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Showing posts with label Head Hunter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Head Hunter. Show all posts

Two Wheels...Good?

Well, the weather’s finally decided to behave and we in the UK have been blessed (temporarily at least) with a fairly decent few days. No grey mornings, no torrential afternoons and no evenings where you think it might be safer to move your car away from the trees that are swaying dangerously close to the telegraph pole outside the front door. Yes - this happened just a few weeks ago. Granted, our weather here in good old England isn't as severe as in some other countries, but for the past few years it has been consistently shit. But hurrah! The sun has come out and stayed out for the past week, and that can only be good for someone like me...someone who rides a motorcycle! Yes, the recent fine weather has meant that I’ve been riding the highways and byways of Northern England, taking in the sights and sounds. But this ain't no Goddamned travelogue. No, this is the Dreamcast Junkyard: the epicentre/epicenter of all things Dreamcast, depending on where you reside.

So why am I bleating on about weather and motorbikes and all sorts of other unrelated crap? Well, it’s because I got back from my most recent bike ride and suddenly realised that the Dreamcast has a whole host of two-wheeled-mode-of-transport-related titles. Well, three dedicated ones anyway. And I figured it was about damn time that I had a look at them. There’s also another game that features motorcycles, and I'll get around to that. Eventually. But before then...let us cast a critical eye on the Dreamcast’s stable of ‘proper’ bike ‘em ups...

Headhunter Completed








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.

Convalescence

Alreet, hows everyone doing? Seems like aeons ago that I was last here, but then with the mesmerizing skillz of The Gagaman, Father Krishna and Caleb all now combining, it's not the end of the world. Just the beginning, oh yes.*Evil cackle*

I'm recovering from a heavy night on the piss, that incidentally included a good kicking from several 20 stone Neanderthals (see left). However, this isn't a bad thing. Looking on the bright side of being bequeathed lips that look like a pair of inner tubes and a re-modeled (albeit slightly bent) nose, last night's UFC has given me a reason to lounge around today like a man of leisure simply in order to recouperate and reflect.

And by recouperate and reflect, I mean play Dreamcast games. But you knew that already.

But before I dive into my usual blurb about what I've been up to on the virtual field, let me first congratulate The Gagaman for his stirling efforts to keep the Dream alive. Virtua Tennis with a fishing rod? Marvellous, bloody marvellous. In a similar vein, I thought it might be possible to really shit in the Wii's cornflakes and play Tee Off with the rod too, but alas that idea was binned when I remembered that you don't actually use the analogue stick to control your player's swing. That and the fact that Tee Off doesn't recognise the rod as a controller anyway. Bah.

To be fair, I am slightly guilty of neglecting my Dreamcast promoting duties of late but hopefully this will change shortly, and the resurgence is clearly noteable in the recent purchases made by my good self that have totalled nearly TWENTY QUID in recent days. Yes, £20 on DC related software. Shocking innit?

Several months of no buying action at all, and now this:

Head Hunter
The Rt. Hon. Father Krishna MBE waxed lyrical about Jack Wade's near future adventure several posts ago, I know, but let me emphasize just how good this third person adventure really is. Want stealthy sections? want fucking amazing shootouts? want a hair raising orchestral - almost Hollywood quality - soundtrack? want mind-melting, Dreamcast-pushing graphics? want GTA-style motorbike sections that make you tear your already thinning hair out? Then go out RIGHT NOW and get hold of a copy of Head Hunter. Unlike anything else on the console, Head Hunter is, for me at least, one of the highlights of the Dreamcast's catalogue and stands out due to it's outstanding production qualities

The whole package is just so well done - from the newscast style sections that move the story along, to the cutscenes and voice acting, to the loading screens that show mock-up adverts for in game fictional products from the sinister BioTech Corp., everything about Headhunter is silky. Unfortunaltey, Head Hunter is a PAL-only release (as I'm sure we've mentioned several thousand times in the past), so if you're not from Europe you're gonna probably have a hard time getting a copy, but you'd be advised to at least try to do so. Brill. And, again, sorry for banging on about a game Father Krishna spouted about earlier...it's just, y'know, FUCKING AWESOME.

Championship Surfer
Oh God. What the fucking hell is this shit?! I got it free with Headhunter granted, but Christ almighty - this dirge should never have been allowed to see the light of day. Well, maybe a really crap cloudy day, with thunder and brimstone and shit falling from the heavens. As you can probably tell, I don't really rate Championship Surfer. I'm all for trying a new style of game; we'd never have gotten NiGHTS if nobody ever tried new stuff...but Championship Surfer ain't NiGHTS. It's a lorry-load of decaying pig cadavers covered in puss from the ulcers of a million bed-ridden pensioners' legs. Basically, you pick your gnarly surf dude (cretin)...and do some surfing. On waves that look like they're made of Lego. Yep, Champo is yet another Dreamcast game that features water effects that Wave Race 64 laughs in the face of. How dare Krome Studios try to palm these waves off on us! Look at them!

