Ed Hunter was Iron Maiden's first computer game and was released on the 17th of May 1999. It was produced in a deluxe 3 CD package. The 2CD double album features the soundtrack to the game itself whereas the third contains Iron Maiden's first computer game. The soundtrack was voted for by fans on the official Iron Maiden website.
Just as Iron Maiden were the first to release a promotional video, the first to have released a full length concert video and one of the first to have released their entire back catalogue of albums as enhanced CDs they are one of the first bands to have released a video game.
Ed Hunter is a shoot 'em up game in the style of Time Crisis and Virtua Cop where you use your PC mouse to control the shooting. It has 8 levels ranging from the streets of London to the pyramids of Egypt and even into the future.
~ from Maiden World
The claims made at Maiden World may not be entirely correct, but there is an element to it when it comes to Ed Hunter. Over a decade earlier, Journey were the first band to licence themselves to a videogame and Motörhead's Amiga game from 1992 is also featured elsewhere on this site. None of them, though, can claim to be an actual part of an album. I believe Steve Harris et al may have had a hand in its development too.
Ed Hunter featured a 2 CD album containing the best of Iron Maiden. Every single copy also came packaged with the game, spanning a third CD and the data half of the second. This left Ed Hunter with something of an identity crisis. Is it a game or an album? Which of the two would you buy it for? Is the arcade shooter simply a bonus to the music or a full game in its own right?
As this is a game site, I'll only be talking about the game on its own and this arcade shooter does leave a lot to be desired. The visuals look nice enough in still screenshots but the pre-rendered CGI sprites are animated sparsely and with very little variety. In every level, there are only really two types of enemies and they spawn and re-spawn multiple times. With their toy-like rendering, it feels very much like an attack of the clones. Even though the levels may not cover much ground, they take way too long to complete with waves of enemies coming at you in similar patterns.
There are times where it tries to up the replayability by offering multiple paths but not all of the levels feature them. There is only one weapon upgrade too - a quickly depleted machine gun. You collect it or any health items by shooting the icons when they infrequently appear randomly floating in mid-air.
The neon-punk aesthetic of the first level is inviting enough, though I do find it a little at odds with Iron Maidens metal music. You'll visit a mad scientist's mansion and Ancient Egypt in later levels so that's at least a little more suitable. I'm no Maiden junkie, but I believe each level is based on an album cover. Couple that with the ultimate aim of destroying the band's monstrous mascot Eddie and you'll find it's not entirely unlinked to the band.
With 8 long-lasting levels, there's plenty of game here. That's more than enough for it not to be called a bonus for the album. That being said, it will be the album (that won't be included) and not the game that I'll revisit more often.
To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer uses PCem running Windows '95. Press Ctrl-Alt-PgDown to toggle fullscreen. Press Ctrl-End or middle mouse button to release the mouse. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting PCem. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data. Close the program only when it is safe to do so.
File Size: 956 Mb. Install Size: 1.37 Gb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Ed Hunter is © Iron Maiden Ltd
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me