Review by South Paw

"Looks O.K., but no support for left-handed gamers!"

I was excited to try this game, hoping that it would continue to push the boundaries of the "western gunfight" first person shooter like Lucas Arts classic "Outlaws".

The game does not have the cartoon-ish look of Outlaws, and the ambiance is more like a Louis L'Amour novel with a dash of spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately the start of the story is so predictable, and the cuts are so abrupt that it doesn't bode well for how engaging the story might be. (I don't know the rest of the story for reasons outlined below.)

The game style is a third-person / semi-first-person hybrid. You view the character in third person as you run around, but pop into an over-the-shoulder third-person view when shooting. The over the shoulder view is close enough to first person for rock & roll, and it solves the aiming problems of pure third person shooters like Dino Crisis etc.

The game has a couple of innovations that could turn out to be quite cool. The first is the ability to move close to a rock or a wagon etc. and hit the “use cover” button. Your character will then use the item for cover and will stay in cover until you direct it leave. While in cover you can move along the object and pop out to shoot at targets.

The second idea is called “deadeye” which throws the action into a color-muted slow-motion mode that allows you pick off targets in rapid succession.

Here's the bad news: Like so many other games (e.g. James Bond, Turok Evolution, etc.) this game has no customizable controls except for Y-axis inversion. That means that left-handers fresh from such outstanding, fully customizable FPS's like Half-life and Red Faction will find Red Dead incredibly frustrating. Frankly, there is no excuse for game designers not to provide fully customizable controls, or at least a “mirror-image” control scheme for left-handed players. Why, even the Medal of Honor series has finally decided to support lefties with the “Rising Sun” release.

Personally, I don't really like the third-person view in a shooter, even if you do pop into a sort-of-first-person view when shooting. To me, it gives the game too much of an arcade feel. This is exacerbated by the targeting cursor turning red when you are sure to hit the target- just like real life eh?

Even with these complaints, I really wanted to give Red Dead Revolver a good thorough try-out, but found it impossible to re-wire my brain to deal with all the backward inputs required to cope with the right-handed controller. Every time the action heated up my old habits took over and suddenly I was running around in circles getting my a** shot off. Not fun.

If you are a righty, and you prefer a more arcade style shooter, this game could be a good bet. If you are a lefty, and like the total immersion of a true first-person shooter, then go back and play Outlaws some more.

How do I score this game? I was too frustrated with the controls to bother going very far into the story. Although this is undoubtedly not a fair score for what the game can offer to right handed players, as a lefty who's high hopes were dashed against the implacable barrier of right-handed controller bias for the umpteenth time, I have to score this one as unplayable. (1).

(Yes, I am bitter.)


Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 06/05/04


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