Video Game: Spy Hunter

Spy Hunter was an arcade driving game designed by George Gomez and Tom Leon, and released by Bally/Midway. 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 truck 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 Paradigm Entertainment, for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and 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.

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


Spy Hunter has examples of: