The 80s have maintained an incredible charm and it is no coincidence that in recent times the love for that historical period has returned with overwhelming violence, so much so that dozens of development studies have pushed us to propose new chapters of beloved series, remasters, remakes or unpublished games with a strong inspiration. It is equally easy, however, to find in this slice of productions titles that are botched and unable to give the same feeling as they did then, with a number of names that have managed to fully satisfy the palate of nostalgics to be counted on the fingers of one hand. Street of Rage 4 has thrown the doors wide open with a kick to the return of 2D scrolling fighting games and now Huntdown , of which you read review, he threw himself into the fray with a choreographic roll by shooting his cartridges and hitting each one.
The nostalgic wonder
Huntdown collects fully from the imagination cyberpunk of the 80s thanks to a rainy setting made up of megacorporations, an exploited population and gangs on the streets ready to bring violence and terror wearing the worst clothes on Earth. In this atmosphere of marvelous nostalgia, with tears streaming down our face hidden by the pixellated rain, we threw ourselves headlong into the adventure, in love with protagonists that Easy Trigger has put in our hands.
Anna Conda, John Sawyer and Mow Man are three bounty hunters hired by the police to end the rule of four rival gangs scattered across four neighborhoods of the futuristic city in which we find ourselves. Our three darlings seem to have teleported directly from the films of the time, they could be Jena Plissken’s partners or go out of some alley of Blade Runner, and they seem perfect to clash with the enemies of that masterpiece of The Running Man, never praised enough. We will thus go into two-dimensional levels with a horizontal construction, lacking any verticality.
Perfect linear mazes to better focus on what Huntdown has to offer: a gameplay reduced to the bone but so effective as to be forgiven for any other deficiency. We can run, jump and shoot as in the most classic of 2D sliding shooters, with the addition of a side shot essential to avoid the fanned out of bullets that the opponents will throw at us. They will try to stop us in every way: by quickly skating towards us with shiny hockey sticks or crowbars, attacking us on a motorcycle or aboard gigantic mechs or even riding jet bikes launching us Molotov cocktails from the sky. To respond to the fire we will have a gun with infinite shots and a throwing weapon, different equipment depending on the chosen character, the only variables of a system that instead keeps the timing of the movement animations, invulnerability frames or hit points unchanged. With Anna Conda we will extract a fast machine gun and a throwing ax from the sheath, John will instead have a revolver and a boomerang and our favorite robot of the very precise kunai and a semiautomatic gun with a rate of fire managed only by our pressure speed: l perfect weapon for releasing suppressed anger.
The essentiality of the gameplay puts aside the possibility of shooting vertically or at variable angles as happens in Metal Slug limiting the game system but also allowing developers to embroider around the player always well balanced and never frustrating clashes. The difficulty curve and the possibility to choose between four difficulty levels they allow you to customize the gaming experience and the bosses are wonderful to see and deal with. Do not miss that pinch of classic trial and error of these games but every single attack pattern is easily readable in advance and the game never seems unfair, giving a truly sublime overall experience.
A mountain of enemies and weapons
With as many as four bands to clear and twenty boss to defeat before seeing the game over you will stay busy for about four or five hours depending on your ability to shoot, but you can also replay the various levels by looking for the collectible cases hidden behind destructible elements of the scenario or in the hands of special agents specialists in the escape . The enemies are so many that they never give you that sense of repetition common in games of this genre and, as soon as this is about to arrive, the stage change arrives and you start again.
Excellent also the numerous fire mouths with limited shots to be collected from the opposing corpses, from the simplest Uzi up to the assault gatling gun, all with the exact feedback that you would expect both from a sound and a graphic point of view. Excellent visual effects and animations and praise also for the soundtrack, capable as it is of collecting 8-bit reminiscences and more modern pieces. This package closes the possibility of playing in pairs with a practical local drop-in drop out system, even if, unfortunately, any online mode is missing: a small mole on a very high level production.