BOTHERER ARCHIVE
the writings of a mind

Title: B-HUNTER
Genre: ACTION/STRATEGY
Big Word: Stingy
Strap: B is for Bounty. Not Bee. Or Buffalo. Or Balloon.

And here I resist photocopying regions of my anatomy and sticking the results together to create a life-size 2D replica of myself. Okay, I didnít resist, but Iím keeping it.

If you cast your minds back five months, you may remember Kieronís emotional, and very public break-up with Descent 3. Splashed across the pages of Gamer were sordid details of how Descent had forgotten its true playability, hiding instead behind superficial layers of makeup and perfume. And how this had broken the poor manís heart. You would assume that any potential new courtiers would bear this in mind. When B-HUNTER arrived in the office, Kieron wouldnít even join it for coffee.

Let us explain. From Dutch developers Midas, B-HUNTER is a futuristic car shooter, set in an over populated metropolis where crime has gotten out of hand. (Does this ring any bells?) You play a maverick bounty hunter Ė one of the new justice keepers - equipped with a floating car and some guns. So to translate, itís the plot from G-Police, with an attempt at recreating Descentís handling. And failing.

B-HUNTER is a troubled brain-mess of a game, due to a horrid lack of developer effort. Not a drip of imagination has been put into the story line, employing every futuristic clichť from here to Bladerunner, yet without creating anything original. Even the date, 2098, is only one year from G-Policeís setting, dammit.

Getting started is near impossible. The manual is a hastily compiled lucky-dip of half instructions and typos, giving you no hint as to how to actually play. Once inside the game, setup is extraordinarily muddled, making assigning keys a suitable entry qualification for The Carol Vorderman Club for Brainies. However, if you get this far you will be rewarded with a couple of tutorials. Here they are, at our expense, for you:

  1. Go and shoot the flying thing with the white box around it.
  2. Go and shoot the faster flying thing with the white box around it.
  3. Well done, you are on your own now.

So there you are, flying around monotone city environments in your barely controllable ship, on your own now. At this point it is absolutely guaranteed, beyond a question of a shadow of a doubt, that you WILL, without dispute, get that frame of mind where you start shooting at everything just to see what happens. After which you will die.

There are the ingredients of a good game here. Unfortunately they are somebody elseís ingredients hastily thrown together, without following the recipe. If G-Police was steak, then this is beans on toast.

Margin Note:
How hard?

Difficulty levels not only affect the skill of your opposition, but also change the handling of your vehicle. On hard, your car is an uncontrollable lunatic bent on its own destruction. Set to medium it is equally suicidal, but with less panache. And when put on easy you are merely behind the wheels of an ice cube, with ice cubes for wheels, on ice.

Verdict:
 B-HUNTER is a big olí rip off, that fails to add anything to the world. Other than an amusing rhyme.

Score:
 51%

Tech Specs:

Publisher: Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Midas
Price: £30
Minimum System: P133, 32Mb RAM, 3D card, 20Mb HD
Recommended: P200
Multi-player: network/modem
Web Address: www.gamesarena.com