''Spy Hunter'' was an arcade driving game designed by Creator/GeorgeGomez and Tom Leon, and released by Creator/BallyMidway. It is unique in that it was one of the first to combine driving and shooting at the same time. You are in control of a car driving on a vertically scrolling road, fighting against a variety of vehicular and airborne enemies:

* Tire slashers called "Switchblade" or "Never To Be Trusted"
* Armored vans called "The Road Lord" or "Bulletproof Bully"
* Sniper limousines called "The Enforcer" or "Double Barrel Action"
* Bomb-dropping helicopters called "The Mad Bomber" or "Master Of The Sky"

Along with enemies, there are civilian vehicles on the road as well. Injuring a civilian causes you to temporarily stop scoring points. However, if you survive long enough, civilians stop appearing.

In addition to your default machine guns, you can find and drive into a weapons van and get outfitted with additional weapons: oil slick, smoke screen, and ground-to-air missiles, each of which is useful against different enemies. Further in the game, you can take a side road to a boathouse and turn the car into a boat, taking the battle onto the water. Enemy boats called "Barrel Dumper" try to kill you by throwing floating charges in your path. A big boat called "Doctor Torpedo" fires torpedoes at you from behind or in front. The chopper also harasses you in the water. You can be forced into the water when a bridge is out.

This game was followed with ''Spy Hunter II''. A Famicom game called ''Battle Formula'' was renamed ''Super Spy Hunter'' and released on the NES in 1992.

In 2001, Midway released a 3D "enhanced remake" of the original game, developed by Creator/ParadigmEntertainment, for the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2, UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube, and UsefulNotes/{{Xbox}}. It took a mission-based approach, with the player sabotaging bad guy operations around the globe with an even ''bigger'' supply of weapons than before. It was followed up with ''Spy Hunter 2'' and ''Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run'' (which was an AuthorsSavingThrow for a movie that remains stuck in DevelopmentHell.)

In 2012 Warner Brothers Interactive released a second reboot game for the Playstation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS.

!!''Spy Hunter'' has examples of:

