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August 23, 2004
Headhunter: Redemption - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
3/9/2004THQSega/Amuze1$89.95

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Some of the gorgeous graphics.
It really is sad to see Sega struggling so much these days. A decade ago they looked virtually unstoppable with the Megadrive dominating and early Sega Saturn sales many times that of Sony's Playstation. Their move to a software only company hasn't paid dividends yet with their early titles on PS2 strugging to sell. One such title was the Amuze developed Headhunter, a gritty action adventure title that deserved much more credit then it was given - although it suffered greatly being released only days before Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty. I certainly think that marketing guru was looking for another job soon after!

Almost three years later and the sequel is about to be released, with improvements in almost every single area. As with many Sega titles the story in Headhunter: Redemption takes a front seat and looks to be one of the stronger points in the game.

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OK, this isn't an exciting shot.
Twenty years after the devastation caused by the Bloody Mary Virus, a new order emerged based on two distinct but totally independent worlds, divided by the ultimate consumerist society – ‘Above’ and ‘Below’. ‘Above’, a glittering metropolis of glass and steel towers, entwined by elevated highways, its citizens controlled by ever-present media and the powerful corporations behind it. ‘Below’ is the home to criminals, undesirables and misfits. Meeting all the needs of ‘Above’ in return for the right to survive. Society’s conscience wiped clean. Maintaining law and society order is veteran Headhunter Jack Wade, older, wiser and battle hardened. At his side is the reluctant new sidekick, the rebellious street kid Leeza X.

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Ohh.. Gamma radiation.
With two playable characters - Jack Wade, who returns from the original game, and Leeza X, who is a new character - each has been given unique abilities, weapons and styles. It's strange that in the screens released so far that none include Jack Wade!!?? It remains to be seen how the two characters will interact, or be interchangeable during the game. Once again you will be able to tear up and down the roads on motorbikes to get from one location to the next. Hoepfully, however, the developers will place some enemies on these streets, and change the need to drive certain distances before unlocking new areas. Too much time was spent in the original game just driving around to unlock areas.

One of the problems with the previous game was the targeting system on the enemies but the developers look to have ironed that out. Hopefully the cameras will also be improved somewhat for Headhunder: Redemption, something which became quite annoying in the previous game.

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Start firing.
Graphics in Headhunter: Redemption are looking very special indeed. Using a great smoothing/blurring effect this is not dissimilar to the effects UbiSoft used in their stunning Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The orchestral score is being created by industry award-winning composer Richard Jacques who has worked on games including Daytona USA, Sonic R, Jet Set Radio Future and the original Headhunter. He has also worked on TV and film so he knows his stuff.

Although Swedish developers, Amuze, and publishers Sega have delayed Headhunter: Redemption a couple of times there shouldn't be any real concerns. This game should be an excellent action/adventure title that, if improved over the original Headhunter is destined to become a great game. Expect a release around September 2004 following a series of delays - including a change in Australian distributers.