Review by Sinspawn_X

"RPG? Looks like a board game to me!"

Hey, what can I say? A1 games is one of those out-of-the-limelight developers that make some pretty decent games. Battle Hunter is no exception, although I don't exactly know why they consider it an RPG (well, I kinda do, but that's not the point). This seems to combine some slight elements of an RPG with some board game and card elements. But don't expect any Yu-Gi-Oh complexity outta this. This game is simple, and thus fun in its simplicity.

The future is NOT a fun place to live....

There really is no storyline to this game, but if you believe the manual and the back of the case, supposedly this game takes place in the near future. Apparently, all the nations of the world got really ticked at each other and unleashed Armageddon upon once-peaceful Earth. Almost all the planet's population was decimated; few survived. However, instead of working to revive the craphole that is now Earth, the survivors seem to have nothing better to do than dive deep into the ruins of old Earth and retrieve mainly-useless artifacts and get some cash off of them. However, some of the weapons used in the great war that caused this mess still lurk in the ruins, and since the people who dive down seem to be competitive, it's really not all fun and games....

If this is the future, then I'd prefer the past anyday.

One word describes the graphics of this game: bland. The ruins themselves consist mainly of randomly-arranged gray blocks. THAT'S IT! There are about 12 different character models, and 4 different monster types. Not that that's saying much. But there is some customization involved: YOU CAN CHANGE THEIR COLORS! WOOHOO! *shot*

But the graphics are really the only bad thing about this. Graphics don't make a good game. In fact, you'll be ignoring them most of the game. So it's really no big deal.

Sometimes, I like to deliberately run out of cards just so I can listen to the Gon theme.

The music in this game is superb! The vast majority are memorable. I still hum some of them to this day! My favorite by far is the music that plays when Gon appears. The music varies from punk rock to some catchy techno. It's all quite nice.

Sound effects... well, not much. Just simple buzzes, splashes, and the like. Then again, the only place where there's really any sound effects is in battle, so that's not saying much.

Lethal board games... what'll they think of next?

Battle Hunter really isn't that much of a true RPG. It's actually part RPG, part board game, and part card game (sorry, no Blue Eyes White Dragons here, though). Your main task is to go down into the ruins and retrieve whatever simple object your broker happens to have on his mind. There are eight boxes, along with you, your three competitors, and an exit, placed in random locations on the randomly-generated boards. The object of desire is inside one of those boxes; the other seven have others inside them. Your goal is to get the desired object before your opponents do and reach the exit with the item in your grasp before your opponents. However, with your opponents all out to get the same item, and with monsters appearing at random times and places on the board, it's really much harder than it seems.

In the beginning, there is a deck of 100 cards. 5 are given to each player, thus leaving 80 left. When it's your turn, you have three choices on what to do. You can either move, attack somebody on a panel adjacent to yours, or rest. If you decide to move, you can choose to use a card, which have multiple effects. For example, Blue cards allow you to move farther, while Green cards lay traps that can severely hinder your opponents (but be wary that sometimes traps are already placed in random locations on the board). After you use your card (if you choose to do so), a die will be rolled. The number of the die, added to any naturally-occurring and card-induced bonuses, gives you the amount of panels you may move. To get an item out of a box, all you need to do is move onto the panel that the box occupies, and you will automatically reap the benefits of the box. Going to the exit without the item will transport you to a random location on the board. Choosing the ''attack'' command will let you attack an opponent or monster on a panel adjacent to yours (we shall discuss the battle system later). Resting skips your turn, but compensates by healing a slight amount of HP. Only one command can be selected per turn (unless you end your move on a panel adjacent to an opponent or monster, in which you are give the option to attack them if you so desire).

Battle in this game is rather peculiar. If you choose to attack, then that's your only option. However, if you are the target, you have four options. You can counter-attack the enemy, defend against them (doubles your defense, but skips your attack), flee (allows you to escape if successful, which it rarely is. Failure results in the attacker commencing their attack and your defenses reduced to 0 for that turn), or surrendering (automatically surrender an item in your six-item inventory; only use in emergencies). Once the defender's command is selected, each participant can use a card if they wish. Red cards boost attack power, yellow increases defense, and if the defender chooses to flee, blue cards increase the chances of a successful escape. Then two dice are rolled for each player. Red dice are for the attacker, yellow for the defender. The total of the dice, along with natural and card-induced bonuses, result in the totals for both. If the attacker's is higher than defender, then the defender's total is subtracted from the attacker's, and the difference is the damage the defender takes. But if the defender's is equal to or higher then the attacker's, then the attack is void, and the defender receives 0 damage. If the defender chose to counter-attack, then the process repeats itself, with the attacker and defender switching positions. However, if the defender chose to flee, and the attacker's total is higher than the defender's, then the dice are rolled again, keeping in mind that the defender's natural defense bonuses are void. Thus, the normal attack begins, with this bonus negation in effect. Then battle ends.

Monsters will sometimes appear next to certain players, and will only attack instinctively. Each of the three primary monsters have their own attributes (for example, RAD has mad attack bonuses, while BRO has massive HP). However, the fourth monster is one you wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley. He is GON, and only appears when the deck of 80 cards is reduced to 0. He appears in a random place, and relentlessly pursues he who possesses the target item. If GON kills the person with said item, the game is automatically over, and all players lose all their cash and items. This is actually rather easy, since GON has statistics that are off the charts. Even if, by some bizarre twist of fate, you manage to kill him, he will just reappear in another place during the next turn. Thus, it is recommended you conserve your cards (unless, like me, you like the music).

Once the target item is brought to the exit, cash is given to those who did more during the battle (i.e. got more items, moved more, attacked more, etc.). A considerable cash bonus is given to the player who got the target item. Since this person is often the player who gets 1st place at the statistics screen, they often end up with the vast majority of the booty.

Occasionally, special missions are given to you to complete, like rescuing an injured person trapped in the ruins. Failing results in a Game Over for you.

One of the things I like about Battle Hunter is that for a PSX game, it's massively multiplayer. You don't even need a Multi-Tap, since it is possible to control all four players with one controller! Up to four players can compete in one match, with the empty slots controlled by computer players. It's also nice that you can load players from a Memory Card, so you can whip a level one newbie with your Level 15 fighter with an attack bonus of somewhere around 10.

Another great thing about this game is the obscene replay value. Every mission is a new adventure, since the boards AND opponents you face are randomly generate (except in said Special Missions). There are over 100 items to collect, and while the vast majority are useless, some give you status boosts, while a few others repel certain monsters. I doubt you'll get them all until your level is well into the 30's. Good luck if you dare to undergo this arduous task.

Should I buy or should I rent?

It's really a tough choice here. It's a good rent if games like this don't suit your style, but if these kind of games appeal to you, Battle Hunter's only 10 bucks, so it's cheap, even if it doesn't end up being one of your favorites.

THE MARILYN MONROE

Nice soundtrack
Innovative battle system
Well... it's different
Massively multiplayer
Obscene replay value

THE MARILYN MONROE

Graphics suck
May be too complex for some gamers
A bit hard to follow
Eventually develops into monotony unless you really like this game

Final Words

I would have given Battle Hunter a 9 or even a 10 if A1 would have worked on the graphics a little more, and if the game was a little less monotonous. But it's nice, challenging fun if your other games tend to be boring you for the time being.

FINAL SCORE: EIGHT OUT OF TEN


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/03


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