Hunter: The Reckoning (Gamecube)11 Apr 2003 0
Ah?Gauntlet. I've been a huge fan of Gauntlet since I was a wee child, pounding on the buttons at the local theater where my favorite arcade machine lived. I was more interested in Gauntlet than the movies I watched during Gauntlet's long life at that theater. It was fun to play alone, but playing Gauntlet was all about hopping on the machine with a bunch of friends, or even really tall, really imposing strangers, most of them grubby teenagers sporting 80's duds.
Of course, I'm somewhere on the other side of that proverbial hill, and Gauntlet just doesn't hold my interest as much anymore, other than the nostalgic interest I have in it. This interest has fairly well faded to a euphoric feeling that washes over me like a bite of a Peppermint Patty might, then quickly subsides. All the same, I still love the gameplay concepts of Gauntlet, and really enjoy them when they have been built upon in more modern games like Diablo II, Baldur's Gate, Dark Alliance, and Dungeon Siege.
Hunter: The Reckoning is for Nintendo Gamecube, but was first released on Microsoft's Xbox. Hunter: The Reckoning is Gauntlet dressed in macabre Armani, offering much that Gauntlet has offered for years, but when the controllers have been retired after a session, does the game offer much more? 'Read on, Macduff?.'
The thin plot in Hunter: The Reckoning is all about setting up the action. I give the developers a nod for at least attempting to instill some sort of story into the game, but there really isn't a plot to speak of, just a lot of death from point A to point B. Of course at point B resides a boss: kill the boss, go then to point C (new area). Lather, rinse, repeat, and eventually game over. That said, the universe is a nice backdrop for the action, even if the plot isn't compelling. The player chooses from four different characters: Spencer "Deuce" Wyatt, the axe-wielding biker; Samantha Alexander, sexy detective; Father Esteban Cortez, Holy Templar; and Cassandra Chyung, spiky rave chick). After choosing an on-screen avatar, it's all about taking on a crap load of zombies and the like. The idea is that only a few people in the world can see all the evil that is about all of us (kinda like Blade walking into a room full of vampires-he'll see 'em all; I would be dinner). As one of the four characters, the player is set to take back the world from the demons and such flooding into in. If it sounds cheesy?there's a reason?it is.
The graphics have been scaled back from the original Xbox version. When compared to the Xbox graphics, the graphics in Hunter: The Reckoning on Gamecube border on terrible. The textures, so sharp and layered in the original, are blurry and bland on Gamecube. Even the spell effects have been toned down. Taken as a whole, and not compared to the Xbox original, they're still only passable. There are many Gamecube titles with much higher detail in the textures and the environments. I'm not sure why so much has been lost, but the game suffers visually. There is no support for progressive scan, and I found some choppiness in multiplayer. Overall, the graphics are struggling to be average.
That's all from a technical standpoint, of course. Aesthetically, the game is as cheesy as can be, with characters, bosses and baddies all straight out of any number of bad horror movies. This is good or bad, depending on one's tastes, but I enjoyed the character designs quite a bit. It's not that any of them are wholly original, just that they are fun, and the game exudes a willingness to shun originality for some cheesy action.