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Posted by Davrinsky sky
Posted on 5 January, 2014 at 3:42PM ↑ 1 ↓ 0

One of the rarities of my father's imported video games for his store was Head Extreme Destruction Zone. After taking this game off the shelf and popping it into the computer in the back room, that was the only place in the store I would be found. The Story of this game is very vague. The first thing you see is a video of random humans around the world being abducted by aliens. The humans would then have their heads pulled off and used by the aliens as masks and run into a room with the title H.E.D.Z on the Giant door that seals closed behind them. I think the aliens perform in a death match competition with the masks but it’s still vague. This game consists of you choosing 5 out of the countless masks you collected and then choosing any level up to the point of progress. In each level, you would search and destroy other mask wearing aliens and reach the platform at the end of the game to complete the level.

What is so special about the masks? When you put on a mask, it gives you the powers of the human the mask is made from. As brutal as that sounds, you would have a limited use on the ability of each mask, weather It would be driving, shooting, jumping, fleeing, flying, throwing basketballs, tennis balls, grocery food, wrenches. The list could go on and I really haven’t seen them all yet. When I said “limited use” that’s referring to the fact that you can’t just hold down left control, or the ability/action, button down, just like how you can’t continuously keep knocking zombies back in Left 4 Dead. In L4D, it’s understandable why they would stop. It’s tiring shoving countless zombies off you. This game though, it really is just a solid communication that you just can’t use it for about as long as it takes for you to hear the ability beep back in. normally there would be a dial clock on the mask icon showing when you could use it again, but since I’m playing this on windows 7 and not windows 98, it can’t really show that and all I can rely on is the sound.  Speaking of communication, this game will always play a fart bass sound every time you try to do something you can’t yet. Like using your ability when it’s not ready, or choosing a mask or level you don’t have or achieved yet. The sound of the characters is an interesting part of the game though.

Each mask is a different silly character. There is a Mask called "stuipd GI" which tip toes when using his invulnerability. Another mask is "red nosed entertainer" which, of course, is a crazy clown that drives a car. You would have to crash into other aliens to do damage. Similar masks would only have a vehicle while using the special power of the character. I noticed a fall of originality where I would encounter the same concept with a different mask character. There is really two things that is truly original to each mask, which is the sound each character makes when the mask is put on, and the look of each character. You can get an audible sense of who your playing as or against. The aliens would make funny sounds when anything happens to them, mask or no mask.  For example, when playing the game, the first thing you will hear is your own arrival. That sound of arrival is the same sound when other opponent aliens arrive or leave defeated. If they get hurt, they sound like a chimp or a high pitched midget getting slapped and liking it. "oh yeah!" the best sound that probably happens to often, is when the aliens beam down or up like I mentioned before. It just sounds fun to be abducted the way they sound when they take off. That sound is mostly a warning, or a give away that a new Alien is in the game for you to take out.  They beam down with a green beam when arriving and beam up in red. The 2nd thing you will hear will be the masks they are wearing when they switch or put any of their collection on. You will eventually hear familiar sounds from your own collection and know what your up against. A ninja? You would guess from the Asian/Liu Kang scream. Or a cop because you suddenly heard “pull over.” Very random and also following appropriate and subtle stereo types for each mask. a soccer player is another one that yells "GOAALLL!!" my favorite is probably the grocery lady who has a grocery cart and throws canned food. her sound is a store bell, similar to a door bell. if you didn't h didn't hear that store bell at her arrival, you will surly hear the squeaking grocery cart. 

The Combat system of the game is very straight forward. Like any old bot, they run around aimlessly to avoid you if they exhausted their ability. All you have to do is look at them and they’re locked on automatically with their mask icon on your screen. Just throw, shoot, what ever your ability does to them until their masks are too damaged to carry. And they will beam back up without wearing any masks. You want to collect their masks that you defeated for “Z cash” to repair your own masks, or your HP. you only get the cash when you have already collected that mask in the level. 

HEDZ screen shot

the circles at the bottom right of the screen shot are the masks you choose before starting the level. The purple smiling circles represent those masks being too damaged to repair. you can't wear them for the rest of the level. the red vs. green on each mask still usable shows the damage of the mask. more red means less HP on the mask.

The Look of the game is kind of like a cartoon. Some levels will stay consistent in style of how they look. Some are a focused concentration on a room, while others will change the way it looks as you progress through it. The quality and detail of the levels and models themselves are very rough. I wouldn't really say there is much detail at all. This makes everything look a little bland, but at the same time, it adds to the cartoony, bold look. It also seems fitting with how the other aliens and masks that are put on, are something that can't be taken seriously. If bold isn't enough for cartoon, damage is represented as purple stars of pain almost like any loony toon.

The main thing that each level has in common is how you have to make sure to have gone to each possible location to find the specific alien who will let you proceed. When you defeat an alien in a level, you will see green and purple symbolizes pop out of them. These circles will have different symbols on them that represent the mask they were wearing. The alien will be seen with out a mask and would try to get their mask back if you defeated all of the masks they posses. If the alien gets their mask back, they would still not be wearing a mask and would beam back up and be gone. You would want to get the mask before they do so you can use it later after you beat the level. There are specific aliens that need to be taken out for you to proceed like I said before. They would have a symbol of a star fly out of them that they can't take back. The level changes, like a door opening or a platform working when the item is collected. The game, after awhile, just turns into a bland of kill.. go to this room.. kill. go to this place.. kill. the levels themselves are very basic and it starts to get a little boring. the task of finding the star symbol alien can get to be about as annoying as finding that last key in a doom level.

Over all, this game has an interesting start off but you'll find yourself easily bored. most of the masks share common concepts of their ability and its a different style of search and destroy with no plot. The main humoring thing about this game is the sounds and characters in this game but that isn't enough to keep you playing. I honestly own this game out of nostalgia now. I will always be a fan of the sounds though. 


6 January, 2014 at 2:26PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

Interesting. I love reading about more obscure games like this one. They're also usually a nightmare to get working on modern systems.

Davrinsky sky
8 January, 2014 at 6:21PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

It was interesting. I could only find the installer. I had to install the game in a windows VM that was compatable to the installer. Then Copied the files back to windows 7.

23 September, 2014 at 9:05PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

Very solid explanation of this game. I've never expected to see such a long review of such a rare 90's game, so I was very glad to read all of that. I used to play the demo over and over when I was a kid; hoping that I could get the full version soon. I wasn't able to get it until exactly 11 years later, and I still play it to this day.
I've been trying to get this game more attention, so I've been uploading full gameplay videos of the entire game on YouTube, which you could easily find from searching walkthroughs for it. I hope this game gets the recognition it don't get this kind of thing too foten.

22 November, 2014 at 08:11AM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

22 November, 2014 at 08:11AM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

22 November, 2014 at 08:11AM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

22 November, 2014 at 08:12AM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

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