Review by Puppetmon

"Disapointing in all aspects."

Red Dead Revolver is a highly stereotypical run-and-gun shooting game, set in the Wild West. There's a rather surprising lack of Wild West games on the market and, as it was made by a highly skilled development team (Rockstar Games to be exact and I don't think I have to tell you that they're the ones known for Grand Theft Auto), several people had high hopes for this game. It was to be, quite possibly, the first great Wild West game in videogame history..unfortunately the game falls short in almost all ways.

PLOT: You play as Red; Red's father was killed right in-front of him when he was child and now, as an adult, he does the only sane thing: He becomes a bounty-hunter to run around killing hundreds of generic bad guys for fun and profit! Oh, and, something or other about getting vengeance for his father, blah blah blah. It's a story that has been done a thousand times over and there's nothing shocking or original about it. However, the plot is intended to be little more then an excuse to run around shooting a lot of people, and it's certainly acceptable considering the setting and nature of the game. Plot Score: 6 out of 10.

GAMEPLAY: Dull, bland, boring, and highly unoriginal to sum it up in one sentence. Each stage is linear and non-interactive; That is to say that you walk from Point A to Point B, shooting everything that happens to be in-between those two points. And, quite honestly, that's about all there really is to it. But, this IS a run-and-gun style shooter so that's the way it's supposed to be. The problem isn't that mindless running and shooting everything is an entirely un-enjoyable concept..the problem is that it does it very poorly. First, every random enemy in the game has an absolutely inhuman tolerance for pain--you can shoot someone four times in the head at point-blank range and, after a second or two of randomly spinning in a circle, they shall resume shooting at you as though nothing had happened. Now, I don't know about you, but I feel that if I shoot someone in the head at point-blank range twice they should be DEAD and this concept of people surviving four head shots without even being phased is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard of in a game. In fact, there are points where it seems like your bullets aren't even effecting the regular enemies at all--at one point, I shot someone riding a horse six times, and nothing happened. They didn't fall off the horse, heck they didn't even stop shooting..they just kept on as though being shot in the head and chest multiple times was as painful as a bee sting. It only manages to get worse from there as the enemies with ridiculous tolerance for pain have some of the worst AI seen in recent history; They'll try to run away from you and hide behind objects, but they seem to do so completely at random. At times, you can be less then a step from an enemy, and they'll begin leaning against a wall--blatantly ignoring the fact that your right on top of them. Most of the time, they just run around aimlessly shooting at you, showing no form of artificial intelligence or logic. While you can hide behind objects for cover as well, there's very rarely any reason to do so, as it's far more effective to just rush towards the enemies firing blindly. As you kill the massive armies of generic bad guys, your "Dead Eye" meter fills up. What is the "Dead Eye" meter? It's bullet time, just with a new name. Honestly, it seems every game that has guns in it from Max Payne to Transformers has Bullet Time these days, and it feels as though they just tossed it in because everyone else was using Bullet Time as well. So, you fill your Dead Eye meter and tap a button to enter the Dead Eye mode, causing time to slow down--as you pass your cursor over parts of enemies, you'll lock onto their assorted body parts and, once you pull the trigger, will fire a shot at each lock simultaneously. While a fun concept in theory, it's ruined by the amount of damage enemies can take..even using Dead Eye, your lucky to kill ONE ENEMY by unloading all six bullets into them simultaneously.

At times, you'll wind up entering a Showdown, which doesn't manage to be any less boring then the rest of the game. Showdowns are the closest thing to originality in this game and are intended to simulate classic duels. During a Showdown, you have to quickly snap the control stick back and then forward to pull out your gun at which point you enter a special version of Dead Eye mode; Using your targeting cross-hair you try to gain as many locks onto your target/targets vital spots (Head, Heart, Groin) as possible during the brief time you have. One you get six locks, you fire all your simultaneously, and hope they drop dead. While different, the Showdowns are nothing more then a pointless gimmic, made annoying by the fact that your cross-hair becomes very difficult to control so that you can't even aim properly.