Sorry about that. Got a bit carried away there. Of course, good graphics don't make a game (as PS3 owners will vouch), but when the graphics consist almost completely of water...surely it's a good idea to make them look something like water? Not fucking blue tack. Shit me, the water in fucking Dead or Alive 2 looks better than the wet stuff in Championship Surfer...and that's a fucking fighting game!!!

Oh, and the rest of it's just as pathetic as the waves. Just in case you were wondering.

Sonic Adventure 2
Yay! We all love Sonic, and y'know, he loves us too. Sonic Adventure 2 is the sequel to...er...Sonic Adventure and features more of the same really. You get to bomb around as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and a few other characters collecting rings and generally kicking Robotinik's arse. Cool. One thing bothers me though. Why, if he's so good with a screw driver, doesn't Robotnik create a robot that doesn't fall to bits when a hedgehog jumps on it? Trial and fucking error my man. He's had about NINE freaking Sonic games before SA2 to figure that out, do a bit of Q&A and iron out the technical difficulties. Sheesh.

That niggle aside, SA2 is a wicked little game - a true showcase of the DC's technical capabilities. The visuals are excellent and the music, much as it pains me to say, is also rather good. A Dreamcast-ignorant mate of mine was round while I was playing Headhunter and then Sonic Adventure 2 and upon seeing the graphics being displayed couldn't believe that the DC was released 8 years ago. So that must surely go some way to explain how good these games look, even today.

But then I put Championship Surfer on and the magic was lost. DAMN THAT SHIT TO HELL!!!
I almost converted one of the ignorant and opened his mind, only to be foiled by the dystopian powers of Championship Surfer. Speaking of dystopian powers, my face hurts again so I'm off to swill down half a box of paracetamol with an 8 pack of Guinness.

And a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Oh, and don't forget to get those Fission rods out of the cupboard for a quick game of Virtua Tennis, y'hear?!

Dreamcast Love On The Eve Of The Wii...


Well it’s about time I put ‘pen to paper’ (so to speak), and make sure I don’t find myself sacked off from the Dreamcast Junkyard team for lack of effort, in the wake of the Gagaman(n)’s recent Herculean posting odyssey...

Much has happened since my last epistle. Man Utd. saw off Man City in an embarrassing 1-0 Derby defeat at the City Of Manchester Stadium, which I had the misfortune to watch in an Australian Bar in Barcelona. It was full of Reds and there was a bigger cheer when City missed their penalty, than when United scored theirs.


Man Utd of course went on to win the Premiership, whilst City managed to clock up their first record in many years... fewest goals scored at home in one season. DOH!
This has ultimately lead to the sacking of Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce, whilst Fergie and his boys strolled triumphantly around Old Trafford last Sunday. BAH!
I have solved one Man United mystery that had always puzzled me though… Apparently the letters "A.I.G" on the United shirt stand for "Almost In Greece…" :)



But I digress… It’s at dark times like this, that one seeks solace in the little box of wonders that is the Dreamcast. I’ve been feeling super-love for my Dreamcast recently, since I committed to buying a Wii. (I’m getting it tomorrow, May 16th , for my almost top secret 40th birthday….But DOn’t tell anyone, I DOn’t want a fuss.)

It’s as if I need to prove my love for my DC, as if I’ve been caught by my significant other, with a pert young super-model on my arm. I need the Dreamcast to know it’ll always be ‘the one’, even if there’s another in my life…

So here’s a quick round up of some of the games I’ve been playing over the last few months, in a sort of "micro-review medley" type thing…


Last Hope: This fiendishly difficult side scrolling 'Shump' (I’ve become a bit of a shump fan of late…) comes to us courtesy of Germany’s NG:Dev team and is a 2007 release. That fact in itself, is one which fills me with a rosy glow, knowing that there are still brand new Dreamcast releases coming out. Then my rosy glow dissipates into icy water flushing through my bowels, as I remember that the announcement of the cessation of GD Roms, that could put pay to Dreamcast development forever…


Still the game is fantastic. Originally and (very costly) developed for the Neo Geo, the game was ported to the Dreamcast and released this January. The graphics are fabulous and the gameplay somewhat hypnotic. As your ship glides smoothly into the oncoming landscape, you must blast away at alien foes whilst, attempting to fly through power-ups and avoid the oncoming mines and missiles pitted against you. I’ve only managed to get as far as the first boss, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is its musical score, (available as a limited edition CD release bundled with a special game pack). The music is like ambient-trancey Kraftwerk and builds as your ship progresses through the game. Quite beautiful really. Oh and its region free. Games TM Magazine reviewed it recently and gave it an 80% score and I’ll agree… 8/10 Why not buy it here?


