Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


spyhunternwtr1ps2.jpg (165005 bytes)Dwayne Johnson's appearance in the latest Spy Hunter games puts him close to 20 video game appearances including the plethora of WWE titles during his pro wrestling run. This latest entry is based off a film of the same name, one that has been put on hold in pre-production. This marks a first for both the game and movie industry, where an actor has completed his role in a video game before filming actually started. It's a shame the game wasn't held back for some extra polish.

Derivative in every way, Nowhere to Run features Midway's classic Interceptor vehicle piloted by The Rock. With the now standard array of gadgets including oil slicks, tire spikes, smoke screens, missiles and machine guns, these linear "blow up everything" segments capture a small portion of what brought the series to this point. It barely feels like the recent Spy Hunter remake from 2001 (and its lesser follow up in 2003).

Controls are touchy at best, and for a game always based around speed, being brought to a dead stop is against everything this series has been famous for. It's even possible to spin around this time. While the levels are linear, there's still room to maneuver and re-check a section you blew by. It takes away from the typical Spy Hunter experience.

Changes continue as third person on foot sequences follow soon after some initial vehicle blasting. Running through various locales, these human based romps are a case of multiple identities. Using either fists or guns, players take out various foes too stupid for their own good. Stealth is recommended; yet running full speed into a room neither increases nor decreases the challenge.

Using bare fists reveals an impactful beat-em-up engine. As an added bonus, when the pummelings cause an enemy to keel over, a finishing move based off The Rock's wrestling career can be performed. The audio creates the brutal final piece to make these moves hard to watch.

spyhunternwtr2ps2.jpg (140938 bytes)Gunplay is also included, and this is where the on-foot sections lose their momentum. Thanks to a cumbersome control scheme and plodding pace, guns do not fit the design. Switching from hands to guns takes too long, aiming takes an extra second, and trying to decide which enemy to take down adds another period of time before a shot is fired. It's easier to dive towards whatever enemy you're facing and beat him senseless.

Standard backtracking and mundane puzzles flesh out the generic adventure portions. In-car, the game is pure action. There's a definite difference in feel as the vehicle morphs into new forms, something previous editions had trouble capturing. Level design is more concerned with creating mass damage than a decent driving engine though. The feeling of speed on the tiny motorcycle is barely captured.

While there are flashes of a solid game, Nowhere to Run picks up where the disappointing Spy Hunter II left us. The exterior is too bland, the story is uninteresting and the game doesn't benefit from its star. It screams average, and it doesn't leave much hope for the film is it ever starts filming.


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Last updated: Monday, October 09, 2006 09:52 PM