And finally, there are Boss Battles, which manage to defy every law of physics known to man. These boss enemies follow a pre-set pattern that you have to memorize in order to beat them. This is a classic formula that has been done since the dawn of gaming and yet they somehow manage to screw it up; You see, these boss enemies (Who are supposed to be ordinary humans I should remind you) usually only have one weak-spot and are completely immortal unless you hit them there. Literally. Take for example the dynamite loving clown; You can only damage him by shooting him in the butt. Even if you were to unload several hundred shots from a chain-gun into his skull, you will not inflict ANY damage onto him. Apparently a bullet to the butt is a million times more lethal then a chaingun to the head. Quite often the weakspot isn't apparent, forcing you to try to shoot at them from all angles until you find the only spot that will damage them; From there, it's just a matter of memorizing the enemies pattern and hitting their only weak spot until they die. You'll likely be bored by all aspects of the gameplay well before you reach the end of the game, as it all feels pointless and so unrealistic that it's hard to manage to care about it at all. At times, you'll get to control a character other then Red, but they all play the exact same way with the exact same controls, making them nothing more then a different character model then the one you usually get to see. Gameplay Score: 5 out of 10.

GRAPHICS: Rockstar decided to attempt to recreate the look of an old Western movie with the graphics; By which I mean everything looks dull, bland, and grey. This was intentional, but honestly I can't help but wonder WHY they intentionally did this. As everything looks dull and bland, it becomes even harder to care about anything going on in the game, and with the breathtaking graphics that most games are implementing, only serves to hurt the game even more. The character models are reasonably detailed and there are a decent variety of random enemies, but when everything looks so bland, it's hard to actually call the graphics "good". Graphics Score: 5 out of 10.

SOUND AND MUSIC: The sound and music in the game aren't any more remarkable then the rest of the game is. The music is quickly forgettable (In fact, though I was playing it two seconds before I started writing this review, I can't recall any part of any of the music) and, while not particularly bad, isn't the type of thing you'll remember for more then two seconds or ever want a soundtrack of. The sound effects are good enough, using the standard sound effects of classic western movies, but there's nothing truly remarkable about them either. On the plus side, the voice acting is above average and usually done at least competently, which is sadly more then can be said for the average game. Sound/Music Score: 6 out of 10.

CONTROLS: FINALLY we get to a category where the game manages to get a score higher then a six. The controls are, thankfully, handled quite well making it easy to switch between your various guns, aim at targets, and reload. Your character has a reasonable amount of actions (Punches, kicks, rolls to the side), but the gameplay renders those features nearly useless--if your doing anything other then running around shooting people rapidly, odds are your doing something wrong. The only flaw with the controls, specifically, come from the Showdowns; The cross-hair seems to develop a mind of it's own and is nearly impossible to aim anywhere you want to. Maybe this was intentional, to try to make the Showdowns a bit more difficult. Maybe they just really screwed up. I don't know, but the controls are simple, responsive, and effective apart from that. Control Score: 8 out of 10.

REPLAYABLITY: They tried to add some replay value to the game. After each stage, they grade you on accuracy, damage taken, how long it took you to complete the stage and if you do well you'll get an "Excellent" rating for the stage and unlock something. Problem is, the Gameplay is so boring, that there's not really any incentive you actually redo a stage, and getting the Excellent rating is typically just a matter of memorizing the placement of enemies. Still, it's better then nothing. Replay Score: 6 out of 10.

BUY, RENT, OR AVOID?: Well, there aren't really any good Western games out on the market..or any Western games at all for that matter, thus fans of Westerns will no doubt want to rent the game. And, there are WORSE ways of spending the few days it'll take you to finish the game. However, with gameplay as pointless and boring as this game has, everyone should definitely rent it before rushing out to buy the game.

+It's a Western game and there aren't many of those around.
+Good controls

-Enemies that can take five shots to the head and be perfectly fine
-Bosses that can only take damage in one specific area, letting them shrug off hundreds of direct shots to the head
-Non-interactive stages
-Bland graphics
-Forgettable music


Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 05/30/04

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