In the Hunt (or Kaitei Daisensou, its Japanese namesake) is a 2D horizontal submarine shooter. It's not without flaws, but the graphic style (which reminds many of Metal Slug) and the bosses mark the high points of the game. Yes, there's a lot of slowdown, but I got used to it, eventually, to the point where it didn't bother me any more
I really like the style of the graphics. Again, very Metal Slug-like. You'll see water ripples, plenty of explosions, beautiful 2D art detailed to the brim, buildings with glass windows that shimmer and shatter when you shoot at it, etc. Each stage has different weather too. You'll see clouds, clear skies, and even lightning; lighting up the screen in gorgeous orange strokes. Good stuff indeed. Lots of thing are destroyable on screen and it's amazing especially when tons of debris litter the screen in a shower of metal and gears and glass
The bosses are especially well drawn and animated. They're huge and nasty, ranging from the mechanical to the mythical. The stage 3 boss is really something else! It's like a deranged monster creature out of a Godzilla flick! (A little later on in this review you'll see him...)
Solid all-around. The music sounds right and fits the onscreen action, and the boss themes are pretty good themselves as well. It has that "save the world from disaster" feel to it. Sound is sweet. You'll hear the smashing of torpedoes and the sweet sound of dropped canister bombs which connect metal on!
There are six stages total, which takes me roughly 45 minutes to beat. ITH doesn't add much to the genre, but it's still very playable, despite the slowdown issues. The thing to note about In the Hunt: the screen doesn't automatically scroll forward. So you have to move forward yourself. If you're looking for an all-out fast-paced knuckle-burner of a shooter, ITH is not for you. The game is slower than most shooters, but not so slow where it renders the game unplayable. I've read some gamers saying they found the "move forward on your own" style to be annoying, and that it makes ITH a slow boring shooter. I didn't find this to be the case for me. For ITH, I liked being able to move my submarine at my own speed. I felt more in control of the dire situation at hand
Enemies of all sorts will bombard you from up, down, across. Little battle ships, air-raid jets, big bad ships with heavy firepower, and even golden walker machines that look and sound really cool
A fires torpedoes forward. B shoots missiles upward, and canister bombs downward. Both are NON-auto-fire. But button C allows you to fire ALL weapons non-stop! But there are times where you will not want to use button C but rather A or B.... you'll see for yourself why this is so. The ship moves at a decent speed; something I never take for granted in a shooter, but again, the slowdown moments will also naturally slow your ship down. Hang in there, it's not as bad as many say it is
The bosses are really the meat of the game, aside from the well-detailed 2D graphics. Like I said, you'll face the mechanical and the mythical. Like in the classic Thunder Force III, you'll meet a twin set of bad machines, a three-headed sea monster, a great looking giant eel mini-boss, and my favorite, the stage 3 Stone Guardian. Tell me where else in a shooter will you find a boss who greets you at the BEGINNING, and prompts to stalk you throughout the entire level, only to finally trap you at the end where it's do or die? Answer: No where else! And boy does he look COOL! Where's Godzilla where you need him??
Not great long-lasting shelf-life, but not too bad either. Of course, how big a shooter fan you are will help to answer this question
I had the US version for a year, but now I own the JPN version. Both are practically identical, except the JPN one has FREE PLAY. The game's hard! Free Play comes in handy... but be warned, the import version is notorious for having trouble booting up. For the record, I can only get my copy to work about 50% of the time.... and this is the same of everyone else
And oh yeah, the last boss is a real tough cookie. This game may have you pulling your hair out if you're playing the US version which has a limit on continues
In The Hunt is a unique game worth looking at, but ONLY if you're into these mad shooting "one man against an evil empire" type games. Now go man the battle stations! Let's do this one for Mother Earth!