Sift Heads Cartels Game

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Sift Heads Cartels: Act 1 – The game with unusual name is back with as much style and sublime shooting action as ever

Lord of the Sift

It wouldn’t surprise me if every single fan of the Sift Heads saga in existence has been praying to the gods of flash-based entertainment (aka the Dark Lords of the Sift) for a new title to get their metaphorical teeth into since the release of the sublime Sift Heads 5. The prayers of these people have been answered in the long-awaited, much-anticipated and frankly necessary release of Sift Heads Cartels: Act 1. As if Vinny didn’t have enough cartels after his neck (Yakuza, Italian Mafia and Russian Mafia), now he has to go and embark on a mission to rub up the South American Cartel as well. As usual, there is plenty of justification for what would otherwise be senseless and aimless violence since Shorty has gone missing and you’re the only one that can possible facilitate her return. If you aren’t expecting more blood, guts, and guns than ever before, then you clearly aren’t familiar with the Sift Heads concept, but do play on anyhow: I’m sure you still deserve to drink from the pool of brilliance that is this series’ latest offering.

An Adventure At Your Fingertips

If you have played Pyrozen’s Sift Heads before, you’ll be right at home with this title, since the mechanics and general feel are pretty much the same as this game’s predecessor. You’ve got the usual rail shooter format where you dip in and out of controlling the action from a first-person perspective between (and often an integral part of) cut-scenes. There aren’t any set objectives here, but rather an adventure that develops at your fingertips, guided by you using the mouse to navigate around areas of interest, which are highlighted by a change in the appearance of the cursor. You will spend your time investigating buildings and various areas, picking up evidence, and following the trail of clues and evidence whilst blasting the hell out of anyone that even dares to look like that they are even thinking about getting in the way.

The mechanics of the game are slightly different this time around, with melee weapons being introduced and the spacebar doing the honours when enemies are close enough. You are able to amass a variety of weapons in the usual Sift Heads fashion such as pistols, shotguns, and SMGS. You’ll control the rest of the action using the A and D buttons to switch between cover spots, and S and W to toggle between hiding and peeking out to aim, making the crosshair smaller and more accurate in the process.

Brilliant but Sluggish

Sift Head always has, and will probably always will be one of the best rail shooters out there, even up there with the likes of the legendary Time Crisis (though without the possibility of a G-Con 45 or similar gun-based controller). However, this title seems to have some noticeable sluggishness about it, particularly with the aiming and shooting mechanics. It makes me very upset that a game without any online capability could suffer with so much lag between clicking the shoot button and the actual shooting taking place, not to mention the jerky movement of the crosshair and horrible feel of Vinnie’s attempts at nipping between cover points. The new tool collection mechanic for the upgrading of your weapons is a welcome feature, and the game is as stylish as ever, but it feels like the untouchable Sift Heads has been touched upon by a few flaws this time around.