Three years ago, MGM Interactive was nothing more than a punch line in the world of video games. It's first "game," Blown Away, was based on the Jeff Bridges/Tommy Lee Jones cinematic bomb and managed to do worse than the film. The high-profile "interactive movie" CD-ROM offered little in the way of gameplay. After that, MGM Interactive still existed, only it seemed like it was lying low, only releasing a title here and there. Machine Hunter for the PlayStation offers the most gameplay of any title MGM has published to date. Unfortunately, it still can't compete with the majority of games out there.
The premise of Machine Hunter is basic: It's the future, you're this guy, and you have a number of things to shoot at. Okay, so maybe the "sci-fi" storyline is a bit deeper than that, but it really doesn't figure prominently into the game, other than the fact that you get to inhabit a variety of machines throughout the game's levels. All this sets you up for an all-out gore fest as you put holes in a variety of organic and mechanical enemies in the game's assorted levels.
Machine Hunter plays almost exactly like the old PlayStation stinker Loaded, though it has a few improvements (mainly the graphics). The game uses the "each button shoots in a different direction" layout, and you spend the majority of your time getting used to it as you spin yourself around (you can face in any direction, but you can only really shoot in four directions, which vary depending on which way you're facing). It gets confusing, but once you're into the game, it's very easy to blast stuff - except for in two-player mode, which incorporates an annoying split screen.
Machine Hunter looks good for a shooter, but it just doesn't really compare to the bulk of the PlayStation games on the market. The prerendered movies are excellent, but once the gameplay starts, you get the feeling that this is old territory (even the light sourcing techniques seem dated). The soundtrack is fairly standard as well, not adding much excitement to the game. The ante has been upped in terms of presentation on the PlayStation, and this game just isn't that impressive.
Is the game any fun though? If you love overhead shooters, you may want to check out Machine Hunter - it provides a decent challenge that will occupy your time. But most die-hard fans will be a lot happier dusting off their copy of the original Loaded and re-experiencing one of the best PlayStation action games to date.