Sunday, May 23, 2010

VGR Red Dead Revolver

With the release of a new Old West game, something that doesn't happen that much like say WW2 or modern spy themed games, I decided to put on a review of a little cult favorite of mine.

This is a review about the original Red Dead Revolver, not the new sequel on Xbob360 or PS3.
I didn't buy the new one nor plan to try it right away...
It seems like a pretty decend new Old West game, but kinda far from what the original game was, its original "spirit". More like surfing on a little cult game...
The should rather call it under a new name. (since it isn't the same kind of game). I would have been more motivated in Red Dead Redemption if they would have used a new name! (were they afraid of competitors games' reputation? like Call of Juarez and Gun? maybe.. so they turned their game into a fake Red Dead 2)

Anyway, we kinda got sidetracked... Back on the 2004 game now.

Game: Red Dead Revolver
By Rockstar/Rockstar San Diego
Played on Xbox
Also available on PS2
Type 3rd Person Shooter/Arcade
From 2004

I've always loved the Western/old west genre. Yep.
Yes, it kind sound strange but I do love Scifi, B movies, horror movies, slashers, monster movies, kaiju flicks, adventure/action ones, 80s/90s blockbusters, Chanbara movies AND Westerns! Strange mix? I would rather say wide range of tastes : P

I like Old West, it's a pretty fun and entertaining genre which offers a lot of original stories and type of characters!
But it's also a genre that hasn't been very much used in gamings! We play games taking place in either our "current" world or the future most of the time.
And with the past, we prefer war-filled themes of World War, or Age of Empires, or anywhere along those lines..

But lately, since the 2000s, there's been a handful of Old West games.
The Gun or Call of Juarez series have been using a John Wayne-type of Western.

His name's Red. And he ain't here to kid' around...

For the Gamecube and the PS2, Capcom started working in the early 2000s on a Old West game.
Yes. Capcom. Check it out!
But it was around Capcom's financial problems. When they canceled a bunch of other future would-be hits. Like Dead Phoenix, a Capcom 5 game, but we'll discuss more on that on a future Blog post...
The game was gonna be a japanese take on Spagetti Western, something pretty fun since the other Old West games are more based on the John Wayne-western. Plus it was a japanese game so it would be pretty unique for the genre, a bit more arcade for sure!
Then Capcom canceled it.
Very sad news that day...
The game was very advanced in its development. But you gotta understand...
They had financial problems, the game wasn't a big blockbuster game and it surely wouldn't be a huge success in japan.

However, like the name of the other canceled game previously mentioned, it raised again like a Dead Phoenix!
Rockstar games bought the project in development, all the work done so far & everything else around it (the engine, the IP, etc..).
Yes. Rockstar finished the game!
The content was mostly over anyway.
Red Dead Revolver came out finally on Xbox and PS2!

The game was well received by critics (even if they nitpicked some little details), it has since became a cult favorite!
But like many other games of that time, it didn't sold that much and was a bit ignored for more mainstream series.
(it was a time when many great underrated games went totally ignored for new Marios or Sonics... like Psychonauts, Billy Hatcher, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Beyond Good & Evil...)

The Magnificent Five

So... We just talked about the story around the game.
Now, the story of the game itself!

You play as Red Harlow. A bounty hunter on the hunt of evil Governor Griffin, responsible for his parents death alongside a General Diego and a Colonel Dare.
The game is pretty unique in its gameplay, it tries not be be repetitive with many original levels such as the attack of a train, a bridge to blow up and mines to explore.

Plus you'll get to play with many unique character, the game changing characters each chapter for the story.
You'll play Red when he's a kid, later as a bounty hunter on various bounties and later trying to find Griff and Diego, but also the characters that will be joining him in his quest of vengeance and justice.
Such as Annie Stoakes, a kickass "cowgirl" (not that kind!), Jack Swift, a badass English gunman, Shadow Wolf, Red's native half brother and a US Army soldier just known as Buffalo Soldier.
Each character play a bit differently from Red. Be it different weapons or gimmick.

