Video Game / Highway Hunter

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"You dare enter the lost roads?! We will destroy you!"

Highway Hunter is a DOS-based Vertical Scrolling Shooter created by Russian developer Omega Integral Systems (as Highway Fighter, in that country) and published in 1994 by Safari Software, a division of Epic Games (Then Epic Megagames).

20 Minutes into the Future, a hostile alien race has invaded and occupied Earth, forcing humans to toil away in their workshops and mines. You play the role of an unnamed human mechanic, working in an auto-repair shop on a prototype alien supercar, the MASTER. When the aliens aren't looking, you steal the MASTER and make a desperate bid for freedom. Apparently, La Résistance is out there somewhere, and your goal is to reach the unoccupied zones where they dwell.

The MASTER is a powerful vehicle indeed, able to take several hits before blowing up, unlike many scrolling shooter vehicles. Dropped powerups you can acquire include health boosts, weapon upgrades (which stack on top of one another- if a weapon runs out of ammo, it reverts to the next level down, rather then bumping you back to your basic laser), shield upgrades that let you ram enemy vehicles and absorb projectiles, and the occasional Smart Bomb. Each level has you progress along a raised highway, fighting off enemy cars and aircraft, eventually reaching a Boss Battle. The game is divided into three episodes: Evil Drivers, The Lost Roads, and Anarchy. Each consists five levels, beginning with Earthlike environments and progressing towards steadily more alien ones, likely the result of Terraforming.

Highway Hunter provides examples of:

  • Elite Mooks: Curiously absent, enemies are either standard-issue Mook Mobiles or bosses. The larger enemies tend to be Fake Ultimate Mooks.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Played With in episode 2, level 3, where the boss ship is flying in front of you, shooting occasional bullets at you. However, it's invulnerable until the end of the level, when it fights properly.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: You cannot maneuver your car beyond the boundaries of the highway, somewhat limiting your movement and making it difficult to shoot airborne enemies if they do not fly straight at you.
  • King Mook: The boss of episode two's fourth level is an upscaled version of the already quite large armed F1 racers you fight in that level. Like all the ground bosses, he's big enough that he hogs the entire highway, so it's not like you could just go around him.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: You dish out your fair share of missiles, but enemies in this game love shooting missiles at you, in addition to the obligatory nondescript glowing energy balls. Thankfully, both can be shot down as your car is not Point Defenseless.
  • Medium Blending: In some levels, the background looks painted, and in others, it is like pixel-art.

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