Lost In Translation/Spy Hunter

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Spy Hunter
Spy Hunter marquee.
Spy Hunter title screen.
Spy Hunter control panel.
Manufacturer Bally Midway
Released 1983
6 Button(s)
Main CPU Z80 (@ 5.000 MHz)
Z80 (@ 2.000 MHz)
Sound CPU Stereo
(2x) AY-3-8910A (@ 2.000 MHz)
Raster (Vertical)
480 x 480 pixels
30.00 Hz
68 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 26 ROMs
266,272 bytes (260.03 KiB)
MAME ID spyhunt

About The Game

Spy Hunter is an overhead view, vertically scrolling action/driving arcade video game.

It places the player as the driver of a G-6155 CIA Prototype Interceptor sports car. The object of the game is to travel the freeways and waterways, hunting down and destroying as many enemy vehicles as possible, all the while not harming civilian vehicles.

The game begins with the player driving the G-6155. Soon, the player starts to encounter enemy vehicles which try to force the player's car off the road and crash. Each enemy vehicle has its own special feature, such as tire slashers or bulletproof armour.

Points are scored for driving on the road and for destroying enemy vehicles. There is a lead-in time when the player has an endless supply of cars. After this time expires, the player will lose a life each time the car crashes. Extra cars can be earned with high scores. The first extra car is earned at a default value of 30,000 points, but this value can vary depending on settings.

The player must be careful to avoid harming civilian vehicles on the road. There are three types: blue cars, pink cars, and motorcycles. Hurting these vehicles causes scoring to stop briefly, during which time the player’s score reads 'NO POINTS'.

Initially, the only weapon the player's car has available is a dual front-mounted machine gun which has an endless supply of ammunition. Early on, these guns and the player's driving skill are his only weapons against the enemy cars. The player can also attempt to force or ram the enemy cars off the road. Eventually the player encounters an ally, the weapons van. After the player drives past the weapons van parked on the side of the road, the van accelerates past the player's car and positions itself in front of it and drops a ramp. The player can then drive up the ramp to enter the back of the van. The van then pulls to the side of the road and deploys the spy car equipped with a new weapon. A symbol atop the weapons van indicates which type of special weapon it carries. The player is not obligated to use the weapons supplied by the van. Also, if uninterested, the player can simply ignore the van and drive past it.

There are three special weapons in all and they can all be equipped simultaneously. The special weapons consist of an oil slick, a smoke screen and missiles. Each special weapon has a limited number of uses. The smoke screen and missiles can each be used three times. The special weapons are activated via dedicated buttons on the steering wheel. Once the weapons ammo is depleted or before, the car can be refitted with a new supply from the weapons van.

There are six enemies in all, each with their own special characteristic :

  • 'Switchblade' or 'Never To Be Trusted' cars have tire slashers. Knives pop out of this car's tires and can force the player's car to crash if they touch his tires.
  • 'The Road Lord' or 'Bulletproof Bully' cars have bulletproof armor plating; machine guns are ineffective against these cars.
  • 'The Enforcer' or 'Double Barrel Action' is a limousine with a shotgun toting thug who shoots at the player's car.
  • 'The Mad Bomber' or 'Master Of The Sky' is a helicopter which drops bombs. This enemy can only be destroyed with missiles.
  • 'Barrel Dumper' is a boat which drops lethal explosives into the water.
  • 'Doctor Torpedo' is a boat which shoots torpedoes at the player's ship.

Occasionally a message appears on screen that says 'Bridge out – Detour on Left'. Then the player must drive his car into a boat house located alongside the road, otherwise he will crash into the water and lose a life. After driving through this house, the player’s car is turned into a speedboat on a river, with enemy boats which try to destroy the player. In this area, if the player uses the oil slick, the boat instead issues a line of fire which destroys any ship directly behind the player. In this area, occasionally the river splits; the left side continues the river, the right side causes the player to drive through another house where the boat is changed back into the car.

Later in the game the player gets a warning that there are 'Icy Roads Ahead', then the player enters an area that has white road which is very slick. The icy roads section eventually ends and goes back to normal roads. Icy roads occur again on and off during the rest of the game.

Additional Technical Information

Players : 1

Control : Steering wheel with gear shift and pedal (High/Low)

Buttons : 5



Released in December 1983.

Originally the James Bond theme was planned as the background music for the game. The inability to obtain the rights to use the music, however, forced Midway to change the theme on shipping models. In the end, the Peter Gunn theme music was a large part of the game's appeal.

