Review: Spy Hunter (3DS)

Spy Hunter for the Nintendo 3DS is turning out like the game’s story: You’d want to enjoy it, but the game keeps saying, “you can’t.”

Spy Hunter was born as a arcade game involving vehicular combat in 1983. It has seen its share of good follow-ups and bad sequels, plus the fact that Midway Games went into liquidation. Warner Bros. subsequently picked up many of the company’s assets and produced this particular reboot of Spy Hunter.

The game opens with the introduction of you and the Interceptor once again. Naturally, you go behind the wheel and take it for a spin until the baddies barge in and try to take it for themselves, like that’s going to happen. The Interceptor is built with weapons that point to your front, back, sides and on the roof, offering some manner of protection for your car. I particularly loved the use of the Shocker, electric pads that will get the enemy off your sides.

The general objective is to get from your starting point, clear missions and survive on your six power cores while heading towards your final destination, which is pointed out to you in an unhelpful blip that resets itself because your actual destination is 5000m away.

The vehicle is also capable of turning into a off-roader and a aquatic vehicle automatically. Certain missions will require you to enter a semi-truck and take out enemies ahead using a UAV to call for detonations or air strikes.

Spy Hunter falters in relying on the Circle Pad controls by default for steering. One bad twitch on the little nub and your car will spin, not something you want when you are already spinning after taking a hit from an enemy behind you, and stopping to readjust yourself on the road makes you a sitting duck. The controls, thankfully, can be swapped out for the control pad that gives you a more precise tap-to-turn-slightly option.

Your game will also be interrupted by the on-screen chatter from HQ that halts the game so they know you’re listening. I’d ask for them to convey their messages vocally, but your audio signal will be interrupted by a unknown voice, who’s garbled voice does not help being in a low quality audio playback. Spy Hunter is known for the Peter Gunn theme, which it delivers, along with a soundtrack you can work a car chase with.

While the game gets merit for delivering explosive action in the form of breakaway cars and falling props, the actual graphics of Spy Hunter on the 3DS are what you would see from a vehicular game on the Nintendo DS, which also makes the game’s opening fancy pre-rendered trailer redundant. However, the 3D stereoscopic graphics adds a sense of depth that is solidly worked around the game’s environment.

Having played and enjoyed the tough-as-beans original one so much, Spy Hunter for the Nintendo 3DS does bring the action back as an worthwhile reboot of the series, only to be marred by problems with the default steering and bad audio.

The Good
  • Plenty of action driving around on semi-linear routes being hunted down by enemies.
  • Worthy choice of weaponry, although some become favourites almost instantly.
The Bad
  • Murky audio and game-interrupting text kills the momentum of the game.
  • Bad Circle Pad steering would’ve spoiled steering experience, saved by D-Pad control option.


Spy Hunter is a vehicular-combat game developed by TT Fusion and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the Nintendo 3DS as well as the PS Vita.