Sift Heads World Act 1 - A rare, flash-based first-person shooter with action and adventure
Seething with Style
I often feel that all the flash-based games out there that claim to be action shooters actually aren’t all that action-packed, and the shooting is often restricted to the usual third-person popping off of shots at enemies that really aren’t a challenging distance away. Moreover, action shooters are often relatively short and follow a predictable level-by-level format that plays just like any other platform game, only with a bit of shooting and reloading along the way. I wasn’t really expecting huge amounts from Pyrozen’s Sift Heads World Act 1, but this soon changed at roughly 3 seconds in to the opening cut-scene which set the tone, style, and general feel of the game: instantly likeable, uncommonly stylish, and everything that you want in an action shooter. It’s the shooting format of Time Crisis meets the noir-style of Max Payne, which is also introduced to a lovely meeting with the over-the-top action of Kill Bill. There’s just too much about the game to bring to summation in a sentence, so let’s get some paragraphs underway.
Don’t Upset the Mafia (Too Late)
The game is first and foremost a first-person shooter in which you must complete missions in order to thwart the plans of an evil Mafia boss that is angry at Vinnie, the main badass of the story that went and shot off said mafia boss’s hand an unspecified amount of time ago. You must preclude the mafia boss from taking revenge on Vinnie by investigating the situation and shooting up pretty much anyone that gets in your way. Before you begin you must choose one of the three characters (Vinnie, Kiro, or Shorty) after which you must work your way around the city, pointing and clicking on each location to journey there and also using the mouse to then navigate your way around each area. Your hideout acts as your base for the action in which you can heal, get some target practice, or simply return to in order find the other characters. It is the free-roaming format that differentiates the game from the standard formats of other titles.
Another distinguishing feature of the game is the first-person interface that all the shooting is based on. Using your mouse to navigate through different areas until you reach an enemy, you then press the spacebar to reach for your gun and use the mouse to aim whilst your weapon is lifted. Press R to reload your gun and Q to change the quality of the graphics. There is a variety of different weapons to purchase such as a Desert Eagle, Assault Rifle, Barrett Sniper Rifle, and more unusual weapons like shurikens and throwing knives. The weapons can be accessed by visiting the gun shop on the city-overview home screen; you can also change up your clothes by visiting the clothes shop as well.
A Rare Flash Treat
There are so many things about Sift Heads World that makes it stand out from the crowd. For starters, the first-person shooter format is unique in itself and the almost GTA-like format of taking on missions by working your way around the city is innovative within itself and allows the storyline to develop in a more dynamic-feeling way rather than having a linear progression of levels dictated to you. Even the small details like the stickmen graphics and the silhouetted artwork, as well as being able to play a Space Invaders-type game-within-a-game in your warehouse. The attention to detail is rather immaculate, which is why this game adds up to be an absolute ripper of an experience. You’ll struggle to find another one like it (apart from its sequels: those are pretty similar).