Described by many as ‘Metal Gear Solid for the Dreamcast’. Head Hunter sends you to a futuristic beachside town of America (California I think).
The game starts with various news reports that have been shown recently, telling you a brief description of how the government has set up the ‘Head Hunter’ scheme and how crime is now treated- criminals being forced to give organ donations. Organ donations are the new medical achievement taking the organs from a dead person and implanting them directly into a needy citizen. Of course any criminal that has to undergo ‘forced donation’ will of course die in the process.
You are given a fairly short cut-scene, in which you wake up- about to undergo some form of operation. You break free from your captors- with no real memory of what has happened to you in the last few months. You pass out and wake up in hospital, watching television; you soon learn that Christopher Stern- the leader of the ACN (Anti Crime Network) and the man behind the Head Hunter scheme, a powerful political man, has been assassinated.
No one has been caught, but many fingers are pointing at the mysterious Don Fulci, a crime lord who opposed the Stern ideology- but seeing as no one has ever seen the man, he is quite hard to arrest. Fortunately Stern left his Vice President, Alan Sharpe, in charge and he seems keen to continue in the same vein as Stern.
While in hospital you are approached by your former boss (You used to be Head Hunter) who tells you that he will try to help in any way-but you have to be careful- He tells you to get into training again. Using the LEILA system (Virtual Reality system-basically the same as Metal Gear Solids training program-by the way I will compare this to the Konami counterpart- as they are both very similar), you will gain the licenses for various guns and security cards.
Angela Stern, the late Christopher Sterns daughter, also approaches you. She requests that you work for her, help to find out who killed her father and why.
The game is very similar to that of Metal Gear Solid (not story wise) but gameplay and the engine are all very similar. But I did find this game more fun to play with. It doesn’t have so many of the cliché characteristics- like Solid Snake pretending to be the ‘hard-nut’ feeling no emotions, then cracking at the first sign of a beautiful woman. Jack Wade (your character) does have a similar air about him- but he doesn’t seem to put it on as much.
The game sees you venturing through many
parts of the city, using stealth and your special combat skills to
dispatch of enemies, as you help the lovely Angela in the mystery behind
her fathers death.
There is nothing really wrong with the graphics, but then again- they are not as impressive as they should have been. They look (dare I say), very Playstation2-esque. I find that the PS2 has very rough graphics. They are good, but they (often) aren’t as smooth or sharp as on the Dreamcast or other consoles. It seems to me as though Sega had intended the game to be released on the PS2 originally and programmed the game in such a way that it could easily be ported across.
There are no glitches in the graphics there is plenty to be seen on screen. But the attention to detail is low- you could be in a room filled with items, but it will look bare.
The FMV is very poor. Not at all good by today’s standards, they would be forgiven on the Saturn, Playstation or a few years ago on the PC (When PCs seemed to do very low quality FMV sequences), but not on a next generation console.
Though the graphics aren’t unbearably poor. The game is very playable- everything that needs to be on screen is shown quite clearly, and its not as if they are reduced to looking like PS/Saturn graphics. But it would have been very nice if Sega actually put some effort in to, what was to be, one of the last ‘big game’ releases.
The game does run very smoothly. Not showing any slow down or jerky-ness. The game has plenty of sneaking around and gun fights. The fighting system is slightly easier than that of Metal Gear Solid –locking onto targets is clearly shown and it is so much easier to knock an opponent out- simply tap a few buttons. On MGS you would have to fiddle with the control stick and button pad, until you broke an enemy’s neck. Jack Wade does incorporate some decent moves into the action. A quick side roll whilst firing. Or roll forward, dodging bullets and shooting the opponent.
Jack is very easy to control, and the camera positioning is actually good- makes a change from many 3D games- you are able to everything on screen. And the use of the digital map (MGS copy again) is very good- although not original.
The enemies seem to be slightly harder to avoid than in Metal Gear Solid- they show more signs of intelligence and you won’t find yourself trying to fend off hundreds of guards- even though your well hidden- just because you tripped an alarm. They need to search for you harder- if you go into hiding.
One of the best parts of the game, which also makes it for me, is riding your motorbike across town, to get to new locations. This is great fun- trying to weave through traffic at speeds that would make even the most hardened rider nervous. Its only a pity that you can’t get off your bike anywhere in the city and walk around- or visit random shops, like in Shenmue, that would have been very cool indeed.
The overall game is well thought out, the story line has a few small cliché twists in it- to keep many gamers happy. The game engine is solid enough, it’s very easy to control and navigate through the various menus.
The sound in the game is one of the best things. When you ride around on your bike, you have a very compelling and powerful piece of music playing- one, which I believe, actually won an award for the composer. All the traffic sounds are good- though your bike’s engine drowns them out and you’ll most likely be humming along to the tune in the background. The levels in the game are atmospheric, sound effects and music alike- you will have to listen out for any footsteps in a nearby room and be prepared for anything.
Surprisingly enough- this game does have a good replay value. Once you complete the game you can play through again on a harder setting- making the game more enjoyable.
Also there are times to beat in the LEILA training program, once you beat them all and you complete the game- you can access the special locker, which gives you a few bonus items- All weapons, unlimited ammo and possibly something else- I forget. It is meant to be possible to open the Star Locker before completing the game- but I have heard that this can result in you not being able to complete the game properly or something. So it is better if you wait to reap your rewards after you have completed the game- I’m not sure if Sega intended this to happen or if it is a glitch that they missed out on.
The game, although nothing special, is incredibly fun to play and you should find yourself sticking through to the end, and most likely giving it at least one more spin through.
I would say, yes. I wouldn’t pay full price for the game. But if you can pick it up second hand then I would definitely go for it. I prefer the game and story over Metal Gear Solid- I was very disappointed with that game. Though I’m not sure if it will beat Metal Gear Solid 2- as I haven’t played that yet, but if you do own a PS2 and MGS2, I would give this game a look, it may interest you.
Nothing particularly special about this game. Solid acting and well scripted throughout- you won’t find yourself cringing at the characters for being moronic –like Resident Evil on the PS and Saturn. It’s a real joy to play and you should find yourself returning for some stealthy action.
Replay Value: 8
Worth Buying Now? 9
Good ol' Jack Wade ponders whether he should take the blue or red pill.
Mr. Wade doesn't travel on a Moped, no sir. He travels really, really fast while doing it in style!