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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Interplay

 

Developer

High Voltage

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Great multiplayer action and good single-player

- Solid graphics and sound

- Nostalgic nods but solid in its own right

 

 

- Limited camera control

- Grabbing some aspects of the control can take a bit of time if you’re not familiar with it

 

 

Review: Hunter: The Reckoning (XBox)

Review: Dynasty Warriors 3 (Playstation 2)

Review: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (Gamecube)

 

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Hunter: The Reckoning

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Ask yourself two questions: Do you like zombie-filled games but find the action of Resident Evil a bit slow?  Do you remember fondly the action of classics like the original Gauntlet, Smash TV and Robotron?  Answer, “Yes,” to either then Hunter: The Reckoning (H:TR) is the game for you.  And if you’re into multiplayer action – even better.  H:TR features some of the best multiplayer action around (and is far more intense than, say, Mario Party 4).

 

hunter-reckoning-gamecube-1.jpg (38330 bytes)          hunter-reckoning-gamecube-2.jpg (42586 bytes)

 

H:TR takes its cues from White Wolf Publishing’s pen and paper games, but since I’ve never played one of these pen and paper games the point is kind of moot.  But I’m told by reliable sources H:TR does a good job of bringing it to gamedom.

 

Regardless, H:TR begins as all hell is breaking loose in the town of Ashcroft.  Apparently, the vampire overlords of the prison and/or some restless souls have ripped some kind of hole in the fabric separating the living and the dead.  The Hunters – the playable characters – arrive in town to make things right (something they obviously failed to do the first time since this is a re-occurrence as the opening movie indicates).  They have their work cut out for them as the place is crawling with the undead, abominations and other unworldly creatures.

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Laying waste to this Army of the Damned is no small task but to help, each character comes with a melee and ranged weapon (with infinite ammo), and a small battery of powerful Edges (read: magic) that imbue various attack and defense bonuses (and some cool lighting effects).  This is to say nothing of the other weapons available, like flamethrowers, machine guns, and flesh-ripping chainsaws.  The Hunters are well equipped to say the least.

 

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Learning to manage your mini-armory takes a bit of time though and using the default right trigger button to attack can result in a cramped index finger.  Actually, a cramped finger is almost a given if you have big hands since the actionis non-stop.  Those not familiar with using one stick to move and the other to shoot, might have a bit more learning to do but after a while you’ll be slashing down zombies with the best of them.

 

The available characters should feel familiar and take a few cues from the classic Gauntlet games: the towering and brutish but slow, Spenser “Deuce” Wyatt (read: Warrior); the relatively weak but magically gifted, Father Esteban Cortez (read: Wizard); the speedy but weak raver, Kassandra Cheyung (read: Elf); and the most balanced character, Samantha Alexander (read: Valkerie).  Experience points are accrued along the way, making the Hunters even more powerful with upgraded Edges.  But even with all this power, there’s still plenty of challenge.  (And if you think there’s not enough challenge, unlock Nightmare mode!)

 

Providing a bit of a complication is the game camera.  Although there are various zoom levels, the view cannot be rotated.  Neither is it self-adjusting to bring your on-screen character into view when blocked by a building, tree or whatever.  It can result in unnecessary death and backtracking.  This situation doesn’t happen too often across the 20+ levels – killing monsters, rescuing people – as it’s mostly wide-open space with a minimum of view-blocking scenery.  However, the Xbox version was released months before H:TR arrived on GameCube so it’s a little annoying there was nothing done to eliminate the problem totally by fading any view-blockers temporarily so you can always see what you’re doing.

 

hunter-reckoning-gamecube-3.jpg (37860 bytes)          hunter-reckoning-gamecube-4.jpg (30190 bytes)

 

H:TR looks very good and the action remains smooth no matter how many baddies are on-screen.  Explosions are satisfying and, it may be a minor point but, H:TR has the coolest transition between menus.

 

The single-player game is quite good but H:TR’s real strength lies in the multiplayer.  Nothing quite beats lining up three friends and hacking zombies to bits.  You’ll have to use teamwork, no doubt about it.  The difficulty seems to actually increase rather than decrease when more than one player is involved (something Lee noted in his review of the Xbox version).  It’s equal parts nostalgia and present day.

 

With Hunter: The Reckoning you get what you pay for.  It’s wicked bloody fun with a group (even with the slight downsides).  At the very least, it’s worth a rental for when out-of-town friends are over and you want some quality gaming.

 

- Omni

(January 17, 2003)

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