Content Test 3

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Dead to Rights II
Graphics: 5
Gameplay: 3.7
Sound: 3.5
Control: 4
Replay Value: 3
Rating: 3.8
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Namco
Number Of Players: 1
The original Dead to Rights was an enjoyable game, despite its flaws. When the sequel was announced, the hope was that Namco would fix the problems from the first game, and release a polished game that took full advantage of the seriesí potential. Unfortunately, Dead to Rights II not only fails to improve on the original, itís far less enjoyable. The gameplay is stale, the visuals are bland, and the story is uninteresting.

DTR II again places you in the role of Jack Slate, a veteran cop with a no-nonsense attitude. You know heís got a no non-sense attitude because he will kill lots of bad guys and use dry one-liners. Itís videogame clichť #4538 if youíre looking it up. It seems that a judge has gotten a little to close to the heart of a crime syndicate, and got himself kidnapped. Since the judge is a friend of your fatherís, itís up to you to rescue him, and give the city coroner something to do along the way. Itís supposed to be cheesy, and if the game were fun, it might hold up, but it just ends up being one more way the game disappoints.

Dead to Rights IIís gameplay is all shooting and all action. You control Slate from a third-person view, clearing out room after room of un-intelligent bad guys. The levels are very simple, and after a short while get quite boring Ė a fact not helped by the constant backtracking you must do. Every time you die, you must do the entire level over again Ė there are no checkpoints along the way. Since some levels are very easy, only ramping up in difficulty towards the end, you must replay the entire easy part, only to get killed when it gets tough, over and over again. Itís very frustrating, and makes the game grow tiresome quickly.

A large arsenal of weapons is available, including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades. It really doesnít matter what weapon you have Ė most of the time picking up whatís available and emptying the clip is what works best. The game doesnít reward you for saving your ammo, nor does it challenge you to figure out what gun works best in certain situations. Your trusty canine sidekick, Shadow, is back and can be used to attack enemies and retrieve ammunition. Unfortunately, heís unresponsive and often fails to appear when you need him or accomplish his task. Since heís unreliable, youíll probably end up never using him.

Since multiple bad guys will fill the room at once, you basically pick one to start with, kill him, and then scroll to the next guy. Jack has a variety of ways to disarm and kill opponents, and he can also use them as a human shield; though youíll rarely need to get that creative. The played-out slow-motion bullet-time effect is included and allows you to quickly take out a roomful of enemies with ease.

DTR II uses the ever-popular combination of gritty urban areas and drab interiors. Throw in some neon, and youíve got an uninspired, unoriginal looking game. The visuals arenít horrible, but they donít impress in any way. There are a fair amount of death animations for the bad guys, but there are only a few different character designs, so you end up seeing the same guys die several different ways. Many objects, like cars, barrels, and bottles can be destroyed, but it would have been nice to have more destructible objects. The gameís camera is lousy and must constantly be fought. Enemies will shoot from off-screen, and the cameraís orientation often makes it tough to figure out where you are headed and where you came from.

If youíre deaf, donít worry, youíre not missing anything here. The music is uninspired, and the dialog is downright laughable. Characters scream out profanity for no apparent reason, and the cut-scenesÖletís just say they arenít going to use these as an argument to increase the salaries of voice actors.

If youíre into mindless shooting and action, Dead to Rights II might be a pleasant weekend diversion. However, if youíre looking for a game that improves on the original, delivers an interesting story, varied gameplay, and is worth $50, you need to look elsewhere.

6/30/2005   Aaron Thomas