An helicopter sequence was also planned. Shortage of memory, however, did not allow for this feature. The game has no end and at no time does the player ever leave the car but it was RUMOURED to have a graveyard sequence, an actual end and a sequence where the player exited the car for on-foot action.

The car was based on one of the designer's own Nissan 280Z. The name of the car, the G-6155, is a clever tribute to designer George Gomez - the numbers stand for his birth date.

From George Gomez : 'My original design for both upright and sit-down were identical. And they were produced that way if only because of the economies of manufacturing. Which means : why make different parts, since it will cost less to make more of one design. "Spy Hunter 2" which I had nothing to do with was different. On my game both left and right grips should each have a trigger and a thumb button, in addition to the center button (call weapons van). The shifter was a 2 position device, low and high. Of course there was the gas pedal and a series of dashboard weapons lights for machine guns, missiles, oil slick and smoke. After the first few thousand games the grips were retooled in plastic and they went on to be used in hundreds of different games. They were licensed to Happ controls in the late 80's and they have been on almost every manufacturer's games at one point or another. The original sand cast aluminum grips(painted black) were actually molded directly from patterns that I carved and they had softer contours and were more comfortable but they were also very expensive. So to cost reduce them the company took the grips and retooled them to be injection molded plastic. However the patterns for the plastic grips were made off the engineering drawings and the drawings of that era were not as representative of the actual parts I carved, since they were made after my patterns instead of before. I have the original wood patterns along with some other stuff from development of the game in a box somewhere.'.

A Spy Hunter machine was shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.


Target Points
The Road Lord 150
Switch Blade 150
The Enforcer 500
The Mad Bomber 700
Barrel Dumper 150
Doctor Torpedo 500
Driving through the boathouse 1,500
Driving on the road for each 1/4 screen travelled 15
Driving on the water for each 1/4 screen travelled 25

Tips and tricks

A Great Cheat That Does Several Things At Once

  1. You need to have a supply truck available, and a be at a bridge-out level. When the detour appears, don't take it - instead, call up your truck.
  2. Wait until the road has straightened out into the bridge and drive into the truck. When the truck pulls over and lets you out, stay on the side of the road, and SLOWLY drive up until you reach the gap in the bridge.
  3. Drive on until you car is about half-way over the edge, and wait until the Enforcer comes along. He will try and get you, but he'll be unable to drive far enough to do so. At this point, I would get a friend to mind the game, while I went for a break. When I returned, I just drove across the bridge, flying mysteriously across the bridge out, until I reached the other side.
  4. You will notice several differences to the game after this happens. The Enforcer no longer appears, the game gets no harder, and Dr. Torpedo no longer appears on water sections!


  1. Spy Hunter (1983)
  2. Spy Hunter II (1987)


Designed & Programmed By
Tom Leon (TFL)
Jeff Nauman
Kevin O'Connor (KO)
Brian Colin (BFC)
Steve Ulstad (SJU)
Sharon Perry (SP)
Peter Gunn Theme Composed By
Henry Mancini
Group Manager
Bill Adams
Cabinet Guru
George Gomez (GG)
Cabinet Assistant
John Kubik (JCK)
Additional Staff
Atish Ghosh (AG)

Cabinet and Artwork


Colecovision (1984)
Atari 2600 (1984)
Colecovision (1984)
Atari XEGS
Nintendo Famicom (1987)
Sony PlayStation (1997, "Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Midway Collection 2")
Nintendo Game Boy Color (1999, "Arcade Hits - Moon Patrol / Spy Hunter")
Nintendo 64 (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume I")
Sega Dreamcast (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 2")
Microsoft XBOX (2002, "Spy Hunter") : Hidden game.
Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Nintendo GameCube (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Microsoft XBOX (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Sony PSP (2005, "Midway Arcade Treasures - Extended Play")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2005, "Spy Hunter / Super Sprint")
Commodore C64 (1983)
Atari 800 (1984)
PC [Booter] (1984)
Apple II (1984)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1985) (United Kingdom only)
Atari ST (1985, "Major Motion")
Amstrad CPC (1988)
PC [MS Windows, CD-Rom] (1997, "Arcade's Greatest Hits - The Midway Collection 2")
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2004, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Palm OS ("Midway Arcade Classic")

Sound Comparison

Platform Song Titles Sound Source
Arcade Level Intro Alternate Level Intro Full Uncut Theme MAME 0.125

External Links

The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.