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Ed Hunter (PC)

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Ed Hunter was made in 1999 by Synthetic Dimensions for PC. It is an Iron Maiden merchandise game. It comes as a three disk release, containing a 20 tracks best of double album.

The player takes the role of private detective Ed Hunter. Some day he is sent an envelope, filled with a stunning advance and a letter which asks him to free Eddie, the band's mascot, from a mental institution. Ed Hunter's mission goes on then to follow Eddie to wherever he goes.

A 10 shot capacity semi automatic pistol is the default weapon. Other kinds of weapons can be equipped upon shooting icons. These special weapons all have limited ammunition. Other kinds of items are health replenishing crosses and floating heads of the band members. These heads will grant an additional continue. The continues allow the player to carry on right were Ed Hunter died.

Many locations and details inside the eight levels are inspired by covers of classic Iron Maiden records. The first level reminds me of the ''Running Free'' single. The second level pays homage to the ''Piece of Mind'' album. The third level features the devil of the ''Run to the Hills'' single. In the fourth level Eddie climbs from his own grave just as he did on the ''Live after Death'' live album cover. The fifth level is inspired by the ''Powerslave'' album. The sixth level shows scenes from covers of the ''somewhere in time'' album and the singles ''Stranger in a Strange World'' and ''Wasted Years''. The seventh level reminds me of the ''Virtual XI'' album. The final level is a boss fight against the four horsemen of apocalypse. The end sequence of this level shows Eddie in style of the ''Funeral'' single.

The game features a mode especially made for the Act-Labs USB gun, which hides the cursor. Ed Hunter takes far less damage than usual when playing in Act-Labs mode. However this mode is buggy and messes up the game. The displayed number of remaining rounds inside the chamber will get wrong eventually and sometimes the game gets stuck totally forcing the player to quit. Interestingly I was unable to use any other kind of mouse input device mimicking light gun like the Arcade Guns and Aimtrak light guns in Act-Labs mode. For these I was forced to use the mouse mode and therefore couldn't get rid of the cursor.

Beating a level without using a single continue, will unlock it in a selection screen. However this is just valid for the first six levels. The game looks quite action packed, but in all reality it is rather calm and strategic, as it is heavily based on timing. Many enemies can just be shot at certain moments. Furthermore it is often necessary to wait for enemies to throw their projectiles, before attempting to shoot them.

In the background of every level a single song of Iron Maiden loops infinitely. The levels are rather long, causing an individual song to be replayed quite a few times, before the level ends and the next song starts to play. Personally I got bored of the songs because of these repetitions. The variation of enemies per level is also often very limited. Not seldom there are just two kinds of enemies per level.

Personally I like the game. I think the graphics are appealing and the animations are well done. In my opinion the story is rather weak though and the time travelling, everything resetting ending felt disappointing. The game was not very exciting, but over all I am glad I have played it.

I like the cover and I think it represents the game well. I love that the box still uses the term “IBM compatible PC”.