Fugitive Hunter is an FPS that challenges the player to hunt fugitives, which is probably why they named it Fugitive Hunter. The game attempts to capitalize on the universal popularity of first-person shooters and the notorious reputations of real life criminals and terrorists. According to the game’s exaggerated making-of featurettes, quite a lot of research went into its creation. But you wouldn’t know it from Fugitive Hunter’s one-dimensional gameplay, utterly unreliable collision detection and targeting system, and host of other stifling inconsistencies.
Fugitive Hunter spins one hell of an audacious yarn. You are an ex-Navy SEAL named Jake Seaver who now works for some ambiguous wing of some unknown super secret government agency, or something. Your task is to hunt down bad guys, starting small with low-level felonious thugs and eventually working your way up to high ranking criminal masterminds that populate the FBI’s most-wanted list. The Spanish Inquisition this game’s story is not.
Each of Fugitive Hunter’s missions consists of the objective to apprehend an infamous bad guy. All your time is spent starting a mission, then following the on-screen radar, blasting away the group of enemies at each checkpoint, and repeating the tedious process until you get to the single main criminal of the level, at which point the FPS action transitions to a third-person punching and kicking match that can easily be won given ample button-mashing. It doesn’t make much sense that highly armed and dangerous drug lords would rather opt to throw down instead of simply blasting you away with a rocket launcher; I guess you’re just supposed to “suspend your disbelief” when Osama busts you upside the head with kung fu.
The actual gameplay mechanics – the running and shooting – are solid enough. Your character moves quickly and is responsive to all controller commands. The problem is the level design; it’s far too repetitive. The game basically breaks down to running through a frustrating 3D maze that is set to a particular graphical motif while blowing away countless scores and frequently backtracking.
It would be one thing if the aforementioned components of the game were actually, how you say, fun. But as you may have already surmised, they’re not. Twisting the teat of entertaining game design just a smidgen further, Fugitive Hunter seems to utilize random nonsensical damage, instead of the “target specific” kind, and the game’s defamation of the law of physics and its shoddy collision detection makes it seem like you’re constantly trekking through Jello. All that and no multiplayer. Bummer.
I’ll spare you the long drawn-out descriptions of the game’s graphics and sounds and just say this: Fugitive Hunter is borderline ugly and umm, it smells like one too. That (didn’t make sense) said, the music and voice acting and sound effects went in one ear and out the other. There is a slim possibility that the game sounded good, but if it did, I don’t remember. Does it even really matter at this point?
All in all, I wouldn’t say Fugitive Hunter is my favorite shooter, nor would I presume to say that it would be yours either. I mean, the game’s claim to fame is Osama Bin Laden, for craps sake.