Review by Nocturnal Gamer

"Dead To Rights, another great concept poorly executed."

GAMEPLAY:There seems to be a new resurgence of an old style of game play, the type of games that forced you to play at their own pre-determined difficulty levels, rather than giving you the option of setting those parameters yourself. Games like Gunvalkyrie & Enclave did a good job of conveying this concept and maybe even taking it to another level in this new age of next Gen gaming. Unfortunately Dead To Rights falls short in it's attempt. The most important part of this game is the control interface and this is probably one of the worst things about the game, you will constantly find your self fumbling with the controls in a pathetic attempt to target what seems to be an endless barrage of gun toting foe's. I say pathetic not because of your own gaming ability or lack there of, but because of the sad fact that after more than (2-years) in development Namco couldn't put together a targeting system that worked for this game. You see in order to achieve any level of success in DTR you must be able to use the targeting system to quickly aim and eliminate your enemies, you can do this one of two ways: first you can pull on your right trigger to target an opponent, second you can pull on the right trigger to target one enemy then (while still holding down the right trigger) use your right analog to cycle through to the nearest foe. Sounds good on paper but the system is badly flawed, at times the targeting system will hesitate or lock on to the wrong enemy causing you to be killed. There are even times when it will lock onto a wall or other inanimate object resulting in ''you guessed it'' getting killed, getting killed is something you should get use to if your going to be playing DTR because it's an extremely hard game. Indeed playing the same screen over and over like some masochistic mantra for two or three hours is not unheard of in this game. Many inexperienced gamers will most likely throw down their controllers in anger and go on a rant that will undoubtedly get them punished for a couple of days, while even some of the most skilled veteran gamers will find this game infuriatingly unbearable in four words ''the game is hard''. Not the good type of hard that has you running back to the console to take another try but the type of hard that is due to a poorly constructed combat system and a ridiculously immense amount of enemies that never seems to end. This is a John Woo movie on crack! Namco did however do a good job of mixing combat styles, in DTR you can shoot guns fight hand to hand and even disarm your enemies with style to boot. Oh yea, this game also has mini-games in it and unlike other games that have had these in the past the mini-games in DTR actually are used to get from one level to the next. They are a necessary part of the game not just some gimmick designed to distract you, although some of these games are again VERY HARD and they tend to take you out of the story as you play them again and again in an effort to complete them. If you fail at your attempt at one of these games you will most likely fail at progressing to the next level; all things considered they did a good job here and it is the mini-games, and multi-faceted combat system in my opinion that truly save the game from being total trash.

STORY: Well, if you where hoping that the deep and engrossing story line of DTR would help save the day you are also in for a let down. Keeping in mind that this is an action shooter and story isn't the most important aspect of this particular genre, it's always a plus when there is a good story line, plot etc. to further pull you into the game, there isn't. You play the role of Jack Slate a K-9 police officer who answers a call to investigate a ''shoots fired'' at a local construction site to find out that your father has been killed. Of course Jack wants revenge at any cost. The stories so cliche that it gives the term cliche a bad name. No facial expressions or emotions at all on the faces of the characters, their lips don't even move when they speak. Although I must say the ''true cinematic'' cut scenes are fantastic looking this does not do enough to mend the horrible (B) acting and dialog in a story that just doesn't seem to go anywhere.

AUDIO/VIDEO: The audio or sound in DTR is pretty much dead-on, it successfully conveys and sets the appropriate mood for the game. As far as the video is concerned DTR is as anti-climactic as tongue kissing your dog, with visuals that could have easily been reproduced on the dreamcast, to say that the game is a graphic under-achiever is an understatement. No bump-mapping or pixel shading to be found here, although the game does tend to get better looking as you play-through (about halfway through that is). Namco said ''this was not a PS-2 port and the game was built from the ground up for the xbox console''. Well after paying the game and seeing the graphics I can honestly tell you this was a bold faced lie!

Replayability: Would you actually want to play this again? Some people will, while most wont have the desire to deal with this maddening game yet a second time and there are sure to be some used copies at your local gaming store soon! However with the proper use of the mini-game concept the game does have some replay value.

TO BUY OR TO RENT: That is the question isn't it, well if I where you I would DEFINITELY rent this game before purchasing it, I wish I had taken my own advise in this respect.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/25/02, Updated 08/25/02

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