric / futuristic feel to the game. Your view is from a top down perspective with several camera angles to choose from such as rotating, fixed and tilted with some combinations of each.

The details of the environments are quite stunning to the eyes. Extensive, and I do mean extensive use of light sourcing is used throughout the game. Vapor weapons used by some of the creatures slowly dissolve as it tracks down a corridorhuge chunks of flaming molten lava spit up from a lava bed and then rain down on the screen and all of the walls are appropriately done with light and shadowing effects. Large explosions are also nicely done and are followed with a neat little rippling effect.

Excellent scrolling techniques are used to move all of the action around effortlessly with minimal slowdown. Only on some very busy screens with loads of characters and weapons firing simultaneously did I notice even a hint of sluggishness.

Character definition is done pretty good for a top down shooter as well. Hostages are easily distinguishable from the enemy, and the animation of the characters is quite unique. Shooting an enemy is greatas you hit one, they tend to stumble backwards and ultimately crumble to the floor with a puddle of blood forming around them. Walk through the gore and your character leaves bloody little footprints behind you for a few steps.

Overall, the graphics in this game are very well done and fit the game appropriately.

Sounds and Effects
Very nicely done weapon sound effects abound in this game. You get the "thwep, thwep thwep" sound when firing and a nice gooey, squish sound when you connect with an enemy. Depending on where you are firing from, you also get varying degrees of echoing. There are loads of other sound effects as wellall nicely done and effective.

The music is futuristic and matches the game nicely, but tends to get rather repetitive during each level. It doesn't get too annoying as it is mostly mood type music and remains at a lower volume when compared to the sound effects for the most part.

There is also an announcer's voice that alerts you went shutdown is eminent or a level has been completed, etc. Nothing real intrusive here.

Upon first glance one might think that this game is just a rip-off of the game Loaded. Yes, there is a lot of gratuitous violence and the top down view and presentation is very reminiscent of that shooter, but the similarities pretty much end there. While it seems that Loaded was certainly an inspiration for Machine Hunter, the strategy aspects and depth of this game pretty much set it apart.

Machine Hunter is a mission/goal based shooter that places the gamer in a violent and desperate future. You play the role of a Machine Hunter; a human with a special suit that enables the bearer to assume the mental and physical characteristics of a robot once it has been defeated in combat. There are nine classifications of robots that you will come into contact with while journeying through various worlds. Each one has it's own attributes, strengths and weaknesses. Bonding with a robot is probably one of your primary goals early on in the game as it gives you more protection and loads more fire power that your puny human form. Besides all that, it's just plain cooler motoring around in a robot shell!

As I had stated earlier, Machine Hunter is mission based. You have 16 missions to complete, each with their own primary objective. Examples of some missions are as follows:
Collect explosive devices for two mine sub-worlds. Locate the furnace on sub-world 2 and plant the explosives. Find the exit lift on sub-world 1 before detonation.
Collect explosive devices for two mine sub-worlds. Locate the furnace on sub-world 2 and plant the explosives. Find the exit lift on sub-world 1 before detonation.

That's just a sample of what to expect. Along the way you also need to rescue as many hostages as you can. They will be the ones waving their arms madly above their heads. To complete a mission you have to mow down hordes of nasty creatures, and often need to blast up certain walls to create an exit or path. These areas are usually pretty obvious, so the frustration factor of finding a path is minimized.

Enemy's come in many forms and sizes from the lowly ground grub to the rather large aliens. To survive the attacks, different methods must be deployed for success. Some creatures you will want to charge right in and waste, while others require an attack and fallback strategy. I also like the fact that you can inhabit the robot bodies after you defeat them. This adds an element to your strategy, because when there are several different Classes of robots on screen at the same time, you need to determine which one will suit your needs, and be careful not to pass over one that you don't want.

Power-ups are scattered all around for you to find. Some will increase your weapons from a grade 1 to a grade 2 or 3. These last for as long as you survive in that current body. Other power-ups will increase you health. Secondary weapons are also littered about. Some of these weapons are brutal. One particularly nasty device is a spike ball that circle around your character, totally smashing everything it touches.

Another player can also be thrown into the mix for cooperative gaming action. In this mode, you have the option of making your weapon fire friendly or deadly to the other player. Things can get pretty hectic in this game, so it's also fun to include a friend to assist you throughit also adds another element of gameplay.

The only drawbacks that I found with the game was that #1 - the control really didn't suit me at all. The directional pad is used to move the player while the buttons aim your fire. For example, pressing the triangle key sends your fire up, the circle to the right and so on. During a heated battle, I often found myself getting wasted because I was all over the place with my aim. I could never really get it down to the point where I would consider myself an efficient shooter. Switching to the Sony analog certainly helps to tighten things up a bit but overall the control could have been better! #2 - No memory card support? Damn, I hate writing down multiple letter password codesI always end up losing them anyway. Otherwise I could find very little else wrong with the title. It's not something that I normally go to pull off the shelf first, but once I pop it in I get absorbed into the action for hours at a time.

Value for Money
You are presented with 16 considerably long missions. Some are very tough and will take time to complete. In addition, you can always go back and try to get hostages that you may have foregone the first time around or find secrets that you may have missed. Overall though, I would think the replay value of this game would be around average. Once you're done, in all likelihood you are done.

GRAPHICS: Good A very well made game. It adds some strategy elements to a basic top-down shooter format. If anything, this game probably resembles Project: Overkill more than Loaded because of its mission based objectives. Overall though, if you enjoyed either of those two games you will probably love this one. It takes the top-down shooter up another notch with the graphical detail and environment layout.
SOUND: Average
VALUE: Average

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