Shark Hunter Review

Catalog No.: n/a
Release: Dieter Koenig
Players: 1
Variations: 10
Scenes: 1
Scrolling: No
Rarity: 10 (Prototype)

Review by Dieter Koenig

In Shark Hunter from GST Video you take the role of an Eskimo hunter protecting your village’s valuable fish stocks, held in “pens” formed by nets strung between the banks of a nearby river estuary. The survival of the community depends on fish remaining alive at the end of each day, to provide food and breeding stocks.

But the hunter faces a problem: Sharks are in the river! They will break the nets and eat the fish. And they will kill the hunter if they catch him in the water. Fortunately the hunter has an unlimited supply of harpoons to defend himself.

The hunter starts each round on a small island in the middle of the river that provides a vantage point from which to harpoon the sharks. The hunter may swim from the island to the banks or use ice floes that are sweeping downriver from a glacier as stepping stones. The ice floes offer the faster way but the hunter has to be careful as the sharks will possibly eat the ice floes – the hunter would fall into the water then and might be eaten by a shark.

Shark Hunter is a good, fast paced game in an unusual location – instead of space or a maze, it takes place at a river in the northern part of the world. But the game is not just an action game, it also shows some strategic elements. If the sharks manage to destroy a complete row of nets, additional sharks will come in the river from the nearby sea, which makes the job of the hunter much more difficult. So you have constantly to decide which parts of the netting you defend, and sometimes you will even have to repair the nets – a very dangerous task, as you are not protected against the sharks when you are in the water.

The graphics are advanced like in most of the late Videopac games. The nets are made of the well-known maze elements that are built into the ROM of the Videopac machines, but the hunter, his harpoon and the sharks are custom-made, look pretty good and show nice animations. The game also features a simple title screen and also a screen after each level where the remaining fish is counted.

The sound effects are nothing special, as in most Videopac games. But at least they don’t unnerve the player.

I don’t think that a game with the same subject exists on other systems from that generation, that makes Shark Hunter something special. Maybe it is a distant relative of Activision’s Frostbite, but the goal of the game is different. So congratulations to GST Video for the original idea.

Shark Hunter would definitely have been an enrichment in the Videopac library back then. In fact we were waiting for original games like this one. It is a pity that it did not hit the shelves when the Videopac system was alive. But at least you can get it on cart now, better late than never – it’s definitely worth it.
Shark Hunter
Philips Videopac
Graphics 75%
Sound 70%
Rating 82%

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