H.E.D.Z. (Head Extreme Destruction Zone) (PC)
Release Date: August 31st, 1998
Publisher: Hasbro Interactive
Developer: VIS Entertainment
Genre: Action - Third Person Shooter
Posted: December 2nd, 2006
Last Updated: December 2nd, 2006
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Straight from the depths obscurity, I present H.E.D.Z. Where this game lacks in gameplay, design and just overall feeling it tries to make up for in originality, but maybe it doesn't try hard enough? This game really does feel like a bad off-shoot of a Pokemon game. You feel obligated to collect all these "H.E.D.Z." you get off your enemies. Each of these H.E.D.Z. have their own powers, weaknesses and personalities, which is cool I guess. Except that there is over 225 of them, and most are carbon copies of each other, with a new skin. When I first popped in the CD-ROM it sounded like hell was being unleashed on my hard drive, and now I think it actually was...
There's some really interesting pseudo three-dimensional elements going on in this game. Although, it looks like they might of used some kind of voxel system to create the heads of the characters, I think i'm convinced it's just a 3D model that they took captures of in all 360 degrees, and then exported it as a multi-dimensional sprite. Which I guess would be somewhat of a chore for the developers. Especially since there is so many of them.
Interestingly enough, there is some support for some high resolution modes (up to 1280x1024). Which is weird for a old budget teenager-orientated title like this. Even with all these resolution supports, it seems my desktop objects still get screwed over after exiting the game. I've never seen my Google Desktop program so confused in my life. It doesn't even know where to resize to, and sometimes stops rendering. It seriously bugs the hell out of Google Desktop. Maybe a side effect of the devil himself exacting his master scheme after being summoned from the CD-ROM. Everybody knows satan hates Google!
H.E.D.Z. (Head Extreme Destruction Zone). I can't think of a more poorly constructed acronym. It doesn't even make sense. Does that title have anything to do with the game's plot? Which reminds me, I didn't really see any mention of this "plot". I actually had to read off a website that aliens have taken over the earth and assumed different personalities that they found on the earth. I'm assuming you are a rogue alien trying to stop the others, or maybe just a greedy alien wanting all the H.E.D.Z. for yourself? So why is it so extreme? And why is it a destruction zone? It really doesn't add up. Furthermore, I don't even really care to find out.
You would expect a game like this to crash a lot. And you would be right, it does actually quite a bit, seemingly random at times. There's also bugs in the jumping system where your character will be suspended against the wall indefinitely. Elevators are also a big problem. Sometimes enemies get stuck inside them, or sometimes you will get stuck in them. Either way, this usually leads to you having to restart the the level. Which brings me to talk about the levels... The textures are in fact hideously conceived, but the level design itself... is mediocre as well. In fact, I was surprised at how huge these levels could get. I think this game runs huge levels like this better than Half-Life could.
Although I could never get another person to play this game with me over the internet, I was surprised at how much development went into the online play mode. It's nothing too fancy, but there's custom versions of the maps for online, and also some custom features added in for multiplayer support. I'm not really sure how it works online, but I'm guessing it's kind of like deathmatch with your friends, trying to get H.E.D.Z. from each other.
The game's mechanics are seriously lacking as well. There seriously is no reload. If you want your character to start reloading or "charging" back up. You simply have to keep shooting until he/she is not charged anymore. I thought this would be a no brainer feature to be added. Overall, this is a really obscure game. A really unique game. And a both fun, and disappointing game as well. If only it had a different, more proficient development and production team, I think we would have seen a really polished game back in 1998. And this game was actually a challenge for me (on medium setting), but was it a challenge because the game's poor design, or actually difficult? I don't know.