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     " Gather your friends around the 'box and start your 'Living Impaired' jokes… "

      Title: Hunter: The Reckoning by Interplay

      Format: X-Box Action Game

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: Taking the World of Darkness into the arena of console games, you have been chosen to fight off the hordes of undead that plague our world. Well, actually it's just one small town… but there are a ton of undead! Boasting huge battles against a ton of foes and over 20 lethal weapons, this game promises more zombie killin' than you can shake a chainsaw shaped stick at.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The graphics for the game are quite nice. Character models look fairly realistic (At some point in the future, I hope we manage the technology to get human hands to look accurate). The enemies are varied and fairly interesting. Heck some of them are downright creepy. Animations run well, with few clipping problems. The third person camera can be a problem, but name a 3rd person game where it isn't. The whole world has a run down feeling that should be fairly familiar to any World of Darkness fans. The environments are not particularly interactive. A few smashable items here and there. The levels are mostly very straightforward lines. There are the requisite places off to the side for exploration and that's about it. 4 out of 5

      Sound: The music only comes on when you're fighting a horde of undead. In other words, music is used as the games way of saying, "You're screwed". That being said, the music is actually pretty good. It carries the feeling well. The voices of the characters are rarely heard, but decent. The cut scenes are well acted. The sound effects are all nice. Ranging from zombie moans to machine gun bursts, it's all-good. Beware; the music can get a little choppy when there is a lot of action on the screen. One of the few times this game chugs on the X-Box. 3.5 out of 5

      Playability: Imagine if Gauntlet looked cool, had really awesome powers and was mostly about zombies. You're pretty well on your way to envisioning Hunter. You control one of four hunters, each with their own individual powers and styles. The game has independent moving and aiming controls (using each of the analog sticks), allowing for free run'n'gun tactics. Weapons fall under your normal weapons and special weapons. Special weapons range from flamethrowers to machine-guns. And really, who hasn't envisioned themselves running around blowing off zombie heads with a double-barreled shotgun? The game starts off high, being fairly fun. After a while, though, the non-stop avalanche of undead the game pours on you gets to be a little monotonous. I kid you not; by the end of the first couple of levels you will have killed one thousand zombies. That means that the action is non-stop, but a little overwhelming. The special powers are all fairly interesting to use, from invulnerability to circles of death. The game also incorporates some RPG elements by having character stats. These affect the damage you do and how fast you move, etc. and rise throughout the game. The only thing that may take some time to get used to is moving and shooting. You may also need some time to get used to using your special abilities. Honestly though, you'll be gunning down the living dead in no time. The game is quite simple to learn. 4 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Here the game really shines. Get four players together, each controlling one of the hunters. The range of skills and abilities tend to complement each other and the frenzied action scenes are that much better with a bunch of people going off on it. You'll have to watch out for players wandering off, or not following along though. Players who don't keep up can endanger the whole Hunter group. Especially since everybody shares lives. It's highly frustrating to lose all your lives to a shotgun-toting zombie only barely off screen because one of the groups decided to play chicken in the back. Still, multiplayer is probably the best aspect of this game. Unfortunately, there are only a few secret areas to be found. Once you've found them, there's not much reason to move on. You might feel like beating all of the missions with all of the characters, but it's not likely. All that lone zombie killin' will slow anyone down. There is also the additional problem of character advancement- or, more specifically, the fact that once your game ends your advanced character is lost to the annals of history. You can't re-use them in earlier levels, can't restart with them, and can't let other players use them in later multiplayer games. All of which are serious bummers. Rather than replaying it yourself, it is much more likely it will sit on the shelf to be brought out for parties. 3.5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: The forces of the supernatural rule the world. Werewolves, vampires, ghosts, they're all out there. Moreover, the normal people refuse to see them. Well, you're the type of guy who looks at Clark Kent and says, "Oh yeah, like a pair of glasses is going to fool me… SUPERMAN". It helps that a mysterious force has imbued you with the ability to see through supernatural disguises. This particular disturbance tells the tale of four individuals who shut down a prison a year back. Now the baddies are back and so are the hunters and everyone's ready to rumble. For those of you who actually know about White Wolf's Hunter game (the tabletop game this one is based on), the game takes some of the events from the Maelstrom (a wraith event) and plays them out. The game sticks pretty close to Hunter lore, all things considered. The story is well written, even though the ending is telegraphed like an old S.O.S. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Hunter: The Reckoning is a really fun game that stays quite true to its source material. If you're looking for a game that lets you blow the crap out of hordes of undead foes, this is definitely the game for you. Just beware, the game can wear a little tedious and you're likely going to want to get some friends over to help you dust those no good vamps.

      The Good: Zombie killin' fun at its best.

      The Bad: The game can be a little tedious at times

      The Overall Ugly: Gather your friends around the 'box and start your "Living Impaired" jokes…

      What it's Worth: Market

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