Review by NameUsedBefore

"A Game Savvy Enough to Take on the West"

Red Dead Revolver is an extremely enjoyable game from the get go. It thrusts you into a story of murder and revenge right off the bat and is good enough to at least keep you in your seat to find out what happens next. But what happens next usually doesn't even involve Red, sadly.

You see, our main hero is Red (really, no joke) and we soon find out that Red is about to be an orphan. His home is attacked by land raiders and thieves. In the ensuing gun battle Red's father and mother are both shot dead. With Red's home burning to it's final cinders, you embark on his great journey.

Red's trek to sweet revenge starts off with some good ol'-fashioned bounty huntin'. The areas which these gunslingin', leather-slappin', fights take place reek of quality and research, typical of Rockstar. Not only this but these battlegrounds are also extremely easy to traverse, as the camera-control is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of toying with.

The fights themselves are so good and immersive at times that you can smell the smoke fuming from the barrel of your piece. You jump around the areas, behind barrels and up against corners, as you fight your way into what usually is a boss battle. From horseback to traintrack, you do it all. The weapons involved in these fights are of your typical class, from revolvers to shotty's, to even placed-miniguns in case you wanna clear out some space.

The real lethalty of these firearms are best displayed in the game's Bullet Time-er, Dead Aim. When you use the function the world slows down, sounds become stretched and faint at the same time, visuals lurk and rumble, and bullets slowly zip across the screen. In the meantime, while this action is taking place, you're taking aim. You slowly move your reticule across the screen, placing it at enemy body parts, such as arms and legs. Once done you click the Dead Aim button again, and everything comes rushing back as you unload your rounds into the designated targets. It's a very dramatic effect: nothing's quite like blasting a guy off his horse with a sawed-off' in slow motion. Nothing.

So, the game sounds great so far, doens't it? Well, like all games before this one, and the games before those, there's some issues. These include problems with the story and how it is handled.

Instead of simply having Red a majority of the time, you only truly control him about two-thirds of the game. The other sections you are handling Red's friends (or surprisingly, his enemies). These levels of the game sorta feel thrown in just to add longevity to the game more than anything. Not only that, but some are horribly designed. For example, one level has you controlling Jack Swift, an English compadre of Red's, taking on clowns and a guy who literally teleports around the screen. The level is extremely tiny and just plain boring; and it lacks the cool and suave western-theme of the game since you're controlling an Englishman who acts like, you guessed it, an Englishman.

Thankfully, not all these 'thrown-in' levels are like that. One has you controlling one of Red's nemesis as he takes on the U.S. army in a river-battle where you must take out enemy cannons and shoot American servicemen (or stab them with a bayonet). Sounds pretty standard, right? Definitely not. Like most of the game's other levels this one has that 'something' that makes it intense. A constant barrage of cannon-fire keeps you on the move, as one second frollicking in the water means a big ol'-cannonball to the face.

The game has one other problem. It's freakishly short. Without Red's friends' mini-levels, the game could easily be completed in a little bit more than an evening.

Thankfully the game doesn't ever seem to have that feel of repetitiveness: you're constantly changing locations, and not only that you have some good ol'-fashion showdowns to shake things up.

These short-gunbattles have always been the shining point of our western dreams. The dust is being kicked up with a good breeze; your opponent's eyes are staring at you with an icy stare, your's slim down in response. You watch his hand with intensity, waiting for the moment it makes it's move. That moment comes. Your hand rockets down, snags the revolver-grip; pulls up. You're too fast for him as you pump the poor-cowboy with lead; and as the smoke clears you twirl your gun back into it's holster and tip your hat to the deceased.

Okay really, it's actually like that, a lot (Rockstar is great at immersing you into their games). Like Dead Aim, things slow down for this mini-game to take place, but your moves must be fast. First you must snag your gun successfully (screwing up leaves you hanging, your arm outstretched, empty-handed), then you move the targeting-reticule (like Dead Aim) where you want to shoot and click the trigger when the reticule changes to a dark red (when it's yellow, the shot will be weak, or miss).

The whole thing is downright amazing. While you're aiming you may begin to sweat, you see your counter-part already has his gun levelled. You watch in horror as he opens up, the bullets zing towards you. Over your shoulder. Between your legs. Into your chest. Or you may see that he missed his gun during the grab, and grin as you take one clean shot at his face. Gaming sweetness.

Luckily they put this mini-game into the multiplayer, which is utterly fantastic. Nothing quite like having three other buddies around for a good high-noon showdown. The other multi-modes are basic deathmatch, with a little bit of cards thrown in (variations of poker) to decide what powersups you get, health, etc. You must kill your opponents. When they die they'll drop a card, which you can pick up and add to your hand; whoever has the best hand wins whatever randomly-picked special is chosen. It's great fun and adds some good value to what would otherwise be a game destined to a world of rentals.

Props must go to Rockstar for yet another game with extremely high production values (the music sports a true spaghetti-western theme). The visuals are always on the good end, and the sound effects boom and crackle with the action on-screen.

Yet again Rockstar delivers a game with few problems and that is chocked full of rememberable moments, check this one out.

Pros: Great gaming-moments; full of extras and unlockables; extremely high production value.

Cons: Relatively short; too-much character-changing; some levels seem thrown in just for longevity.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/08/04

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