Sift Heads is a long-running action-shooter series of flash games that has become quite popular with browser-game enthusiasts over the years. Now developed by prolific developer Pyrozen, this series has always delivered fast-paced shooting action in a tongue-in-cheek, action-movie style and stick figure graphics. The games just keep getting better and better as you follow the series along, and Sift Heads 5 is no exception to this trend. Playing as bounty hunter and justice-bringer Vinnie, you set up camp in a hotel (there’s a whole backstory that doesn’t really matter here as well) which acts as your base of operations as you enter into missions and explore the surrounding area. Earning money, buying weapons, and shooting bad guys are your staple pastimes here, and it couldn’t be more enjoyable.
If you’re a fan of action shooting games, then there is no better premise for a game than bounty hunting. This game’s entire premise relies on the fact that Vinnie, the main character, is a bounty hunter with a backstory and a willingness to make quips that are straight out of the action movie book of clichéd sayings. You begin at a hotel where you reside for the entirety of the game. You’re in a relatively seedy and undesirable area: a perfect backdrop for the kind of shady antics you’re going to be getting yourself into.
For a flash game, the format of the experience is quite impressive. Instead of just having a few isolated shooting scenes where you simply aim and shoot, you’re in charge of forwarding the storyline by exploring various areas and generally interacting with people in a dynamic fashion, with some fixed-location shooting scenes mixed into the equation as well. You navigate your surroundings using a mouse to click on certain items of interest as well as move through doors and hallways to progress to different areas. Outside the hotel sits your car, which can take you to other areas of the city that have to be unlocked first, including a clothing shop, a bar, a gun shop, and other areas where you’ll find more missions to complete. It’s much humbler than big-budget games like Call of Duty, but for a flash game it does pretty well at being well above average.
Guns and Money
Any long-term interest in the game is cultivated through the process of bounty hunting (i.e. completing missions for people that involve killing targets and receiving money in return). Buying more powerful guns and customising your look with clothing is also a big part of this game’s longevity as well. Most of the missions you will encounter involve thwarting some kind of operation by killing people or at least shooting up a bunch of things to get the job done. Fans of bounty hunting games as well as first-person shooters are basically in heaven here, or at least they’re as close to FPS heaven as the flash format will allow.
You don’t play Sift Heads for the narrative. You come to the series because you know it is one of the best flash-based series of games in the FPS genre. Its tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top narrative is just a by-product of the action which is an enjoyable feature in itself. Much of the narrative and also the visual style is very Max Payne-esque, but falling short of noir in favour of generic, forgettable quotes that would sound more apt in any Schwarzenegger film when he was at the peak of his action movie powers.
As for the game’s general execution, it is best said that it is enjoyable in spite of the many glitches present in the interface. Menu navigation is made tricky as a result of these glitches, and certain trigger events such as completing a mission don’t trigger, resulting in a bit of frustration at times. Still, this is one of the better Sift Heads games to be found on www.sifthead.net, which just so happens to be one of the handiest collections of Sift Head games to be found anywhere on the internet!