Thursday, 24 September 2015

In The Hunt - Arcade


For Octobers of Redness?


While some might compare In The Hunt to the film, Hunt For The Red October, it probably isn't too far of a stretch to say that one has inspired the other but thankfully in this game, there's no Sean Connery playing a Russian Submarine commander with a Scottish accent. Scratch that, a Sean Connery accent. However the game is entirely about you BEING a submarine commander and you're taking on more sub-acquatic forces than the world actually has, three to four times over. But then it'd be boring if we just played Cold War and nobody really did anything other than promise to use and not quite use nukes on each other.

Bombs, torps, missiles, mines, icebergs... All are nasty threats here

In The Hunt shows that once again, Metal Slug has been borrowing heavily from its former employers and co-workers. It's Irem's sub acquatic baby and you can clearly see the high level of graphical detail that in later Metal Slug games might as well have taken lock, stock and barrel. Though rather than just be one level, or part of a level using a submarine, the entire game is you using a submarine to blow up boats, ships, subs, underwater tanks, helicopters, planes and jets (no those last few are not underwater, but that would be impressive nonetheless).

Sunken Stadium, a rather unique choice for a level backdrop.

Combat as such in In The Hunt, takes place in the 2D horizontal planar and has a slower moving spaceship... Submarine, that steadily cruises through the waters to fire torpedos, launch depth charges and underwater to surface missiles. The game does mix up convention in that if you are to breach the surface, your missiles now become anti-aircraft weaponry and function differently in that they can assault the skies and not blow up when they reach the surface.

This game has bosses galore, but it does limit itself in having to theme everything around an aquatic approach

Graphically, the game looks gorgeous as one might expect from the team that later started to make Metal Slug and as such In The Hunt sports some deliciously detailed and smoothly animated effects that serve as a real treat to the arcade gamer, espcially in a time period when the first few 3D games were coming out along the lines of the hardware firepower of the Playstation. There's attention, detail, precision and a lot of focus on making the game look amazing from the icey waters around icebergs, to the industrial sites and sunken cities, everything is gobsmackingly stunning and may at times catch the player out if they spend too long admiring the backgrounds and little details.

Erm... Ok... Moving along.

In that sense, In The Hunt is rather like one of those Naked Gun films in that you have to watch it time and time again to make sure you get all the jokes and the details. While there's not much in the way of jokes in In The Hunt (until you reach level 5, then it just becomes weird), there's so much going on that you could easily play through a few times and notice something different each time.

It doesn't take long before the boss level becomes "unfair"

The sound in In The Hunt does suffer somewhat in that the music just feels very out of place, it doesn't quite hold the adrenaline rush that you'd hope from a frantic boss fight, nor does the levels seem to fit with the tune and composition of the music set and associated with each particular level, it's quite the shame but thankfully a lot of it is masked with the copious amounts of explosions and attacks going on that you'll barely register the issue if at all.

All things said, In The Hunt is a hard game, if only because your movement is fairly limited and restricted in that you're slow, weapons are fast, and the eternally scrolling levels can force you into moments you'd rather not be in. It's an entertaining and fun game that will take you a good hour or so to beat but the likelihood is that you'd rather not blow all those credits on it. Well worth a play however and another glimpse at the history behind Metal Slug.