Review by Retro
"Kind of like Where's Waldo meets Go Fish"
People like finding things that they know are somewhere around, but that are hidden. Just think about it. We all grew up playing hide 'n seek with friends when we were a kid, and when we were forced by our teachers in elementary school, one of our favorite kinds of books to check out were the Where's Waldo ones. You could also throw more classic games, such as Go Fish or Marco Polo into this list somewhere.
Hunt & Score is a fun matching game that you can play solo or alongside a friend in two-player action. Depending on which variation you're playing, there is either a matrix of 16 or 30 cards, or squares, on the screen to begin with. Each square holds an overturned symbol such as a table and chair, a television, birds, a face that always reminded me of Smokey the Bear, cars, sailboats, ladybugs, a rabbit that looks to be ready to draw a pair of guns out of his pockets at any second, and more.
Eight different games are included in Hunt & Score's compact cartridge; four of which are one-player games, while the other four are two-player. In the first kind of game (and in all the two-player games for that matter), you and your opponent just take turns trying to make the most matches. In all of the one-player games, it's literally you against yourself. Every time you don't make a match, the score on the right will increase by one, but if you do make a match, your score will go up. The last kind of game features the almighty ''one card fits all'' wild cards. When you happen to run up on a square that has WILD engraved on it, you get to choose any other square for an instant match.
Playing the game of Hunt & Score is about as simple as the game's layout. All you have to do is select two different blocks and hope that they match. If they do, you get to take another turn until you miss, and you get some valuable points (1 or 2 points, depending on whether the difficulty switch is occupying the space of A or B on the Atari 2600 console). If your two selections are not identical twins, then you'll either get another try or it'll be your opponent's turn, depending on whether you're playing a one or two-player game.
When a pair of cards are successfully matched together, both of them will vanish from the boards without a trace, leaving a couple of empty blank spaces in their absence. Once all the cards are gone, the game ends, and in typical Atari 2600 fashion, the screen will start changing colors every few seconds. Whoever has the most points when the game becomes extinct can hail themselves as the winner. If a tie is the end result, you and your friend might become hell-raising enemies by arguing and fighting over who is the champ. Unfortunately, there is no tiebreaker or overtimes included to settle the draws.
So how are the graphics? What graphics? Hunt & Score doesn't really have any major visuals. The graphics just consist of the squares, the scores, a background of a certain color, and the symbols on the square-shaped blocks. Everything looks real simplistic, but I am impressed with the symbols. The castle icons, cars, table and chairs, etc., are all neatly drawn, and even memorable. Hunt & Score only has two sounds that it can call its own. When you make a successful match, some cheerful music that consists of beeps will play for a few seconds. If you don't make a match, a hauntingly dark tune will taunt your wrong selection. These couple of sounds aren't anything spectacular, but I've always liked them a lot.
I know I've said in quite a few of my reviews of Atari 2600 games that the controls are as easy as they can get. Perhaps I was wrong with a few of them. With Hunt & Score, the controls really are as easy as possible. All you have to do is press buttons on the Keyboard Controller. The asterisk (*) button is used to erase the numbers. To make a selection, just press the number(s) on the controller that correspond to the numbered square you want to pick, and then press the number (#) key to make your selection. That's all.
Hunt & Score has great replay value because it's a title that takes a kind of game that has always been popular (matching...such as playing Go Fish), and makes it even more enjoyable. Another thing that boosts up its replay value to scary heights is the fact that the symbols are always in a different position than they were before. For instance, play the first game and a rabbit might be in the #8 square, but next time you play the same game, a flying saucer or other item could be occupying the #8 slot. That's essential, and awesome at the same time.
Like the majority of the Atari 2600 games in my collection, I have libraries full of memories from playing Hunt & Score. Growing up, just about all I did was play video games with my older brothers, and by myself when they weren't around. Hunt & Score was easily one of the games that we played the most. Playing it now, over 15 years later, brings back a bunch of timeless memories that will never be forgotten, and the game is still just as fun as ever. Isn't that what defines a classic?
Just as long as you bring a halfway decent memory along with you and you know how to press buttons, you can enjoy playing Hunt & Score. There's no fast-paced action or quests to pursue, just a fun matching game that can minorly test parts of your brain while also proving to be enjoyable. If you'd like to own a fun matching/memory game, then track down Hunt & Score. If you hunt this game down, you will score by finding a game that will prove to be fun and enjoyable for many years and decades to come.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/19/02, Updated 03/22/03
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