Wednesday, 09 February 2005
Considering the constant mild popularity of Western films thanks to the likes of Clint Eastwood, they’ve never really taken off in the video game world. Yes we’ve had the odd title here and there such as the infamous Luck Luke on the PS1, and more recently the universally slated Dead Man’s Hand, but never have we had a definitive Westerner for fan’s of those films to lose them in. But, here come Rockstar with the resurrected Red Dead Revolver, but is it good, bad, or downright ugly?
We first caught a glimpse of Red Dead Revolver a few years ago (before Rockstar took over) which gave the impression that it was to be a simple Time Crisis alike game. However, since that time, RDR has undergone an amazing transformation. Obviously taking huge influence from Rockstars very own Max Payne series of games, you now view Red from a third person perspective exactly like the aforementioned title. With Rockstar’s obvious quite considerable background in this style of game, for once we need not make complaints about the camera, as the vast majority of the time it offers a quite perfect view of the action surrounding you. Even when it does happen to be slightly off, a slight twitch of the right analogue stick and your aiming reticule will be right where you wish for it to be placed.
The game starts with a young Red (your character) finding himself, and his parents under attack by vicious varmints; varmints vicious enough to leave your father dead, and you hiding away in the undergrowth in an attempt to stay alive. The next cut scene shows a much older Red - a Red that’s back, and looking to take out blood thirsty revenge on those who killed his father in his new found occupation as a bounty hunter, taking out the bad guys for huge cash rewards. Clichéd maybe, but it does give you a slight warming to an otherwise very unloveable main character. In fact, a drawback for many games is purely the fact that the player simply cant connect with the main protagonist he or she is controlling, which leaves a horrible taste in the mouth, and a game usually returned to it’s place of origin quite sharpish.
RDR is a very simple game to play. The vast majority of the games 28 different stages give you a small area to play around in, filled with various enemies to blast away as you see fit. There are slight variations to this rule, one of the stages quite close to the games opening taking part on a moving train for example. But if there’s anything you can say for sure about RDR, it doesn’t do anything alarming or wildly different to the normality of the genre. At the end of most stages, you come across a boss character, each of which again doesn’t really vary from what you’d expect. Each has their own unique style and subsequent weak points which you have to exploit in order to take the character out.
However RDR has tried to introduce its own (and surely soon to be copied many times) unique feature: a click of the right analogue stick will instigate “dead eye” mode. Once this move is started, you move the aiming cursor over your enemy(s) for however many bullets you have left in your current round. At critical points the cursor will leave a mark, showing that a shot will soon be hitting in that precise area. Once the largest numbers of hits are taken up, the action speeds back up and Red with amazing precision blasts at the unfortunate enemy, leaving him in a bloody heap on the floor. It’s an enjoyable little feature, which always gives you an advantage in boss battles. Your given rewards for defeating your enemies in the most pleasing way possible, as the cash reward given for more aesthetically pleasing deaths is much higher than a man you simply shot in the back from close range. This cash can be spent at the shop at the end of each stage, purchasing various different items. Oddly, most items you can buy have no bearing on the single player story mode, but instead open up various other game play modes for you to play about with.
Weapon wise, were unsurprisingly looking at the usual wild western wares of old. You’ve got your traditional six-shooter, your lumbering shotgun, and even sticks of dynamite. Each, of course, has their various good and bad points. For each stage you can take one small handheld weapon, one larger gun, and one throwing item in order to take out your opponents. However, the choice’s you make here are much down to your own preference rather than the weapons that will be better against a certain type of enemy. A bit of strategy overlooked?
It’s an incredibly regular trend for games to miss out on pure adulation thanks to a few fairly small, but incredibly frustrating minor flaws. The speed at which you’ll fly through the main game is obviously one quite major drawback, even though here at AltGaming we’re always ones who look for quality over quantity. The fact that the game is so terribly easy, giving even the more gaming challenged gamer the capabilities to blast their way through the game in a mere weekend, gives the impression that Red Dead Revolver was never really meant for the hardcore types. Not quite up to the standards of Rockstars other big third person action game (Max Payne) but it certainly gives it a hell of a go.