written by Robi15
revision and screenshots by Mouse_Master
|Graphics: 8||Sound: 6|
|Gameplay: 6||Overall: 7|
Back in '94, I remember when I entered an arcade hall, I saw a game in my periphery that shined! I turned around and there it was, Top Hunter! I was forced to play this game immediately. That side scrolling game I saw, had a little more than the other games. It's colorful graphics and detailed sprites made this game glow from the dark corner it stood in! It was also one of the first games to pass the 100 Megs on Neo Geo, 110 Megs total. The 100 Mega Shock! Back then it was a super good game! But now, I have mixed feelings....
The game is beautiful. What first hit me was the detailed backgrounds and how the game was built. There are 2 layers of backgrounds, which gives this game a 3D feeling. The backgrounds move in different speeds while you walk in the game, just like cartoons on TV. And later I understood what the real purpose of the backgrounds where! You can jump in and out between the backgrounds and you can go in front of a tree or take the way behind of the same tree. This gives a whole new and unique dimension in a 2D game.
Backgrounds like in the "Forest stage" are really nice to watch. Palm trees, timber built fences and big stumps of old trees pass by. Just beautiful. We can directly see that this game is over 100 Megs. The characters are detailed and colorful. Another thing is how the items you bump into look. Coins, food, superpowers, extra time, all detailed like in a good puzzle game. That all gives a magic atmosphere. Bosses are average though but still are big enough and with plenty of details.
Well what can I say. The music suits the game very appropriately. Thru the stages we hear happy tunes that remind us about theme parks. When it's boss time we hear harder music, like it should be. But the game does not have any music that you will remember. The tunes just faint away in your memory. What you hear mostly anyway is the sound effects. Jumps, picking up items, throws, coins, superpowers, every sound is loud and clear as we expect from the Neo.
You can choose between two characters, Roddy and Cathy. To control them is basically the same. The control is good. You begin by picking a planet you want to rescue. Planet "FOREST", "FIRE", "ICE" and "WIND". Each with elements that you watch yourself for.
The game idea reminds little of the NES's "Super Mario Bros." You can jump on the enemies and they get flattened and die. You can also hit and (when holding the A button) grab, pick up and finally throw them. When throwing an enemy at another, you kill both, simple! You can make special attacks too. Like in Street Fighter, you can throw a fire ball. You can dash and when in air you can strike down. All this makes the game play flexible. The special moves are not 100% though. Sometimes they just don't want to work. Bad control? Well it gets little frustrating when you know that you made the move exactly right and nothing happened. In tense situations, it makes you mad.
You can also find and travel by a robot that you control. Saves you that very decisive life of yours, if you get hit! In the bottom of the screen you also see where on the stage you are. You see how long it is to the middle and the final boss. It gives you the advantage to collect a power item or a robot before confronting the bosses. From the stuff hanging from the ceiling or laying on the ground you collect valuable extra time and energy. There are also hidden bonus stages where you can obtain valuable items, like a superpower. With the superpower you double your hitting damage and you throw bigger fireballs. Bonus stages are hidden, so look for anything suspicious. The game includes tons of things that should make this game a classic but something is still missing.
The game is beautiful but you may get tired of it easily. We all know that this game was designed for the arcades and that's why it does not work as well at homes. The game shines though. It just uses a old game concept with better graphics. Many game companies have fallen to this trap. The game is beautiful but as far as enjoyment, it gives you nothing new and that's why there is a big risk that this game will just collect dust on your shelf.
Top Hunter is a wonderful game to own. Bring it up now and then and play it for 30 min and put it back again. This game had all the potential to be a classic but the producers lack of creativity brings this game to an average Neo level. On the other hand there are not many side scrolling action games on the Neo Geo, so this game will surely light up your day if you haven't played it or seen this game before. Top Hunter is a 2D piece of art, a must for a collector and gives us players just moments of joy.
More Reviews of This Game:
by Kazuya_UK - Courtesy of Kazuya's
Collection | Master
List | AES
Price Guide | MVS
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