Battle Hunter, the latest strategy game by value-driven software developer A1Games is an easy-to-learn, yet addictive, trek into dungeon-based treasure collecting and RPG-style character development. The premise behind the game is a simple one. As a hunter, your job is to explore tiled dungeons, as you compete head-to-head with three other hunters to find and escape with the desired relic. If one of the other hunters succeeds in finding the object first, your task is to eliminate him or her by whatever means necessary. This can include a frontal assault or a cunning use of traps. Combat, movement, defense, and the setting of traps are all handled in a card format. Each turn, your character rolls a die and adds the modifier from one of his cards to this number. If a six is rolled, for example, and a plus-2 movement card is used, your character can stroll up to eight tiles away. Combat is made more random by doubling the random factor, with two dice instead of one. Numerical totals are compared between the opposing sides, and the side with the greater total wins out and gets its attack or escape off. Thrown into the mix are random traps and doggedly determined monsters that act as wild cards, and these must be dealt with by all characters in the vicinity.
Battle Hunter places you in the role of an animelike 2D sprite, modeled after a number of popular stereotypical characters from the 2D RPG genre. Your can choose to have your hunter appear as one of many sprites including a visored robot, a spiky-haired adventurer, a goggled explorer, or even as a trench coat wearing mystery man, complete with twin handguns and the trademark wind-blowing effect. Your character's abilities in the dungeons are modified by how you select his or her statistics of attack, defense, movement, and hit points. Characters can thus be made to be excellent combatants or excellent sprinters, and your choice of play style will dictate how fast-paced and combat-oriented your games will be.
Graphically, Battle Hunter has borrowed and simplified much of its style from such 2D RPGs as Suikoden, while using a tile-based, random dungeon playfield that is reminiscent of Solstice on the NES. In between dungeon crawls, you can trade, argue, and learn from your boss, or you can level up and heal with the help of a nurse; each is represented by anime still images. Battle Hunter features some really attractive background music that brings back memories of the rock ballads of video games of yesteryear. The sound effects are passable, and the overall presentation is streamlined and enjoyable in that it lets you jump right into the game with no fuss.
Battle Hunter is by no means revolutionary or a graphical showcase, but the quirky attack animations, the many different missions and monsters, and the complete lack of load times allow for a painless strategic experience. Better yet, Battle Hunters includes an incredibly competitive multiplayer game for up to four players in a round-robin match of kill the man with the ball. If you're not the type to write off a game based solely on its graphics, and you are looking for an inexpensive, very retro strategy title and also enjoy simple, attribute-based character development, then the world of Battle Hunter wouldn't be a bad place to spend some time.