Gamestyle Archive Intro: we’re into March 2002 with the PlayStation 2 version of Headhunter. The writer for this review is Richard Stephenson so another welcome blast from the past.
The future, not as friendly as you would of thought. Rather than having state of the art medicine that can cure any illness and having flying cars traveling to the moon as a weekend break, we will be living in a crime ridden age, where the police have been replaced with the ACN (Anti Crime Network) and drug smuggling is a thing of the past, as everyone now smuggles human organs. The ACN are made up with many agents (Headhunters) who work sometimes under cover and sometimes not quite so, to take out massive gangs and general criminal riff-raff populating the citys’ streets.
This is where Jack Wade comes in. After what seems to be a dream, Jack wakes up in a hospital to find he can’t remember anything that happened before! He quickly finds out from his former boss that he was a Headhunter for the ACN, one of the best in fact. His boss promises him that he will help him as much as he can. But for some reason Jack has been dismissed from his former employment and has woken with many enemies. Confused? You will be! Angela Stern. Also pays a visit to Mr Wade, while in hospital, to ask him if he will kill the man who killed her father: Christopher Stern (Founder of the ACN), Jack was apparently the last person to see Chris before he was murdered! Now enough of the story, let’s talk about the actual game.
Headhunter is the first video game to try and re create the magic of Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation. It’s a mix of shooting action, motorcycle riding and stealth. Sadly though Headhunter is a disappointment, while it isn’t a bad game, it just hasn’t lived up to the hype that Sega have been giving it.
The whole game has nasty bugs and major gameplay flaws. The game feels unfinished and has a bitter taste at its core. The motorcycle sections leave you wanting to throw the controller out of the window (not happened since Mario 64) because you can’t ever get used to the controls. I don’t want to spend hours adjusting my hands to play the game, I want to be able to pick up and play at any given time. Not only are the controls bad, but when you do crash (and you will, a LOT!) I found myself going through walls and buildings on many occasions.
The shooting and stealth sections are a lot of fun. You can interactive with the environment to take out enemies. For example; shooting a barrel which then explodes, taking out any bad guys around you! There is nothing more satisfying than sneaking around a bank taking out criminals by hitting them around the back of their head with your gun. Or jumping around a corner and taking out your enemy before jumping back into a safe spot as quick as a blink of an eye.
The missions are huge to say the least; it will take you at least an hour or two to complete just one mission! While they do become a bit repeative towards the end of the game, you don’t really mind as there are many puzzles to break up the action. And very clever ideas, such as you pretending to be one of the bad guys on a walk-e-talkie (which you took from someone you killed!) to lure the enemy right into a trap. It’s these sorts of gameplay innovations that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the game, making it a very enjoyable experience. There are a number of flaws in Headhunter, but they are easily forgiven thanks to the brilliant story, music, gameplay during missions and the L.E.L.I.A (similar to Metal Gear’s VR missions) missions. We always knew that Metal Gear Solid would end up winning, but Headhunter ends a very close and respectable second place in the race of Action titles.
Gamestyle Score: 8/10