Oftentimes when one purchases an import game, one has little idea of what to expect. I can't count the number of times that I've picked up one of these games based upon a few screenshots and a general idea of what the game was about. The drawback to this is that you end up with a lot of disappointing gaming experiences. To me, Fiend Hunter represented one of these gambles. However, unlike many other titles before it, it actually paid off in the end!
Upon looking at the cover of Fiend Hunter, I was guessing that it was pretty much your run of the mill platformer with some pretty cinematic cut scenes. I was pleasantly surprised that this game brings a little bit more depth to the table. The game starts slowly, with an intro that seems to last all of twenty minutes. Normally this wouldn't be so bad, but when you can't understand Japanese, it can be a tad painful. Once the intro has completed, though, you're in for a treat.
To be honest, I was put off at first by the gameplay. It seemed like the main character was walking through molasses, especially in fight scenes. However, I quickly realized that the game uses a control scheme very similar to Prince of Persia. Once you start to figure out some of the moves, you can see the beauty of how this works. As if that weren't enough, the gameplay is fortified with some RPG elements. You get the opportunity to improve various statistics throughout the game that will help you become a more effective fighter.
In-game graphics and sound both do a good job of taking advantage of the capabilities of the Super CD platform. Typical gameplay graphics are colorful with nicely detailed backgrounds. Not only that, but there are a number of very nice looking cinema cutscenes. The CD sound is also well done, and never struck me as being too repetitive. Not only that, but the sound effects are pretty sweet, with a bit of a Bruce Lee inspired Kung Fu death scream that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Although Right Stuff is not one of the better known PC Engine game publishers, they truly came through with a winner when they released Fiend Hunter. My expectations were not high for this game, and I even snagged it at a bargain price, but it has proven to be one of the best import titles that I've played on the system. If you have a chance to pick up a copy, I would certainly recommend it. With this review in hand, you've got more to go on than a few pretty screenshots, so how can you go wrong?