Codex Gamicus

Spy Hunter is an arcade game released in 1983. It was ported to the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision, and the NES. It is loosely based on car chase scenes from various spy movies including those of the James Bond series.


This driving game has a gas pedal, steering wheel, gear shifter, and four buttons on the wheel. The driver is a secret agent driving along a vertically scrolling highway to the tune of Peter Gunn. The bad spies drive blue cars that resemble '57 Chevies. They can disable the player with wheel-mounted spikes. These make the player spin out and explode. The player can shoot these enemies from behind with grill-mounted machine guns or ram them off the road (assuming their spikes are not deployed). Other enemies, called 'Bullies', drive armored cars that try to ram you off the road. The machine guns are ineffective, but they can be rammed. The boss bad guy drives a limo and attempts to pull up beside you and shoot you with a shotgun. This limo can be gunned down or rammed.

Periodically, you pass an ally, the weapons van. The van will catch up to you and extend ramps. You can drive into the van and obtain special weapons: oil slick, smoke screen, or missiles. The oil slick and smoke screen can be used to wreck or slow down all three of the ground-based enemies.

Occasionally, a chopper flies overhead and tries to kill you with bombs. These bombs do not have to hit you to kill you. If you drive through the pothole that they leave, you are just as dead. They also kill the bad guys. You can use the missiles to blow the chopper away.

As you progress, you can voluntarily swerve into the boat house and proceed on water. Your boat also has machine guns and the special weapons. Enemy boats try to kill you by throwing floating charges in your path. The big boat fires torpedoes at you from behind or in front. The chopper also harasses you in the water. You can be forced into the water when a bridge is out.

Sometimes you must also drive on snow. This makes it very tricky to swerve enemies that you have just shot.

The whole time, civilian traffic is on the road. If you shoot or ram them, you lose points.