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Hunter: The Reckoning is a video game based on the role-playing game of the same name. Developed by High Voltage Software and published by Interplay Entertainment, The Reckoning was first released on May 21, 2002 in North America for the Xbox. Hunter: The Reckoning is an action game where the player fights hordes of enemies with melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic. The Reckoning has spawned two sequels, Hunter: The Reckoning: Wayward and Hunter: The Reckoning: Redeemer.
The Reckoning is an action game, with elements of the hack and slash and the beat em up genre of fighting. The game lets the player choose between one of four characters, each of which has different weapons and abilities. The player acts as a human monster hunter combining melee, ranged and spell-driven attacks called "edges." The Reckoning has single-player and multiplayer modes allowing up to four players.
Also dropped in random places during the game are special weapons such as shotguns or machine guns, which have a limited amount of ammo and are usable until their ammo runs out. Ammo for the player's standard weapon is infinite, but must be reloaded after a mag runs out. The game allows up to four players play simultaneously, fighting on one screen against multiple enemies.
Enemies in the game spawn at different points in the game, and attack in large groups. Bosses end a level, at which point the player progresses into the level until the end of the game.
One year before the events of the game, four people are present at the execution (by electric chair) of convicted serial killer Nathaniel Arkady at Ashcroft Penitentiary: Spencer "Deuce" Wyatt, Samantha Alexander, Kassandra Cheyung, and Father Esteban Cortez. As the switch is thrown, the souls of the dead who suffered at the hands of the prison's warden and his supernatural staff rose up in vengeful rage, driven by evil to exact their vengeance upon the residents of Ashcroft. The four people who were present at Arkady's execution witnessed the uprising of the supernatural evil, and all four received a message in their minds (from benign supernatural beings called "The Messengers") to act against the vast supernatural force that threatened the entire population of Ashcroft. Choosing to heed their "Calling", the four became Imbued, and destroyed the evil inside the prison. The four Imbued locked the prison, sealing what was left of the evil inside, and left Ashcroft.
On the anniversary of the closing and abandonment of Ashcroft Penitentiary, several hundred local teenagers held a rave in the courtyard. The lively celebration awakened the dormant spirits, who sought to begin their onslaught once again. The awakened spirits brought the rave to an early end by slaughtering the vast majority of the teenagers, and the evil, now freed from its prison, raged out into the town and began to destroy the population. The four Imbued return to Ashcroft to confront the source of the evil that threatens the town and protect the remaining survivors.
A ghost appears to the Hunters, named Carpenter, and tells them that Warden Degenhardt is a vampire, and Dr. Hadrian has been performing sadistic flesh-warping experiments on the inmates of Ashcroft. Arkady, the Hunters find out, is a werewolf, and after they kill Degenhardt, Carpenter attacks them for denying him his revenge.
Unfortunately, Degenhardt was not truly dead, and only by confronting him in the attic of his mansion, in his monstrous tenebrous form, can the Hunters release the tortured spirits, kill Degenhardt, and escape Ashcroft alive.
The Reckoning received relatively positive critical acclaim, with the Xbox version averaging 80% and the Gamecube version averaging 72%. Gamespot gave the game an 8 out of 10, and said "Hunter succeeds in delivering a very fun though short gaming experience, whether you're playing alone or with up to three friends." Edge awarded the game only a 4 out of 10 in issue 113. Criticisms included the muddled combat system – allowing for pleasurable ranged combat using both analogue sticks but frustrating with melee weapons – dull boss battles and overpopulated multiplayer mode. Comparisons were drawn with the crowd-control fighting of Gauntlet.