(-) some of the missions are too trial-and-error based
I don't know a whole lot about the classic Spyhunter, I actually just picked this game out because I've always been a sucker for the vehicular combat genre. But from the back of the description I clearly misinterpreted the true core of the game, but stumbled into something else that doesn't seem that half bad either.
Your gameplay here is based on various missions where you drive a car and drive to the goal while performing various different objectives. The game starts by simple asking you to avoid civilian casualties, use your boost (feels pretty tacked on from Need For Speed) to clear a certain amount of feet, and use your weapons to destroy targets. Then you move on to more complex missions such as defending an ally from destructive forces and using the GPS tracker to navigate through hidden lasers. As the missions progress their first time they do seem like a trial and error learning method, because there are so many varied missions and it can be difficult to get everything down correct the first time. I found it sort of frustrating repeating the same levels and correcting every little mistake I made in order to clear all the primary and secondary missions. And using the civilian car to drive out from that shelter in a time limit was by far the worst, having to take new paths every time and sometimes the time limit ended about the time I exited the door. Disappointing, but eventually I worked my way up from there. You only need to pass the primary missions to clear the level, but you need a certain amount of points to unlock the next mission so you also need to clear the secondary missions. But lucky for you repeating the missions actually has some good replay value. I especially like redoing the beginning missions for certification and the advanced certification which is essentially the same missions but with some added details for the difficulty.
The controls are mostly spot on. I prefer to use the direction pad to the analog stick. Choosing and firing weapons is done by the shoulder buttons. And using radar and GPS involves your actual shape buttons like circle and triangle.
The graphics are good but nothing that stands out in the PS2 market. Your automobile has some nice detail and the environments were given care but not much of that counts because you're moving to fast to pay attention to it anyway. I have heard however that the Gamecube version was given some downgraded graphics for some unknown reason, I wouldn't know though because I've never played it.
Even though the single player campaign mode seems by itself a good bit to offer, the game also has an answer if you want to go head to head with a friend. There are different modes depending on the levels you completed in story mode. There is an all-out race mode, where you're pretty much firing weapons at the other player and destroying them an infinite amount of times to slow them down, until they do the same to you, until someone reaches the check point. That mode I found to be very intense. There's also Globe trotter, which all that is based upon is whoever passes through the most GPS marks wins. And this last mode really has me scratching my head; chicken hunter? The player who destroys the most chickens wins? How random is that? Maybe just a case of comic relief. I wasn't disappointed by the mode, it was actually quite fun. It just caught me off guard because I didn't know where it came from.
Spyhunter is a great buy. You have a good balance of offense and defense mechanisms in your arsenal for an intense single player mode as well as more than a little bit to offer for multiplayer. But from what I heard, you'll be disappointed by Spyhunter 2's uneven difficulty and unfair missions. But even still, this game has a lot to offer for hardcore and casual gamers alike.