Headhunter was a video game series produced by SEGA between 2001 and 2004, starting with Headhunter for the Dreamcast in 2001 and later ported for the PlayStation
2 in 2002. It's one of those games where you can't quite put your finger on why certain parts seem familiar. Hugging a wall to hide or sneak a peek at anyone around a corner
? A mansion related to a much bigger scheme involving science and big bad corporation
? A gigantic man-monster with only "kill" on the mind
? Well, that's something a LOT of people pointed out upon playing it, but it wasn't really at point of criticism.Headhunter takes place in the near future. The plot revolves around Jack Wade, a headhunter who's suffered a case of Laser-Guided Amnesia
after a mysterious incident involving him in a lab, escaping, and a good old explosion. A headhunter is basically a bounty hunter that doubles as a cop, whose job involves non-lethally taking down criminals, who then get their internal organs moved to help out the Rich
part of society. Jack's amnesia means that he's introduced to everything about society in this future. Expect motorcycling, shooting guys down with stun guys, and a conspiracy involving criminals and Science
A sequel was made in 2004, Headhunter Redemption, but was Darker and Edgier
than its predecessor. In this one, it's 20 years after the events of Headhunter, and the world has become much, much worse. There are two parts of the world, Above and Below. The Above is the surface, while the Below is an underground area that appears to be occupied by criminals and machines, the latter of whom pose a bigger threat to the people on Above, as they are controlled by a mysterious individual only known as He Who Walks With Machines. Jack lost his son when the machines abducted him years ago, and is now falls under Grumpy Old Man
. He finds a partner in Leeza X, a young woman who grew up on the streets of Above with her past to be explored heavily later in the game. As they discover that a gang of weapon smugglers way be connected to Below, there's hope that Jack might find his son and the tension between Above and Below may finally end.While the first Headhunter had a mix of light and dark tones, this one didn't pull things back, creating quite a contrast between the games. It did well, but not as good as the original.
Tropes for Headhunter include:
- Bittersweet Ending: Hooray, Jack and Angela saved the world! Oh no, it turns out that Jack killed Angela's dad after being hypnotized...
- Plus, The Virus is activated by the hypnotic X-Must commercial.
- Bloodless Carnage: Justified by the use of Electro-Neural Projectiles. These rounds kill only the brain, leaving the rest of the organs intact, allowing for their harvesting.
- Law Enforcement, Inc.: The ACN is the main police force in the game, but Headhunters can go independent as well.
- Mad Scientist: Doctor Ernst Zweiberg. His goal? Create a "perfect" being who will rule the world after humanity is wiped out, including himself. His creation's name? Adam. Along with the Biblical reference, the idea of a Master Race comes across as Does This Remind You of Anything
- Press X to Not Die: Against Hank Redwood in a shoot-out, which is out of the blue as there isn't anything that indicates this.
- The Rival: Hank Redwood. At first, he just comes off as a jerk. Turns out he's working under the bad guy's payroll.
Tropes for Headhunter Redemption include:
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Leeza is The Protagonist for most of the game.
- Bittersweet Ending: Yay, the world is saved once again! Unfortunately, Leeza X's dad and Jack's son are both dead. Still, humanity is now free from the control of the Machines, so there's hope that events like in the game don't repeat themselves.
- Black Comedy: Some of the arguments that can be overheard ingame. For example, one domestic dispute can be overheard where the wife implies that her husband had previously torn off one of her arms and is taunting him to do it again.
- Darker and Edgier
- The Man Behind the Man: Turns out the He Who Walks with Machines, Leeza's dad, is actually used as a puppet by a network of machine-like humans in a Hive Mind who were part of a computer network system Leeza's dad made but got out of hand. They want to destroy the humans in Above as a way of getting revenge on humanity.
- Man-Child: Leeza's father. Because the Machines used him as their connection to human beings, his mind is now reduced to child-like levels.
- The Reveal: Leeza's dad is really He Who Walks With Machines, Jack's son has been imprisoned by the Machines, now a sickly, crazed, horrifyingly warped version of himself, and the Machines are actually an unintentional product of Leeza's dad's work.