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US Gold Ltd
1985
Arcade: Vehicle Combat
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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42,43
Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

Another oldster dug up by US Gold's cheapie offshoot Kixx, Spy Hunter actually features the coyright date 1983 on its cassette inlay - a brave move in today's novelty-obsessed market. But even though Spy Hunter is older than Bob Monkhouse and has been on even more compilations than Wizard's Lair, it's still thoroughly playable in a gnarled sort of way. It's interesting, too, to see that road racing games with guns didn't start with Road Wars.

Spy Hunter, if rather more modest in intention than the later blasters, doubles as a mildly diverting shoot 'em up as well as a racer. Seen from helicopter level, the game charts your attempts to shoot - or at least overtake - everything in sight, while remaining resolutely alive yourself. If this sounds a bit like an episode of Highwayman without the hairstyles, that's not too far away. Occasionally you switch from Spy Car to Spy Boat, and it's off for a merry fizz on the river - if you can avoid the barrels, torpedoes and so forth. It's good unpretentious fun, with one unforgiveable gub, once the game is over, you have to load up from scratch. Tut, tut, Kixx - get your act together.

6/10