Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Like many a reader/contributor to this hallowed site, I love my Xbox 360 and this bastard Dreamcast progeny takes up a large part of my gaming time. Having spent literally 100+ hours playing Fallout3 on that sucker, however, made me hark back to the simpler, more linear gaming experiences from the last generation...
My first choice was to finish God Of War on the *cough!* PS2. Whatever your feelings are towards the PS2, you can't deny that God Of War is one of THE best videogames ever. It shows what can be delivered from a console by developers if enough time is given for development on that console. If games like Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure and Shenmue could be developed for the Dreamcast within it's short lifespan, think what could have been acheived if it had the eight years of life that the PS2 was blessed with... But I digress.
I decided following the joy of God Of War, to finish a Dreamcast game I had previously played half way through, before abandoning it. That game is the mighty Headhunter. The game is set in a not to distant future, where the government is all pervasive, fascistic and working hand in hand with global multi-national corporations. (Sound familiar?)
As well as the rather worrying scenario mentioned above, there is a rather unhealthy trade in human organs, both sanctioned by the government and criminals via the black market. The world in which we find ourselves is beautifully illustrated through out the game via "news bulletins", videos interspersed throughout the game, which tie up the game's back-story and provide a humorous distraction after tense missions!
The character you play is Headhunter Jack Wade. Headhunters are future cops, stealth assassins and all-round bad ass dudes. And who's the baddest bad ass of 'em all? Why YOU of course! Only at the start of the game, you've lost your gun, your license and your memory.
Does this hinder our hero? Fuck no!! That's because Jack is a hybrid of Dirty Harry and Snake Plisken. I'm not gay, but I could swing in that direction for Jack, he's THAT fucking cool!
Fortunately, your former chief and a wealthy heiress who's father has just been murdered are there to set you on your feet again and restore you to your former position as Headhunter number 1. In order to regain your license you need to go through a series of virtual training missions in cyberspace, facilitated by the L.E.I.L.A virtual reality computer.
Oh and did I mention that you travel through your futuristic city-scape on a whopping motorbike? The better you ride your bike, the more experience points you acquire assisting your progress through the game.
The game plays like GTA (the bike-riding bits) and Metal Gear Solid (the stealth bits). The game really shows the potential of the hardware it was produced for, being one of the best games on the Dreamcast and delivering some stunning graphics for it's 2001 release. Unfortunately it never merited a release in the USA on the Dreamcast, as the console was already doomed to obliteration by the PS2 when the game came out. However, it did get a PS2 port, which you can pick up for a pittance if you're silly enough to not have a functioning Dreamcast in your house.
The save system, health regeneration and weapon/ammo upgrades are all conducive to a satisfying gaming experience, although some of the boss battles are bloody difficult! The soundtrack, by Sega stalwart composer Richard Jaques is amazing, so good in fact that I've thrown it up in the videos at the top! Overall I'm glad I delved back into this game and would say it's an essential Dreamcast purchase/experience. Father K rating 9/10.