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  1. #1
    a.k.a. Cobradabest Cobra!'s Avatar
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    Dc RadioSEGA Retroview: Headhunter [Dreamcast]

    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 bear 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 Because of this, All original guns have been replaced by Electric Neural Projectile guns, or ENP Guns, which is meant to kill people without ruining any organs.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 I have with them 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 really frustrating.
    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 great job!

    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 at all.
    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, and 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.

    Ratings:
    Graphics: 5/5
    Gameplay: 4/5
    Sound: 4/5
    Story: 5/5
    Presentation: 3/5
    Replay Value: 4/5

    Overall: 4.2/5

    Overall, it's an excellent game, an absolute must-have for any PAL Dreamcast/Playstation 2 Owner!

    That pretty much wraps up my review, I hope you enjoyed it.
    Last edited by Cobra!; 29-09-2010 at 23:01. Reason: Fixing many mistakes...
    Don't you EVER forget the "!" in "Cobra!"! Unless you're refering me as "Cobradabest".


  2. #2
    Member Tru's Avatar
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    Nice review!

    I played it a long time ago and can't remember much from it, other than the odd characters and bike riding. I did get hold of a copy last year though, although I've really struggled to get past the VR missions.

  3. #3
    Real name,no gimmiks richarddavies's Avatar
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    Yeah Cobra, that was a really in depth nicely written review there. I bought this a few months ago but haven't been able to play it. My Dreamcast is begining to give up the ghost. It loads the game but won't get past the title screen.

  4. #4
    o_o Wrath Oskvro's Avatar
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    I've been meaning to play this game for a while but I haven't gotten around to getting it yet. :\
    Have you heard my remake of Spring Yard Zone? No? Check it out here: http://soundcloud.com/wrathoskvro/spring-yard-remake

  5. #5
    a.k.a. Cobradabest Cobra!'s Avatar
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    Thanks Guys! Personally, I don't think my review is that great (although it's the best I could do), but others enjoy it, and that's all that matters! :D
    Don't you EVER forget the "!" in "Cobra!"! Unless you're refering me as "Cobradabest".


  6. #6

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    It's "bear with me" btw. Unless you do actually want everyone to read this review bollock naked.
    Tic Tac, sir?

  7. #7
    a.k.a. Cobradabest Cobra!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killer French Bread View Post
    It's "bear with me" btw. Unless you do actually want everyone to read this review bollock naked.
    Thanks, I can't belive I never noticed that.
    Don't you EVER forget the "!" in "Cobra!"! Unless you're refering me as "Cobradabest".


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