The Hunt

By: fuzz

On: January 16th, 2010

Amon26‘s The Hunt is a prequel to his run-and-gun horror masterpiece, Au Sable. In first person shooter format, the characters and entities residing within the world of Au Sable are presented from an entirely different point of view than in the latter game. The player’s gun-wielding maniac acts as narrator in place of the original’s red-haired girl. It’s a fair bit shorter than All Of Our Friends Are Dead or Au Sable, but almost as effective.

Essentially, this is a creepy version of those weird deer hunting games you can find in arcades. What is lost in innovation in gameplay, however, is gained in disorientation. Being the first 3D game Benjamin (Amon26) has made, walls are frequently bumped up against and aiming is extremely difficult. Many would call this a fault; I would argue that the clear disorientation of the creator in the design process accentuates the player’s own disorientation. When the realization dawned on me that nobody was holding the reins and control had been relinquished to the game itself, rather than its creator, I wanted to scream and hide. The gradual removal of the player’s own power through larger and larger crowds of enemies is the conscious reply to the glitchy brokenness utilized in all of Amon’s work. Fear of the unknown guides the player’s emotions through the first section, where there are no enemies, only dead bodies. Later in the game, the only two enemy types have become familiar to the player yet still prove effective in scaring and unnerving them: the knowledge that The Hunt is “only a game” cannot and will not save you.

The graphics are the characteristic Amon red-and-black sprites. While these are very good, much is reused from Au Sable, and the colour scheme is beginning to wear itself thin. The faux 3D of The Hunt is similar to Judith‘s style in that all the action takes place in a three dimensional plane with two dimensional creatures living in it. It’s at once groan-inducing and horrifying to see these paper-thin monsters gambol about around blood-soaked remnants of humans in a dance of death. The device used to show the main character’s health is quite ingenious: the static covering the screen becomes more and more dense as greater amounts of damage are taken. Although as it is, the art is nowhere near perfection, different graphics would seriously alter the game and remove one of its most important elements.

The atmospheric glitch-industrial music playing in the background is fantastic. Amon26’s sound design and compositional abilities are easily his greatest artistic asset, and The Hunt showcases this to amazing effect. The voices of the last act are the primary vehicle to draw the player’s fear out until the end, and they succeed extremely well. None of it’s the sort of thing that can be properly listened to outside of the game, but as a part of a holistic experience, it’s essential.

In summation: The Hunt is brilliant, although flawed. A plethora of bleeding corpses and winged demons await you. Go forth and do battle.

You can download The Hunt here. You can also get a compilation CD with AOOFAD, Au Sable, and a few extras from Amon’s Lulu page. If you’d like weird t-shirts or plastic models of the characters from these games, those are here and here, respectively.

  • Gnome

    Now, that’s the kind of thought provoking FPSs we actually need. Excellent write-up and a very intriguing game…

  • Amon25

    My head is in a bad place at the moment. Depression and fear of sleeping. Anticipate another “side quest” or two. Trying to work the demons out. Also, there will be more colours.

  • Amon26

    I was a number off up there. Explains my state aswell

  • Craig Stern

    “What is lost in innovation in gameplay”

    What was the gameplay innovation in Au Sable?

  • Dodger

    I haven’t tried the game yet (going to download it after I finish writing) but the video was kinda creepy and even though the graphics are old-school wolfenstien 3d they’ve certainly been used to create a dark foreboding atmosphere, and that backwards music only makes that game that much more unsettling.

    If that’s the feeling you were trying to give from the game Amon26, then you’ve done a darn good job because I got that from the trailer alone.

    Now to try it out. :)

  • fuzz

    @ craig: i didn’t say that au sable innovated, just that this one didn’t. maybe i wasn’t quite clear about that.

  • FishyBoy

    I haven’t gotten around to playing Au Sable yet, but I have to say, this is probably the scariest thing I’ve played in a while. The atmosphere really draws you in.

  • Levi

    “I would argue that the clear disorientation of the creator in the design process accentuates the player’s own disorientation.”

    I would completely call these things faults, as his previous games didn’t have those “features.” Granted, I haven’t yet played it, but from playing the previous games and reading this, I would think the poorer implementations of the 3D engine were not intended.

    I’d like to see this guy get a gig directing a full game at a real studio. He’s obviously got mad skilzzz, he just needs a team to make an up-to-date game out of those ideas. I certainly enjoyed AoYFaD and AS, but I feel that he could direct a game that would be sooooo much creepier with a full talented team behind him.

  • W3R3W00F

    Superb overall atmosphere! The uncertainty due to short line of sight tensed me up the minute I started watching. Great sprites too. However I would suggest adding enemies that ran toward you as fast as the zombies in L4d do, tied with a blood curdling scream. Players would be left HUNTING for new underwear.

    I’ll be downloading this upon release for sure.

  • W3R3W00F

    Oh wait, duh me. It already IS finished. :P I should start reading descriptions. lol

  • Bob

    Huh…I guess it’s just me then.

  • fuzz

    @ levi: i know that they weren’t intended, that’s the point! in the section you quoted i was saying that the realization that amon was not in full control of his creation frightened me and made the experience better

  • Flamebait

    *…walls are frequently bumped up against and aiming is extremely difficult.*

    This wasn’t my experience. The walls are a bit sticky, but I only knocked into them to see this once. Aiming is fine considering the extremely short range of combat.

    FPS is one of my favorite genres, and one that I spend more time with than any other. Maybe *The Hunt* appears flawed more to casual FPS players? It’d be interesting if that was true.

  • fuzz

    i hardly play fps games, so maybe

  • Fisher Price Pink Digital Camera

    Watching this video reminds me of the good ol’days when we played Doom. I was losing entire days just playing this game. I think I’ll download it and start playing it again :)

  • God at play

    I really enjoyed this review. Thank you Alex! It was really well-rounded and covered aspects of the game from both sides. I look forward to more, good sir.