Right, don't go giving us the "I hate Westerns so I won't like this" crap. Sure, when they're bad they can be wicked dull, but done right they're rough-tough sons of bitches spitting attitude and thrills.
All the same, we weren't that convinced about Western-themed games, especially after reviewing Dead Man's Hand (see p93). But when we played Red Dead Revolver at Rockstar's offices, we left feeling like bonafide badass cowboys.
The San Diego team behind Midnight Club II has created a handsomely rugged Wild West arcade shooter with action faster and deadlier than a rattlesnake bite. Dust a-swirlin', hazy light pouring through the clouds, warbling Wild West music - Red Dead sucks you straight into its world, but then quickly pulls the trigger by hurling you into insanely fast and stylish gun-fighting scenarios.
The Quick And The Dead
You're in a rickety old town, massively outnumbered by hoards of stinky buck-toothed outlaws. But Red, our hero, is a gun-slinging maestro. A bloody shoot-out kicks off as you stylishly pick off unwashed assassins. One guy crashes through a window when you nail him with a messy headshot, and another falls from a roof after you take his feet out from under him by shooting him in the ankles. Up close, you use fists and feet to wipe out a couple of goons before legging it into cover. But now you're really low on ammo, so every shot has to count.
Six-shooter in hand, you leap out and trigger Dead Eye mode. Time slows. You pass the aiming reticule over the head of one enemy, onto the chest of another, the balls and belly of a third, and the knees of the fourth. A small red circle appears over each of these targeted body parts. Now when you squeeze the trigger Red unleashes an explosive combo of rapid-fire shots in real-time, dropping all four enemies in a lightning takedown.
This is what a Western game should be like. All the best stuff is in here; saloons, horse-riding and giant battles scenes. It's outrageously fast and instinctive arcade fun that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Looks slicker than Once Upon A Time In Mexico, and plays smoother than Salma Hayek's silky hips. Deadly, sexy and fresh. Good for Rockstar, bad for Capcom.