Video Game / Headhunter
was a video game series developed by Amuze and produced by SEGA between 2001 and 2004. The first Headhunter
was released for the Sega Dreamcast
in 2001, and due to the system's cancellation, this version was only released in Europe
. It would eventually be ported for the PlayStation 2
the following year for other regions.
Inspired by action movies of The '80s
and science fiction films, the first Headhunter
takes place Twenty Minutes into the Future
. Jack Wade is a headhunter who's suffered a case of Laser-Guided Amnesia
after a mysterious incident involving him in a lab, and escapes with good old-fashioned explosions. 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 gone bad. The game's cinematic soundtrack, composed by Richard Jaqcues when he was working at Sega of Europe, was performed by a live orchestra and the first video game soundtrack to be recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, where many film scores were recorded prior.Headhunter Redemption
followed in 2004 for the PS2
, and was much Darker and Edgier
than its predecessor. Set 20 years after the events of Headhunter
, the world has become much, much worse. After a virus was released that nearly crippled society and a great earthquake occurred, there are now two parts of society, Above and Below. Above is the surface, while Below is underground that appears to be occupied by criminals and machines, the latter of whom pose a bigger threat to the people Above, as they are controlled by a mysterious individual only known as The Man Who Walks With Machines. Jack, divorced from Angela, also lost his son when the machines abducted him years ago, leaving him a bitter and Grumpy Old Man
. He finds a partner in Leeza X, a rebellious young criminal hacker who grew up on the streets of Above, and the game focuses on exploring much of her past. As they discover that a gang of weapon smugglers may 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. Richard Jacques returned as the game's music composer, and while it was not performed by a live orchestra this time around, the soundtrack retains the cinematic feel.
Both titles were the sole games developed by Amuze, which shut down in 2005.
Not to be confused with the films The Head Hunter
Tropes for Headhunter include:
- Action Girl: Angela becomes playable later in the game and is just as deadly as Jack. Justified that her dad, the president of the ACN until his murder, taught her how to defend herself.
- Badass Beard: Jack Wade and Greywolf.
- Badass Biker: Jack and Greywolf, the latter being the leader of a Biker Gang.
- Badass in Distress: After Jack is captured on the Queen of Hearts, it's up to Angela to sneak on board and rescue him. After The Reveal where both Jack and Angela are captured, she manages to escape and saves his butt again. That said, Angela herself counts when she's kidnapped much earlier in the game.
- Battle in the Rain: It's raining during the Rooftop Confrontation against Greywolf.
- Big Damn Heroes: Just when Jack is about to get screwed over after being named champion of the Aquadome, Greywolf saves him.
- Bittersweet Ending: Hooray, Jack and Angela saved the world and share a Big Damn Kiss. 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.
- Black Comedy: The Biotech ads seen in the loading screen consist of this, advertising the convenient and life-changing services that organ trade provides. Lost your legs in a car accident? No problem, Biotech can give them back! Want to spend your last days in luxury? Biotech provides a retirement home that gives you just that, and you can donate your organs on the spot!
- 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.
- Blood Sport: The Aquadome Arena's gladiator games, where imprisoned criminals fight for the public's entertainment. Winners get a biotech implant with 30 days of freedom for two at a rehab facility, while losers make a generous donation to the organ bank.
- Cool Shades: Jack and Angela can sport these at the player's choosing, but its purpose is purely cosmetic.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jack seems to live and breathe this.
- Deuteragonist: Angela Stern.
- The Don: Don Emelio Fulci, who rules the criminal underworld and pulls the strings on much of the plot.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Greywolf saves Jack in the Aquadome, he claims it's because his mother taught him never to owe anyone a debt, and this makes things even.
- Evilutionary Biologist: 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?
- Heel-Face Door Slam: Greywolf quickly cooperates with Jack after he's defeated and the headhunter saves him from falling off a building, providing useful information in exchange. He later comes to Jack's rescue in the Aquadome and the two escape the underwater prison together, only to be captured. Once Jack is rescued, his top priority is to find his new friend. When he does, Greywolf is already dead.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Hank Redwood, now the number one headhunter in Jack's absence, introduces himself by trying to dupe Jack into thinking he was always second best. Jack doesn't buy it, and remembers that Hank had an abusive father, flunked high school, never had a girlfriend, and his dog walked out on him. An angered Redwood then challenges Jack to reach the top from the bottom and reclaim his crown once more.
Hank: Oh, and hey! My dog never walked out on me!
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Jack's own drives much of the game's plot, as well as the twist in the game's climax.
- Law Enforcement, Inc.: The ACN is the main police force in the game, but Headhunters can go independent as well.
- The Man Behind the Man: After Fulci is exposed and disposed of, it turns out Zweiberg is the one really pulling the strings.
- Neck Snap: Jack's preferred method of initiating a stealth kill. As well as Angela's.
- Not So Different: Greywolf sees himself and Jack on different sides of the same coin, two guys doing their jobs and doing what they can to make a buck with the way Fulci is running the show. Jack's not entirely convinced of this at first.
- Psycho for Hire: Esteban Ramirez, a Recurring Boss.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: The game's script is filled to the brink with them by heroes and villains alike.
Greywolf: Sorry headhunter, but I like my men to taste blood. And this here is my number one lieutenant. Jack Wade, meet Bruce. Bruce, kill Jack Wade.
- 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.
- Product Placement: Jack's VM-52x watch is Casio-branded. Also doubles as a cell phone!
- The Reveal: Alan Sharpe is actually Don Fulci, Jack was Brainwashed into killing Angela's father, and Zweiberg is The Man Behind the Man.
- Revenge: After Jack recovers from the hospital, Angela hires him to get payback against Don Fulci and the people who murdered her father. She doesn't want him behind bars, she wants him dead.
- The Rival: Hank Redwood. At first, he just comes off as a jerk. Turns out he's working under the bad guy's payroll.
- Virtual Training Simulation: Jack will need to partake in these to upgrade his headhunter license and continue the game, with missions involving riding the bike, stealth and gunfights.
- X Meets Y: The game's mechanics and story drew comparisons to other popular games at the time it was released, and for good reason. Hugging a wall to hide or sneak a peek at anyone around a corner? Virtual training missions? A mansion related to a much bigger scheme involving science and a big bad corporation? A gigantic man-monster with only "kill" on the mind? Not that this was necessarily a bad thing.
Tropes for Headhunter Redemption include: