Review by Bkstunt_31
"Not a bad game, but certaintly not the best western."
Red Dead Revolver is, as you probably have already guessed, a shooter set in the old west. Brought out on the PS2 by Rockstar, the company behind the infamous Grand Theft Auto games, it has everything you would expect in the old west: gunfights galore. Having recently played another western-style game on the PS2 (Activision's GUN), I'll be comparing Red Dead Revolver to GUN as I go along (RDR came out about a year before GUN, by the way) while telling you what you can expect from Red Dead Revolver.
The story centers around the cleverly-named main character Red. Having witnessed his father murder, he manages to survive his family's massacre and grow up to be a bounty hunter and eventually learns how and why his father died. Once he learns who is responsible, revenge seems to be Red's only goal in life.
Without giving away too much, the story is... OK. Not too bad, not too good. RDR is filled with typical western stereotypes, though, such as almost everyone you meet being a gunslinger, and of course includes your classic stage-coach robberies and token Indians (who can only wield a bow, nonetheless). You will also be playing as a few other characters as you progress through the story, many of which are based upon western legends such as Bat Masterson and Annie Oakley. Personally, I preferred the story of GUN over RDR as I found the same stereotypes, but I felt the characters in GUN were much more developed.
Game play: 7/10
Game play in RDR takes on an over-the-shoulder camera angle to make shooting easier. It's pretty simple for even casual gamers to jump right in and start shooting, and even do fairly well, with little practice. You aim your gun's reticule with one analog stick while controlling the camera angle with the other one. Of course, there are buttons to switch between weapons and reload as well. Game play more or less consists of killing off a slew of enemies in either an open environment, such as a town square or public building, or traveling through the rarer constricted environments where you feel like you are actually traveling to an objective. To do this, you will be given a variety of guns, rifles, shotguns, and throwing weapons. Progressing through the game will let you acquire stronger and better weapons. You will also have to learn how to use the dead eye, Red's special technique used to slow down time, take aim at multiple targets, and than fire at each of them in quick succession. Usually after killing off a certain amount of enemies, you will have to face a boss of some sort before the level will end, after which you will be graded and rewarded a monetary bounty. The only other important game play feature to note is the quick-draw duels that you will have to fight. In these duels, you will have to quickly move your analog stick down and than up to simulate Red drawing his pistol, and than quickly aim at your enemy and fire, hoping that you can kill him before he can kill you.
I thought the game had a good control scheme, as it can be pretty hard to make a good console shooter, and while the game is easy to pick up and fun, it isn't anything that even a casual gamer hasn't seen before. I also liked how enemies react when you shoot them in the leg or arms, grabbing them in pain and either flinching or pausing for a few seconds. Zooming in with a rifle is quite a pain, however, and they definitely could have done better. I would have also liked to see a better aiming system, in the sense that it's hard to line up a head shot or know if you are even close to making one. I personally preferred GUN's game play, as while the two are very similar in how you control your character and shoot, I felt GUN had better aiming and weapon-upgrade choices.
The graphics in RDR are unusual, if not memorable. The entire game has an old-movie quality to it. It's always got a rather static feel in any cut-scene, with the occasional line running horizontally down the screen, to make you feel like your watching an old western show. I also noted that the enemy character designs, and only the enemies, are particularly ugly, and while it is memorable and may even make them easier to kill, I'm not sure why they would make them THAT ugly while all of the main characters look decent. Other than that, everything else looks okay. The environments all look appropriate for their time period. I did note on one level in particular, where you had to ride a stage coach through a canyon, it seemed that the canyon would just repeat itself. Most of the levels are well-designed, though, providing a great-looking environment to play in. Thankfully, all of the animations work well. GUN's graphics seemed to be smoother to me, but I also think RDR looks this way on purpose, and not from some development plan gone wrong.
Music and sound effects: 7/10
There really isn't too much to mention in this category, as all of the music is decent and good while you are playing through RDR but immediately forgot as soon as you turn the power off, meaning that nothing really struck me as memorable at all. I think RDR has a faster pace than GUN did, because in GUN there were times when you had to travel between destinations whereas in RDR you just complete levels, so music is more accentuated in GUN and less so in RDR. The sound effects are pretty much what you would expect in a western game, though I did enjoy watching and hearing how enemies reacted after you shot them. The voice acting was well done all around, as most of the voices fit their stereotypical characters. I think GUN has better music, but everything else holds its own.
While I find GUN more entertaining overall, I can't help but tip my hat to RDR in many regards, such as it's multi-player features, unlockables, various difficulty settings and extra missions with certain objectives. The multi-player lets you choose between a number of characters (mostly a host of the UGLY enemies) to use as you battle your friends or the computer AI. To be fair, though, I doubt that you'll ever play it, with so many better games out that you could be playing multi-player. The amount of unlockables is impressive, but most of them are either new multi-player characters or stages which don't really add up to much, as stated earlier. The Bounty Hunter missions are basically playing through earlier levels with a certain objective in mind, such as don't get hit, allowing you to unlock even more items and even cheat codes.
Overall, a fairly average game all around, with a little more extra than your average game. As I've been stating over and over, I found GUN to be the superior western game, but if you can't find it, or if it doesn't fill your need for quick-draws and western-themed shooters, by all means give RDR a go. I'm sure you can find both games fairly cheap by now as well. Have fun and keep playing!
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 06/06/08, Updated 04/13/11
Game Release: Red Dead Revolver (US, 05/03/04)
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