Thursday, July 8, 2010


As long time readers will know, I'm a big fan of sniper games. There really is nothing more satisfying than watching the head of someone you've never met explode due to a bullet fired from 300 yards away.

Um... anyway, you'll also be aware that when I come across a crappy sniper game (and I've come across many), I like to point it out for ridicule and abuse. What can I say? I'm an jerk like that. That brings us to HeadShot (yes, all one word, and yes, with a capital "S" in the middle, bringing to mind some 90's EXTREEEEME superhero.) The plot goes pretty much like this: with gang-related crime tearing the city apart, the mayor has hired you to secretly kill off all of the gangsters in town. Legal issues aside, what makes the mayor think one guy with a sniper rifle can eliminate all the gangs in his city? If the police and elected officials can't stop the crime wave, what makes him think this one sniper can? Is this guy The Punisher, or something?

Starting the game, I was instantly reminded of another, better sniper game, simply called The Sniper, and set during D-Day. This isn't really surprising to me, as HeadShot is a carbon copy of The Sniper, save for a few missing touches, such as the realistic twitch of the sniper scope, the ragged breathing of the man behind the rifle and kickback after every round. HeadShot has none of these elements and the rather plain, uninspired graphics as well as the basic gameplay doesn't make up for it. It's perfectly serviceable, but "serviceable" just doesn't cut it when a game two years older than yours is five time better.

Also, can someone tell me what's going on with some of these gangsters? What the hell is this guy doing? Is he breakdancing? Is he praying? Some of the characters take the most laughable poses that shooting them in the head is less like execution and more like saving them further embarrassment.

Not that you should really bother aiming for the head. You may be surprised to learn that a game called HeadShot awards you bonus points for shooting gangsters in the head. But no matter how carefully you aim, nine time out of ten a head shot won't register, so it's really not worth the time and effort.

Definitely not the time, anyway. That's another thing that grinds my gears: the time limit on each level. Level one has you searching for five Latinos (oh, that's another thing - all the gangs are handily split up into distinct racial minorities) in an eighty second time limit. Certainly not impossible, though it may take one or two attempts before you spot all the gangsters. But how about when you get to level three and have to shoot 25 "Afros" in the same amount of time? True, that many makes it more like shooting heavily armed fish in a barrel, but there's always going to be those one or two that are hiding behind a wall, or the gun won't load fast enough for you to nail every single one. And what happens when you start to panic and miss shots? That's more time wasted. Why no one thought to increase the time limit in relation to the number of targets, I can't say, but I have the sneaking suspicion they were just too damn lazy to do it.

HeadShot is a bog standard sniper game brought down by unimpressive visuals and stupidly short time limits. I'm sure the guys who made it are really proud, but the guy who makes Tactical Assassin won't be losing any sleep over them.


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