Review by Eleven28

Reviewed: 05/12/04

There's a snake in my boot! Oh, it's just Red Dead Revolver.

A couple years back, 'Red Dead Revolver', a third-person western shooter, was announced from Capcom, bundled with a few screens to get us going. I took a look at those screens and was blown away by just about everything. I was so glad there was finally a promising looking Western-themed title. (I am a Texan, ya know.) So, after a couple hectic years in production, and a switch of developers, would this game with so much potential do the Western theme justice? Well, lets find out.

Presentation - From the time you put the disc in, you're immersed into the western theme. From the branded Rockstar logo to the unique main menu, this game hits the nail on the head with the feeling of the wild west. The loading screens showcase each characters talents with their respective weapons. I mean, a western game wouldn't be complete without the spinning revolvers.

Story - There's not much to say here. You play as Red. A half-indian, half-white bounty hunter on the wild frontier, who is always searching for his father's killer. That's the base of it, and really all you'll need. You will also play as a renegade Mexican general, a loyal blood-brother indian, a flashy, british gunslinger, a sassy, blonde farm owner, and more. And since you're juggled between these characters through-out the game, you never really get a sense of who Red is. He's the dark, quiet type (of course), but I would've liked to see more levels with him, and more of his personality explored.

Gameplay - Contrary to what we were lead to believe from the early videos of this game, it is not free-roaming at all. This game is NOT Grand Theft Equine. And while I'm glad the game isn't so over-the-top violent like GTA, I am disappointed that it is very limiting and claustrophobic. You are sent through each level one by one, and given a certain goal to accomplish (which usually boils down to killing everyone in the level.)

You only have your father's single old revolver when you begin, but you quickly gain access to more powerful handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, and explosives. You can purchase new guns with the money you receive from kills and bounties.

It is pretty fun running around the levels, hiding behind boxes, getting that sweet headshot, and taking out the final piece of scum in the level in a tense, nerve-racking duel.

Red also has a move called Dead-eye. It's a Max Payne-ish technique that slows down time and turns everything black and white. At this time you can move your targeting reticule over the enemy or enemies to select up to six different point on they're bodies, then when time runs out, all six bullets are unleashed in rapid succession. While this move is neat, and fun to watch, it's not all that necessary or effective.

But where the game really shines is when you get to jump on your horse to chase down a speeding train, or defend your farm from bandits from the top of a raging buffalo, or participating in a classic ghost town duel. But these levels are few and far between and ultimately, don't really save the game from its faults.

This game can be VERY frustrating. The difficulty isn't anything outlandish, but it's tough enough to get you squeezing your controller. The duels later in the game, are very hard to win: it seems you're going up against Wild Bill Hickok himself!

This is a medium length game, and could be completed in a good weekend of solid gaming.

Controls - Controlling Red is just like controlling Max Payne, left stick for movement, right stick for aiming. This layout works well for the type of game it is. The aiming is tight, and the collision detection is good. Switching between weapons is a little inconvinient, especially when you have several. Reloading was also a problem for me. The guns don't reload themselves when they're empty. So, I found myself going for the perfect headshot and I hear the click...then sit through the slow reloading process, and by the time I'm ready to fire, the target is gone, and sometimes, I am too. Not entirely the game's fault, but annoying anyway.

What really disappointed me, were the controls when riding a horse/buffalo. It felt very loose and kind of like the animations for the horse weren't finished. The horse simply turns with no feeling of weight to it. Also, the 'hide' feature never really worked for me. It was awkward to hide behind a corner and peek out to fire, it just felt clunky. And it was very annoying because most of the enemies would just run around the corner and shoot you point blank, which pretty much defeats the purpose of hiding. And the controls for melee attacks such as punches, are awful. It's nearly impossible to land a punch, because Red seems to freeze when he punches, and the enemy simply runs around you. This made the bar-fight level a serious pain.

Graphics - The graphics in Red Dead Revolver look far worse than they did in the early screenshots, but are still good enough to get the job done. The textures are weak, and some of the guns are a little blocky. The character models are fairly well done, and the enviroments are small, and the backgrounds look stunning and huge, it was a shame that you couldn't explore them. Even though they were small, the levels were nicely detailed and the lighting from the sun is bright, to give the sense of extreme western heat.

There's also this sort of grainy effect used on the cutscenes that recreate the look of those old time western flicks, which is a really cool addition.

Sound - The soundtrack was the only thing in the game that I found to be dead on. The guns all have unique sounds, nice ricochets, the horse hooves brilliatly clap the ground, and the voice overs are good. You will hear some clever one liners from the poor saps you're blasting or about to blast. The music itself is of course, you're classic spaghetti western score, and is nice to listen to, and not intrusive or repetitive. Thumbs up here.

Replay Value - After the first play through the game, you unlock different modes, like Bounty Hunter mode, which lets you play each level again, but with added objectives. There is also a Hard mode to unlock, some codes, and a ton of journal entries, which aren't really that big of a deal, unless you're a completist.

The multiplayer is pretty fun, especially with a few friends. And there are tons of different characters to choose from that you have unlocked from the single player game. Most of them have special moves that have something to do with their character. There is also a multiplayer duel, with up to four players. These can get very tense and competitive with your friends. But all of this just gets old kind of quickly. I think bigger, more interactive levels with horses you can ride would've added alot to this game. But as it is now, I can't see myself buying this game.

Conclusion - So, finally, after so much waiting and anticipation for this game, it doesn't exactly stand up to the hype. It's disappointing because I've wanted a good western game for a long time. I believe if Capcom had finished it, or even if it was just given more time in development, it could have been such an amazing game. It's definitely the best western game since Sunset Riders, but that's not saying much.

So, rent this game, give it a play through, and I think you'll enjoy it for a weekend. But you're better off with Sunset Riders and the first season of Deadwood.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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