Review by MrSkip

"The good, the bad and the best westren game in town."

When it comes to video games, the western genre hasn't really been explored that much. With the exception of a few gallery shooters such as Mad Dog Magee, Sunset Riders, and Wild Guns there been bit of a void of it in this generation of gaming. Heck in fact most games that were set in this genre were quickly shelved before they had a chance to see the light of day. Even this game, Red Dead Revolver, was almost sentenced to the purgatory of unfinished games when Capcom give up on it. Luckily Rockstar (of GTA fame) saw a good thing and picked up where they left off. So now the 128-bit generation has a front-runner for the Wild West gaming. Say it with my now: YEEE-HAAAA!

Skinny: Sheesh, first the bride from Kill Bill then the Punisher, revenge just seems to be the thing in '04. The game begins in Red's past when Red's father was just coming home to his family after discovering gold in the mountains. But the reunion turns into a massacre when a corrupt colonel kills his ma and pa and burns down their cabin. Red, however, is able to take the man's arm at the cost of burning his hand when reaching for his father's gun. Years later, Red's a grown gun slinging bounty hunter and searching the land for his family's killer while meeting other desperados with their own agenda. It's a typical story of westerns but not fully developed in RDR as Rockstar concentrates more on the supporting characters then Red himself. Thus you don't get to know him very well. Still it's a decent basis for the game.

Play Dials: Movement and aiming is done with the sticks while the D-pad switches the weapons. Shooting, hiding and jumping is done with the buttons and the shoulder buttons activates dodging and “Dead-Eye” (more on that in Core). It's a little clumsy (especially aiming) at first but master able after a few play-throughs.

Core: Two modes of play here: Story and Multiplayer. Story is a one-player game in which you go through different chapters, shooting baddies, completing objectives and finishing most fights in grand “High Noon” fashion, or in other words, gun duels. The gun fights themselves are great and done with an arcade-y flavor (you even get the continue countdown after you die) as you hide behind westerns props and return fire from you assortment of weapons, which you buy as the game goes on, beating down the denizens of the frontier. Yes all the levels are mostly enclosed spaces but it better this way. No fun tracking down the baddies in one big gigantic town. The dead eye, which are a variety of special moves for the heroes (i.e.: Red has the Matrix-like lock ons, the British man fires rapid multiple shots, Anne fires a burst of gun power, etc.) are nice little gimmicks and are great in jams though you have to work to use them. And the duels? Well they're creative though a tad bit frustrating on a couple of goes especially when the odds get unfair and the opponents get faster, but its all in the name of the ‘ol west. Multiplayer is the usual deathmatch done in a interesting poker fashion using characters you unlock during the game but nothing new. Would've been better if there was a cooperative mode, but what there is good enough.

Eye-Candy: A nice capturing of the western look with the cut scenes reminiscent of those brownish grainy movies. The models don't look half bad glad to see Rockstar has worked on the character's fingers and joints, its not perfect but their getting there. Animation wise is just as good with facial expressions and some rather lanky movements. All in all, not a bad effort though more time could've made it a bit better.

Noise: Excellent western soundtrack fitting the mood of what going on in the stages giving the game an extra boost of personality. Not to mention the sounds: gunshots, explosions, crashes, etc sound like they should. Voice acting, eh, once again could be better. Red barely says anything and doesn't sound as dangerous as he should when he does speak. The others are decent enough, some a bit corny then most. But it doesn't bring down or distract from the game.

Final Call: An above average game and most welcome in a genre thats rarely explored. Some more stuff could've been added in and the controller tweaked. But in the long run, it's a nice throwback to the arcade shooters, homage to western movies, and some great gameplay. Hopefully there will be a franchise able future for RDR. Until then, this is the best we'll ever get to reliving our favorite western moments. So… DO YOU FEEL LUCKY? DO YA PUNK?! Then rent or buy this game!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/16/04

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