In total contrast to this frenetic kill-fest is Virtua Athlete 2K. This decathlon based sorts sim is a more serious update of Sega Sport’s ‘Athlete Kings’ which appeared on the Saturn. The gameplay involves a lot of speedy button mashing and split second timing as you power your athlete through a variety of track and field events. This is not a game to be played on your own, but is an ideal party game for up to four players. It must be good, as it has even enticed the two biggest Gingers to pick up and play. The ideal game for non-gamers and a great laugh after a couple of drinks! For the fun factor alone, 9/10. For a more considered review look here…



Moving on to Silent Scope, the best Light Gun game that never was… This arcade port was made for the Light Gun, but due to the legacy of the Columbine shootings, it was only released to be compatible with the standard controller. A shame, because this really is a great shooter! As the name suggests, the scope is the key, allowing you to ‘nail far away targets with pinpoint accuracy’ (according to the back of the box…)


You play as a former special operative in the British Anti-Terrorism force (very adept at killing innocent Brazilians no doubt…) currently residing in Chicago. Your foes include the quite wankily titled: Cobra The Iron Man, Hornet The Sniper, Tom & Jerry ( the genetically spliced mutated Killing Machine), Scorpion The Butcher and… Wait for it… Monica The Armoured Secretary… No shit! Un-fucking-believable!
What tosspot came up with these characters? I don’t bloody know… This game is excellent arcade style shooting fun, but I’m only going to give it 7/10 because it screams out to be played with a gun… So there! Wanna know more? Look here…


Head Hunter: The moment I started to play this game I knew it would become a lifelong favourite, up there with the likes of Shenmue 1 & 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica… Graphically lush and with fabulous gameplay, this game is something of a futuristic bounty hunter odyssey, set in a bleak, corporate, fascist America. (A little like today's USA then...)



Spanning two discs and with a brilliant storyline (interspersed with fake video news bulletins and product commercials), this game has been likened to Metal Gear Solid due to it’s stealth missions. However, it’s fusion of motorbike riding and assassination had me thinking of the Vice City franchise and the untapped potential of the Dreamcast…



The character you play is Jack Wade, a cross between Dirty Harry and Snake Plisken. He’s quite literally “cool as fuck”! Having lost his memory it’s your job to train him up again using the L.E.I.L.A virtual training facility, gain experience in riding your bike and regain your bounty hunter license and then go out an kick motherfuckin' ass in the criminal underworld…

It’s an utterly fabulous game, but can be a little frustrating when it comes to bike riding, as the streets are cluttered with other vehicles which you inevitably hit… this then causes your experience points to drop, which is a killer when its taken you so long to build them up… I’m not the first one to notice this, have a look here… Overall Score? It would have got a 10/10 but due to the bike crashy thing, it only gets a 9/10. Still very definitely recommended…


Resident Evil: Code Veronica- This is an excellent game, but one with which I definitely have a love-hate relationship with, that has oft been chronicled on my other blogs. Like Marmite or Shenmue, you’ll either love it or hate it. At times I felt both emotions about the game… I played right through the whole thing and then left it unfinished with about 40 minutes to an hour (if that) of gameplay to go. I ended up watching its conclusion on Youtube, I just couldn’t be arsed any more. ( I also bought RE:CV Survivors Guide and Light Gun for the PS2, enabling me to whizz through the stages of the game AND shoot Zombies in House Of the Dead Style… Which is nice...



You see the problem with this horror survival classic, is that failure to pick up items at the start of the game, can impact on your ability to succeed, way into the second disc (even with a walkthrough). Still fabulously plotted, stunning graphics and some great gameplay make this one of my all time Dreamcast favourites… 8/10! Intrigued? Look here… and here… (and I know the video is from the PS2 port, but it shows the graphic spleandour of the original and goes very nicely with the music!)




As well as these games I’ve also been playing some classic Dreamcast lovelies, oft discussed on this hallowed forum… Soul Calibur, Powerstone, Crazy Taxi, SWWS (Euro Edition) and Jet Set Radio. This is because I’ve sneaked a Dreamcast into the traditionally console free ‘little living room’, where we have a 60HZ TV, and I’m currently enjoying the improved graphics and smoother frame rates (or whatever it is that a 60HZ TV does for your DC). It’s made me think of investing in a new scart lead or even a VGA adaptor…



Finally to offset a disastrously poor purchase of three Japanese games from Play Asia, (I’m no Gagaman(n) when it comes to making wise choices…), I was delighted to receive my own copy of Half Life from the wonderful Gary from Dreamcasting@btinternet.com This legendary piece of un-published vapour ware was first brought to the DCJY’s attention by the great Tomleecee a while back. To own my own copy however is a sublime experience. The quality of the packaging is just amazing, coming in a PAL Dreamcast case, with glossy front and back cover, printed disc and even a glossy covered manual, replete with cheats! I cannot recommend Gary’s work highly enough! Check him out and BUY STUFF… Like a Dr. Feelgood of Dreamcasting, he can get you what you need… Have a look here


Well that’s me for now! I’m off to enjoy my last evening of being 39 and anticipating a new Wii flavoured chapter of my gaming life….

Goodnight dear children… wherever you are…