March 31, 2006 3:10 PM | Danny Cowan
We don't need a spy, just...a guy.
We can look back and laugh now, but for whatever reason, full-motion video was at one time thought of as the future of gaming. Though it had its roots in the 1980s with arcade games like Dragon's Lair, FMV-based gameplay experienced a revival of sorts in the 90s, with the advent of the Sega CD and the release of infamous titles like Night Trap and Sewer Shark.
The trend continued on through the introduction of the Sony PlayStation. Early releases for the console included upgraded ports of FMV-based shooters like Novastorm and Starblade Alpha, and many titles persisted in the inclusion of live-action video cutscenes. To the horror of gamers burned by consoles like the Sega CD and the Philips CD-i, it seemed like FMV would never die.
Then, along came Fox Hunt.
So good it'll save your life!
Despite FMV's bad reputation, Fox Hunt had a lot going for it. Developed by Capcom (yes, that Capcom!) for the Sony PlayStation, Fox Hunt was filmed with a budget of five million dollars, a huge amount in comparison to the money spent on the campy Digital Pictures FMV games of old. It's this budget that gave Fox Hunt its star power -- the game features actors George Lazenby and Rob Lowe in major roles -- and secured a soundtrack full of popular licensed music.
As a game, Fox Hunt was to be a multi-genre epic consisting of item collecting, puzzle solving, and shooting segments -- practically every gameplay element ever attempted in its FMV predecessors, except for perhaps Night Trap's vampire-trapping mechanic. If ever an FMV game could succeed and win over the bitter hearts of former Sega CD owners, it would be Fox Hunt.
Naturally, Fox Hunt turned out to be one of the worst games of all time. Despite its promise, the game managed to cram the worst parts of every single FMV title ever made into one unplayable nightmare. The plot makes little sense. The puzzles make less sense. The shooting segments are almost impossible to play thanks to terrible controls, and otherwise talented actors are wasted in their brief appearances.
This is to say nothing of the full-motion video itself, which is three hours of the stupidest thing you will ever watch. Your jaw will go slack as you see your character clap his hands and laugh while he navigates a hospital maze in a rocket-powered wheelchair. You'll witness multiple "pull my finger" gags, one of which features the shocking twist of your character burping...and then farting! It's almost a shame that Fox Hunt is considered to be one of the rarest PlayStation games to ever be released, but then, this is probably for the best.
Despite -- or perhaps because of -- its flaws, Fox Hunt remains a significant piece of gaming history. As one of the last games of its kind to be released for any console, it can be assumed that Fox Hunt's failure was what finally put an end to FMV-based gameplay for good. For this, we can all be grateful. Thank you, Fox Hunt.
[Danny Cowan is a freelance writer hailing from Austin, Texas. He has contributed feature articles to Lost Levels Online and 1up.com, and his writing appears monthly in Hardcore Gamer Magazine.]