Recently, as you may or may not know, RadioSEGA have formed a Review team, I applied for it, and got in! and Yesterday, my Headhunter review was published, It's in the RadioSEGA website right now, but for those don't go on that site and go on this, here it is:
This is a review of a very much unheard of game, when people talk about
good Dreamcast games, they never talk about Headhunter, and I think
that’s disgraceful! This game deserves way more attention than it gets!
So, hopefully this review will spread the word about this game, and many
will see what they’ve been missing out on. I’m not a professional
reviewer by any means though, so bare with me.
Headhunter is a game made by Sega's Amuze, and was released in 2001,
late in the Dreamcast's life and in PAL format only, however, there was a
Playstation 2 version released a year later in the US, and a sequel was
made for the PS2 and Xbox in 2003.
I'm going to review the Dreamcast version, as that's the one I have.
The game is set in the near future and it’s about crime being on the
rise, so the "Anti-Crime Network", or ACN for short, has been founded,
and it consists of Bounty Hunters named "Headhunters". Prisoners not
only suffer a jail sentence, but removal of an organ to be donated by
Biotech to the more worthy. Because of this, All original guns have been
replaced by Electric Neural Projectile guns, or ENP Guns, which is
meant to kill people without ruining any organs. You play as the former
Top Ranked Headhunter named "Jack Wade", who got captured and has
suffered amnesia, and got his Headhunter licence revoked because of this
and now Hank Redwood is the top ranked Headhunter, Angela Stern comes
up to Jack asking him to investigate the murder of her father,
Christopher Stern, Founder of the ACN. Jack agrees to investigate the
murder, In order to do so however he would need to regain his licence,
by taking a series of LEILA tests, LEILA stands for "Law Enforcement and
Licence Approval” (I don’t know what the "I” is doing there, though,
perhaps it's so you can pronounce it).
That's pretty much it at the start, alot more things unfold as you play
the game, but I don't wanna spoil anything, overall, it's a very good
plot, although it can be a bit complicated, but I like stories that are
like that, the only problem is explaining them in review.
Then you get to the Gameplay, you start off wondering around Angela's
house, looking at photos, and qualifications and whatnot. Then you go
outside, and now you get to ride the motorbike, this takes a little
getting used to, but when you do, there's fun to be had, although all
you can do in these parts is go to the next destination for the next
mission. You need to get skill points to advance in the game as well,
you gain them just by riding around, however, if you crash into
anything, you lose most if not all of what you earned, this can get
The missions in the game are stealth based, They're not usually my cup
of tea, I’m usually the type of guy who prefers the "Run and Gun” type
of game, but I enjoy them… alot. Most reviews say they're like Metal
Gear Solid, but I haven’t played that game, so I can't confirm. You will
need to upgrade your licence, by taking a series of virtual reality
tests. They are 6 licences in this game, C, B, A, AA, AAA and Star, you
get 4 tests per licence, a motorbike test, a stealth test combat test,
and a combination of the 3. They’re 2 times to beat, one of which is of
course the clear time, which you NEED to beat in order to pass the test,
and the other is Hank Redwood’s record. this one’s optional, but if you
beat Hank’s record on all of the tests, you get the Star licence, I
haven’t got there myself, but from what I’ve heard, the weapons you get
from earning it takes up so much of your inventory, you can’t pick up
the items you need to complete the game. The only thing is, it doesn’t
feel the same as getting a licence. It’s not like in Gran Turismo, where
it’s optional, but still compulsory. In Headhunter, you NEED to do it,
you can’t even attempt to enter a mission without the required licence.
There's a harder difficulty version available once you complete the game
called "Headhunter V2", but I've yet to try it, from what I've heard,
it's exactly the same, only harder.
The Gameplay overall is very well done, it's not one of those games
where you stop playing in the middle of it, you're going to want to keep
playing it until the end, or at least until you trap yourself, unable
to continue, like I have.
The Graphics are amazing, especially for the time, it looks like a
PS2/GCN/Xbox game from 2003 or 2004, and this was 2001, on a so-called
inferior system, and they aren’t any glitches either, so for a console
that has half the RAM of the PS2 (although double the VRAM), they did a
The presentation is overall average, It has really cool futuristic menus
and the movies are decent enough quality. The intro is a series of
fictional broadcasts, all of which relate to the games story one way or
another, you will also see news broadcasts in the game, there's only one
problem with this intro, It's WAY too long, it’s like 10 minutes long,
where as most intros would take like 1 or 2 minutes, if even that. Just
as well it's skippable.
Secondly, this game has by far the WEIRDEST load times I’ve ever seen in
a video game, for example, there’s this one with a picture of someone
pulling off an ugly smile and text saying "Can you afford NOT having a
nice smile?”, yeah... that pretty much sums up what you'll expect in the
many loading screens you'll encounter in the game, ok, sure, that's the
weirdest loading screen, but none of them fit Headhunters serious mood
The game uses both FMV and In-Game cutscenes, the FMV cutscenes looks
really nice, Amuze have used this program called "4X Movie", which is
meant to compress the movie but retain the original quality, you will
see a little bit of pixelation in the news broadcasts if you look
carefully, but the pre-rendered cutscenes look just fine. As for the
In-Game cutscenes, they're not that many of them though, they aren’t
that long, and they aren’t any facial movement in the characters, but
they look nice.
The Music in this game is composed by none other, than the legendary
Richard Jacques, who worked on numerous other soundtracks from games
such as the Saturn version of Sonic 3D, Jet Set Radio and Metropolis
Street Racer, although there isn't much music in the game, and that the
music that IS in this game isn’t that great when first heard, it
definitely gives the game an atmosphere, and on some levels, you’ll be
there for ages figuring out what to do or just struggling at a boss, the
music will eventually grow on you, as it has for me.