Headhunter (video game)

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Headhunter DC cover.jpg
Developer(s) Amuze
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) John Kroknes
Producer(s) John Kroknes
Stefan Holmqvist
Designer(s) Peter Johansson
Artist(s) Johan Lindh
Writer(s) Philip Lawrence
Composer(s) Richard Jacques
Platform(s) Dreamcast, PlayStation 2
Release Dreamcast
  • EU: 16 November 2001
PlayStation 2
  • EU: 22 March 2002
  • NA: 9 May 2002
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Headhunter is an action-adventure video game developed by Amuze and published by Sega for Dreamcast and PlayStation 2.

According to John Kroknes, creative director at Amuze, the game was strongly influenced by 1980s action movies and Paul Verhoeven's science fiction films.

For the majority of the game, the gameplay is that of a third-person shooter as players control protagonist Jack Wade. Jack travels between the main levels of the game on his motorcycle, and these sections take the form of a racing game, with the motorbike's acceleration and braking controlled using the sensitive analogue trigger buttons of the Dreamcast control pad.

A sequel was released in 2004 called Headhunter Redemption and it was released on PlayStation 2 and Xbox.


The game takes place in the near future in a city similar to Los Angeles, California. Criminals are punished for their crimes not only by serving time in prison but by having their internal organs surgically removed (if they lost to another prisoner in an underwater arena) and transplanted to benefit the wealthier members of society. Officially responsible for law enforcement are the Anti-Crime Network (ACN) organisation and their employees, the bounty hunter-like Headhunters. In order to prevent damage occurring to the criminals' organs as they are apprehended, conventional firearms have been banned, replaced by Electric Neural Projectile (ENP) guns that fire special bullets which do not damage flesh but instead emit an electrical charge that causes severe pain in victims, paralyses muscles and eventually kills the brain. According to the game, ENP technology was developed by Biotech and the main manufacturer of ENP handguns is Smith & Easton (a reference to the firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson), although the technology can also be used with grenades, proximity mines, rocket launchers and other explosives.

The game begins with Jack escaping from a secret laboratory, but soon after going outside he faints and falls unconscious. He wakes up in hospital and learns that he is suffering from amnesia and that although he was once the very best Headhunter, his license has now been revoked. In order to investigate the murder of ACN founder Christopher Stern, he must re-earn his Headhunter licence by taking part in virtual-reality tests (called LEILA tests) and capture some of the most dangerous criminals in the city. Throughout the game, Jack is aided by Christopher Stern's daughter Angela and his old boss Chief Hawke; although he also finds that his main rival to the title of best Headhunter is the unpleasant Hank Redwood.

The game's storyline progresses through standard FMV cutscenes, propaganda commercials and satirical news broadcasts (presented by the fictional Bill Waverley and Kate Gloss).


Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 74/100[1]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 7.7/10[2]
IGN 8.4/10[3]

Headhunter received "mixed or average" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[1]

It received a highly favourable review from Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell. He noted that it had been compared to Metal Gear Solid, but considered the setting and story to be superior in Headhunter. The game was described as "a masterpiece of modern videogame development" and rated 9/10.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Headhunter for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Satterfield, Shane (10 May 2002). "Headhunter Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Dunham, Jeremy (14 May 2002). "Headhunter". IGN. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_headhunter_dc

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