Four Years Down the Drain

Fugitive Hunter War on Terror
Developer: Black Ops
Publisher: Encore
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 11/18/2003

Fugitive Hunter is a result of four years of hard work. So how come Black Ops has brought out a first person shooter that looks the exact opposite? In Fugitive Hunter the player takes the role of Lieutenant Jake Seaver. Lt. Seaver works for the Alpha team of the Criminal Interdiction and Fugitive Recovery task force, or CIFR for short. Congress created CIFR due to the rising terrorist activity in the world. As a member of CIFR Lt. Seaver must hunt down and capture terrorist leaders alive. The game begins at the Afghan/Pakistani border right after Lt. Seaver’s helicopter gets shot down. After he is rescued he goes to Miami to take down terrorists. There are 11 terrorists in all. The rewards for capturing these terrorists increase as does their danger level. As the story unfolds you learn that the terrorists ties are interconnected and eventually you find Osama Bin Laden.

Fugitive Hunter is a game that tried to not be like other games. Black Ops wanted cut scenes short to not detract from the action. Right from the start of the game the player already has every weapon in the game. Since the first part of the game is more of a flashback to introduce the player to the weapons they will use along the course of the game. Fugitive Hunter has a variety of weapons. The weapons included in Fugitive Hunter are pistols, two kinds of shotguns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, a flame thrower, rocket launchers and grenade launchers and every weapon has a secondary function. For example, the TAC shotgun has considerable firepower but it also comes equipped with a flashbang on it as a secondary function. The grenade launcher comes with three different ammo types. One type is your standard grenade, the second type of ammo is the homing grenade which obviously homes in on your targets, and the third type of ammo is the TV grenade which the player gets to control and fly around. With enough experience the player can utilize every aspect of every weapon for each specific situation. The game gives you a lot of ammo because hordes of enemies relentlessly swarm you almost 100% of the time. Fugitive Hunter uses a continue system when you die. This system makes the game more of an arcade game than a console game. A continue system allows the player to have virtually non stop action instead of having to restart the whole level. At the end of every level the player will find the fugitive they were hunting. The game then shifts from a first person shooter to a poor man’s fighting game. It is hard to button mash to beat the terrorist because the terrorist knows how to button mash better than you. Some strategy is needed to defeat them and sometimes these fights can be frustratingly hard. After the terrorist’s energy has depleted the player has 9 seconds to continuously tap the X button to capture the terrorist. The controls are good for the most part due to the auto-aim button. An auto aim button in a first person shooter sounds ridiculous but it was very useful. The only problem with the controls was the weapon select. Weapons can only be advanced forward by pressing triangle, so if the player misses the weapon they want to use they have to cycle the whole circle of weapons again. The player is able to jump and duck, which is useful because there are minor platform elements throughout the game.

The graphics aren’t that great. In fact this game could barely pass as a PSone game. The player models aren’t great, but there are are a whole bunch of them, all with different costumes. The player models even have fingers! Fugitive Hunter went through three motion capturing sessions so the animations are surprisingly fluid. Another plus about the graphics are the environments. There is a lot of variety in the environments and there are a lot of different environments the player gets to play through. The graphics are just good enough to show what the object you are looking at represents, nothing more. Girls are girls, guys are guys, and helicopters are helicopters.

If there is a high point to Fugitive Hunter it is the sound. Black Ops hired a professional just to do the voice in the intro! Unfortunately Jack Seaver was left with a very awkward yet humorous sounding voice. Seaver yells cheesy and annoying one liners. Thanks to the wacky voice and the bad writing, it all comes out funny (even though it was not intended to be ) Gun sound effects sound like cap guns and that is bad. The best part about the sound is the soundtrack. There is a variety of music that ranges from old school hip-hop sounding beats to some kind of Arab pseudo rap beat. The music was so good Black ops was able to create the Mr. Re Freestyle to them (which was caught on tape, and was put in the extras).

The Graphics were poor, the control adequate, the voices a joke, but the music great. Better first person shooters can be found elsewhere. On the upside the game has directors commentary and other extras which really show you how they wanted the game, compare it to the end result, and you have a good concept with poor execution.

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