Review by Ryudo88
"A basic shooter that lacks variety"
Dead Man's Hand is a first person shooter set in the Western cowboys and Indians days of old. The game is not to be confused with Capcom's Red Dead Revolver. The last time we have seen a game like this is from Lucas Arts named Outlaw. There isn't too many wild west shooters out there, so this is a rare treat to have. Is it a treat though you ask? Lets check it out.
First lets look at the graphics. The graphics can be described in one word and that would would be BLAND. The environments look nice, but hills are blocky which is unacceptable for a game in this generation. The textures are plain and muddy, and the player models look pretty basic with nothing making them stand out from other shooters. This game screams Playstation 2 when it's on the Xbox. This game isn't very good looking at all. The framerate studders a lot and there is quite a lot of jerking. This mainly occurs in areas with a lot of buildings. The developers did a rush job on this one.
Next up is the sound department. The dialog from the main character and the enemies can be pretty humorous. Usually they throw out stereotypical western movie lines. Dialog can be funny and a lot of times very cheesy. The music starts out very well done and fits the game well, but later on the western style music turns into big guitar riffs and it sounds pretty dumb. I was ALMOST impressed by the music. Gun shots and moans from shot enemies all sound very dumb. Explosions are basic, nothing too great. A lot of times the sound likes to cut out when frames skip in the game. Ick.
Now lets go to the controls. The game controls like a typical first person shooter. The game's analog stick movement is quite jerky and hard to aim. The gun switching buttons are mapped to the D-Pad and you will get confused on which button brings up one gun. Sometimes one D-Pad button will be assigned to two weapons and you will cycle through too many weapons before you figure out which button has the weapon you want. Also I seem to get stuck going through doorways a lot.
Lets look at the gameplay now. The game is a very straight forward shooter. You run, shoot everyone in site, then you leave the level. Sometimes you ride a horse and just shoot people. That's about it. The game really lacks variety. You also play poker before the start of each level, and it's really pointless. It fills part of a meter that you will never use if you get a good hand. You cannot skip the poker game either, it's completely stupid. It may sound like I am really bad mouthing the game, but there are a few things that makes Dead Man's Hand an interesting game. First off some of the levels have multiple ways to take out enemies. You can shoot barrels, shoot down signs to fall on people, ect. You can find ways to kill people other then shooting them, but a lot of the levels do not have this. I found way too many levels where you just run and shoot. The game does a good job showing you all it has in the beginning, then stripping all the fun away later on by making it lack more and more variety the farther you get into it. Enjoyment can still be found in this game though for hardcore first person shooter fans.
Overall, the game is pretty basic. It's a run & gun western that starts off with a bang, then looses it's variety the more you play. Gamers who don't mind shooting a lot of people without much variety will enjoy the game, others will hate it. It's a love or hate kind of game. I found some fun in it but not enough to purchase the game. Even though it has a low price tag of $29.99, I can only recommend it as a weekend rental.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 04/07/04
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