Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Still Hunt (PC)

It's been a long time since I last wrote about a Korean game. It was one of the first posts on this blog, in fact: Uzu Keobukseon for Mega Drive. I don't know why it's been such a long time, but here's another Korean work.
It's a blatant "homage" to Treasure's famous debut Gunstar Heroes, and it's possibly a bit better better than the other GH homage, Gunner's Heaven/Rapid Reload for Playstation.
So, it's a running and shooting game, then. You can choose from two characters, Jean and Houn, who have the same default weapons, but they each have three collectible weapons (though you can only have one of the collectible weapons at a time). All the weapons can also be levelled up by using them a lot too, so you'll probably want to find the weapon you like most and stick with it. They also each have a few excluive stages, which is nice. Their respective versions of the second stage are especially notable, as Jean has a stage in which he flies via jetpack, while Houn rides across the sea on a futuristic jetski.
If you want an easy ride through the game, pick Jean. One of his collectible weapons, appropiately named the "Exploder" is a fast-shooting missile launcher whose shots leave explosions that linger and cause damage to enemies for a few seconds, and it burns through boss lifebars like nobody's business.
Whichever character you pick, the game itself is a lot of fun to play, it's fast, there's lots of enemies and explosions everywhere, and it's neither punishingly hard or tediously easy. There are only two major flaws: the first is that for a lot of the stages (especially the earlier ones), there's pretty much no level design. You just run from left to right, shooting enemies as you go until you reach the end. The second flaw is that once you get a few stages in, the enemies take just a tiny bit more damage than I'd like. That one's not really a huge deal-breaker, but it does kind of break the flow a little.
The graphics and music are both really great. The graphics have nice, big, colourful sprites, and look like they could be from an early Saturn or Playstation game (like the aforementioned Rapid Reload), and the music has a nice Mega Drivey feel to it.
I should mention the lengths to which I went to get this game running on a modern (well, Windows XP) computer. Obviously, for a game so old, DOSBOX was a necessity to get it to run. Then there was the question of mapping the controls to my USB Saturn pad, which not only required the use of Joy-to-Key, but also, since the game uses the numberpad for the directional keys, and I'm on a netbook with no number pad, I had to use the On-Screen Keyboard to map them. And finally, there's the copy protection! Before the game loads, you have to bet on who will come first, second and third in a race between seven Haro-like robot things (that also appear in the game itslef as power-ups). There are 100 possible outcomes to these races, and I assume the original game came with a sheet or booklet listing them all. Luckily, the list of results isn't hard to find on the internet, and once you have that, you can play the game without worries.
Despite all these shenanigans, Still Hunt is definitely worth playing. Like I said before, it's fast, pretty and explosionful.

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