Today in retro gaming, we celebrate the release of In The Hunt for the Playstation with a lovely retro ad goodie. Come on in…the water’s teeming with terrorists!
Back in 1996, you couldn’t swing a Jaguar controller in a video game store without knocking a dozen different varieties of space-themed shooters off the shelves (and pissing off the employees). One of those twelve space shooters would have invariably been a version of R-Type, a game so notorious for kicking players’ asses that retailers sold it in conjunction with butt pillows and hemorrhoid cream. Water-themed shooters, on the other hand, had the exact opposite problem in that they either didn’t exist or sucked so horribly (The Hunt For Red October and Sqoon, anyone?) you wished they didn’t. Irem, seeing no reason not to inflict their extreme form of gluteal-thrashing agony on an entirely new demographic, decided enough was enough. Thus was born In The Hunt.
In The Hunt was more than just a water-based shooter though. In The Hunt wanted to raise your consciousness . You see, evil bad terrorists from the Dark Anarchy Society right here on earth weren’t content with the occasional political rant or threatening video posted to YouTube. Oh no, they meant business. So much business in fact that to make their point they melted the polar ice caps, causing the equivalent of the Biblical flood to happen in about 40 minutes as opposed to 40 days. What little humanity was left survived by building new cities atop the water-logged remains of their old ones, while the dicks of the Dark Anarchy Society with their vastly-superior underwater technology flourished in the aftermath. Global Warming is bad, m’kay?
But, as is the case in every shooter ever made, the good guys have one shot at victory: a high-tech, battle-ready submarine piloted by a lone maniac captain into enemy territory to exact horrible, drowning revenge on the DAS. That maniac is you–hello, sailor!
For all intents and purposes, In The Hunt is R-Type’s shooter mechanic crossed with the stage designs of Metal Slug making for one of the most beautiful side-scrolling SHMUPS available on a 32-bit system. Your little sub that could sinks everything in sight (alone or with the help of a buddy) through six stages of peril and mayhem, upgradings its weapons and laying waste to millions of dollars’ worth of DAS technology. Cool! Released in March of 1996, it’s become something of a collector’s item, especially in its original long box format, thanks to its gorgeous sprite-based artwork and excellent controls. This one’s well worth the asking price.