Yes gimmick, main character Red has a special ability.
Called Dead Eye, it's used for duels, a slow mode/bullet time allowing the player to aim at different places on the enemies or multiple targets.
Very fun and quite effective, it charges slowly, so you don't over uses it, each time being quite unique and not too much gimmick-y as well.

The man who shoots faster than his shadow... with his Dead Eye.

So, how exactly was Red Dead any different from any other and future Old West game?
Well, champ', easy answer.
The game was originally a japanese Old West game! It wasn't designed as a big immersive 100+ hours world, nor as a first person shooter game. It was a pure arcade game!
Rockstar mainly finished texturing/level designing/coding/story telling and testing the product!
It kept his "core" experience.
There's score/money (to buy better weapons during levels) for kills and speed.
The game's based around original fun levels. Something you'd want to replay.

The setting is that of spaghetti westerns.
The characters are pastiches of the spaghetti western genre. Red's the typical "Man with no name"/Clint Eastwood character. There's the strong native brother, the southern and northern soldiers, the southern belle dangerous with a gun, the rotten governor and many others!
The music is also perfect!
I'm glad Rockstar bought so many old songs from spaghetti western composers, such as Ennio Morricone.
The theme song, from Lo Chiamavano King by Luis Bacalov is forever one of my favorite Western tunes now!

You'll travel a lot of visually different places, from ghost towns to cemeteries and many more!

But the game isn't without his problems.
The game is a bit grey/grainy. Which people criticised back then.
The dust & scratches effects are present and look great, but it could be a bit more detailled and colorful.
The models aren't that great, animation and details-wise, which for 2004 should and could be a bit better!
I'm okay with playing old 3D and less "next gen" games. But for 2004, it could be a bit better!
However, have in mind it was a early 2000s Capcom Arcade game at heart.

There's a multiplayer, but I never really bothered with that much... Only tried it once or twice..
There's the classic deathmatches, team/free for all fighting modes you'd expect from Quake 3 or Unreal...

Overall, it's a very fun experience!
I'd say, if you're a bit interested in a different Old West game, Capcom arcade games or just something for your PS2/Xbox. Try it!

The story is original, the character unique and the gameplay actually pretty good!
Riding a horse, a bull, attacking a train, duelling under the sun in the street... The game is never dull!

My only complaint is that you need to create a new game to replay through old levels...
There's a bounty mode (aka Mission mode) were you're allowed to replay any level you want. But not all of them (mostly Red's) and with very specific goals in game (under 3 minutes, protect someone, don't do something...)

I really like this one, a cult favorite of mine. But it has its flaws and isn't the "best perfect game evaahh"!
The music, settings and general mood is what I like the most in this one.

You can play it with the Xbox 360 (like me!) but since the last Retro-compatibility patch (as of today) it has been a bit buggy in textures... Nothing that awful, mind you.
But there's a little glitch during a boss fight (google it!) that can freeze the game! Nothing impossible however, don't worry.

Anyway, it's a great arcade spaghetti western game, and how many of those is there anway??

I give it:
 2 / 3 Quacks!


  1. Neato! Well, this game did pass by my radar long ago. I believe we never did have the PS2 at the time, and even then, I wouldn't have bought lots of games for it (when you've a brother not wanting you to buy games on his console long ago).
    Big bro did buy the new game impulsively after watching a review about it. Might mention his thoughts about it.

    And nice homage to Lucky Luke! Got a book of him in French with a Spirou one yesterday, when Ma and Pa returned from their weekend to Geneva. I woulda come, but no room for me...

  2. Another great unknown game of the Dreamcast-blues era!

  3. The new Red Dead Redemption sounds good and all that...sure...
    But it looks like it doesn't deserve to be called a sequel to this one!

    The guy's called John Marston, right?
    Maybe "Marston Dead Revolver" would have been better! I mean, the game sounds and plays differently, yeah, but Red's not even in it!!