Review by ArtBoy

"DtR is a mix of fun.....and screaming frusteration."

Overview : Dead To Rights is a third person shooter for the X-Box, a system which has several nice tittles, but really almost got my seal of approval with this last release. You play as Jack Slate, a cop who goes rogue to avenge the murder of his detective father. This, inevitably, leads him into the dark underside of the city as he uncovers a tangled web of corruption and politicking that was the cause of his father's death.

Graphics - 7 : The engine is very a-la Shenmue, Slate even bears an odd resemblance to Shenmue's hero, especially with his brown leather jacket and pokey hair. The graphics are, overall, very nice an clean, but I wonder if they made full use of whatever graphic engine they were using. The slo-mo combos you can pull on baddies while you're unarmed and they have a gun are quite entertaining too. Also, one thing that detracts a great deal from the score is the simply abysmal camera angles that will make you scream ''WHAT THE $@%& ARE YOU DOING!'' at the computer as the camera repeatedly whirls around at inappropriate times, faces away from the action, or smacks into walls as if a drunken monkey midget on acid-crack was manning it. This truly frustrating problem sucked some points away from an otherwise graphically pleasing game.

Control - 5 : This got a low mark because of another I-want-to-peal-the-flesh-off-my-face problem. While the gunfights are usually smooth and challenging with bullets flying all over the place in a very Max Payne-esque fashion, the Hand-to-Hand fighting is something that invoked my fury on several occasions. It's repetitive, and horribly unbalanced, and not in your favor either. Baddies will generally swarm you, and no matter which way you block or how fast you hit the button to counter a grab, Jack tends to have the living crap kicked out of him. As if his weren't enough, they make you deal with several fights that have supremely obnoxious methods of hand-to-hand. For instance, fighting an extremely fast a gas chamber...and there's only one mask..and you get it knocked off your face when he hits you...and then he picks it up and beats you to a pulp. While this fight was POSSIBLE to beat in about a dozen tries and damn near made my fingers blister, an even later fight pits you against an opponent who is not only obscenely strong, but who you can't block either! WHEE! Some of the boss fights just make smack the programers...hard...with a bat. Anyhow, moving on...

Sound - 8 : Decent gun sounds, enemy taunts, mediocre voice acting, but all in all, nice. The music doesn't get repetitive and generally fits the mood. But after playing other games where the creators wet out of their way for good voices, Slate tends to sound like a bland Ben Stein. So it looses points there.

FunFactor/Replay - 5 : This game really suffers from some bizarre bi-polar disorder at times. On one hand, you can play several levels that, while challenging, are really quite fun, like a level where you're in a chopper manning an m-60 machine gun (mmmmm...m-60-liscious)to levels that make you want to claw your own eyes out, like the Prison level or some of the other hand-to-hand fights with bosses. I think the difficulty of some of the extremely hard levels (like one where you step out onto a balcony and are immediately hosed by 3 snipers and 5 guys with machine guns while you skitter about on the top of a scaffold) and the obnoxiousness and repetitiveness of some of the bosses and enemies in H2H fighting mode (When you fight Pinnacle, for instance) are serious blows to an otherwise enjoyable game.

Conclusion : Well, they did a really good job on half the game. The problem lays with the other half. Gunfights have a wonderful Payne-ey feel to them, being able to take a human shield and switch into FPS mode are great. but the H2H fighting is atrocious, repetitive, and simply not much fun. The game barely, BARELY makes up for it with a really top-notch style of play that sometimes makes you ''Rambo'' (charging in guns blazing) and sometimes makes you dive behind that one little rock in the corner for some cover so you can pick off baddies.
Payne fans will probably like this one, and anyone who likes a good gunfight (or Mr. Woo) will get hours of entertainment from this (As I did). Just don't play with other people around because they'll look at you like you're completely insane when you start swearing a blue streak at you X-box when you get mauled after 2 seconds into a new area or bent over a boss's knee and beaten like a redheaded stepchild.(As I did)

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 09/11/02, Updated 09/11/02

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