* CallBack[=/=]MythologyGag: The original arcade game is explicitly stated to be canon in the 2001 game.
* CarFu
* ChainReactionDestruction: That's how bosses in ''Super Spy Hunter'' go down.
* ContinuingIsPainful: One of the reasons why ''Spy Hunter II'' is so extremely hard is that your car will power-down every time you die. This means that you can become so weak from constantly failing at a boss battle that the game becomes nearly unwinnable.
** ''Super Spy Hunter'' mitigates this by reducing your car's upgrade status by only one level (of five) after each death. However, your life meter is reset to 4 bars and you lose the auto-aim upgrade to your turret.
* ContinuityReboot: The 2001 remake for the arcade game, and the 2012 remake for the 2001 remakes.
* CoolCar: And it just got cooler with each installment.
* DisposableVehicleSection: The Interceptor in the 2001 remake can eject sections and convert into a Secondary Escape Vehicle after taking enough damage; the one in the direct sequel to it can also convert on player command. The Interceptor from ''Nowhere to Run'' also has a Secondary Escape Vehicle mode.
* DolledUpInstallment: ''Super Spy Hunter''.
* DrivingIntoATruck: How you get your power-ups in the arcade, and refill health and ammo in the 2001 game.
* FlashOfPain: Anything with health in ''Super Spy Hunter''.
* KillSat: The ExcusePlot of the 2001 game. [[NebulousEvilOrganisation NOSTRA]] plans to use them to take over the world's electricity supplies.
* MirrorBoss: The fifth mission of the 2001 game. He hijacked one of your power-up trucks, and he's using your own spy car against you.
* InNameOnly: ''Super Spy Hunter''.
* NintendoHard: ''Spy Hunter II'' is extremely unforgiving to players that aren't good at avoiding damage.
* OneHitKill: In ''Super Spy Hunter'', some bosses shoot large lasers that will instantly kill you if you touch the beam.
* PinballSpinoff: Also by Creator/BallyMidway; [[Pinball/SpyHunter click here for tropes.]]
* QuicksandSucks: ''Super Spy Hunter's'' second level features an open desert section with flowing quicksand pits scattered about. They damage you if you touch the center of them.
* RealSongThemeTune: The first remake featured a remake of the ''Series/PeterGunn'' theme (itself an example in the original game) by Saliva, and the sequel had "Dark Carnival" by Vanessa Carlton. Interestingly, Bally Midway intended to use the ''Film/JamesBond'' theme for the original game - as part of a potential tie-in to the James Bond franchise - but were [[WhatCouldHaveBeen unable to obtain the rights]].
* SceneryPorn: ''Super Spy Hunter''.
* SuperDrowningSkills: The first level of ''Super Spy Hunter'' has sections of shallow and deep water and jumps over them. Touch the deep water and you die instantly. This makes sense for a car driving game, until you reach level 5 and realize your car can take on a boat form.
** Also in Nowhere to Run. In one section, it is possible to end up racing against the clock due to a careless grenade explosion or someone shooting wildly, causing a dam you must cross on foot (Due to the bridge it's under being raised and preventing the Interceptor from passing) to start filling with water should it be damaged. Crossing it while it is still filling is safe, but allowing it to fully fill up will cause it to, for seemingly no reason, kill Alex on contact. This can also make the mission unwinnable and force you to reload to a checkpoint, should it fill up completely while Alex is still on the other side, separating him from the Interceptor.
* RedOniBlueOni: The first boss of ''Super Spy Hunter'' gets two helicopters that launch after taking its first damage set. The red one shoots bullets in x-patterns while the blue one releases volleys of straight-line missiles.
** There are also the red and blue colored power-up trucks. Generally speaking, the red trucks contain permanent upgrades to your car while the blue ones contain one-time-use weapons.
* SequentialBoss: The final level of ''Super Spy Hunter'' has three boss battles back-to-back. The first two are upgraded versions of previous bosses, and the third one is the final boss of the game.
* SmokeScreen
* SpikedWheels: "Switchblade" enemies. The 2001 game gives them an aquatic cousin as well.
** You get a one-time-use of these when you get the blue "S" power-up in ''Super Spy Hunter''.
* TacticalSuicideBoss: The boss of the 5th level of ''Super Spy Hunter'' exposes its only weak spot for a few seconds after running through its regular attack pattern.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange[=/=]UnexpectedShmupLevel: The boat level in the original, and the flying car, boat and airplane levels in ''Super Spy Hunter''. And the third person shooter levels in the second and third [=PS2=] games.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: You can shoot the truck that drops you off or the civilian cars. You lose points for doing this, though.
* {{Weaponized Car}}s: Both you and the enemy. Let's have a short rundown of the weapons, shall we?
** OilSlick: Ever since the original. In the 3D games, they can even cause enemies behind you to ''explode'' for seemingly no reason!
** MoreDakka: The only starting weapon in the arcade, 2001 also starts you off with a pair of machine guns with capacity and caliber increases as progression unlocks.
*** ''Super Spy Hunter'' gives your car a single [[FixedForwardFacingWeapon fixed forward gun]] and a roof turret, whose two guns are always symmetrically aligned. This ends up being better than it might sound as it gives you a selectable bullet pattern that can focus fire ahead, spray narrow or wide pattern, shoot to the sides, to the obliques or even straight to the rear.
*** Then there is the control upgrade (red "C"), which automatically tracks enemies on the screen, giving you a constantly changing pattern that is surprisingly effective at sweeping the screen to clear mooks.
** SmartBomb: ''Super Spy Hunter'' gives you a one-time-use one when you pick up the blue "B" power-up.
** StuffBlowingUp: Missile launchers, always guided in the arcade, guidance unlocked after the third mission of 2001. MacrossMissileMassacre ensues with the Swarm Missile Launcher in the 2001 game - now you fire ''four'' missiles at a time.
** SmokeScreen: Also dates back to the original.
** FireBreathingWeapon: The 2001 model Interceptor can fit a pair of rear-firing flamethrowers - kill that guy tailing you [[KillItWithFire with fire]].
** {{EMP}}: Also in the 2001 game, it too having guidance capabilities. Use it to stop missile launches and disarm bombs quickly.
** MagneticWeapons: One of these is a late-game unlock for the 2001 game - it's a guided weapon that does incredible damage.