When was the last time you heard it? A big hit western game? Not likely, not in this generation. The fact is that the probability of success when making a western, shoot-em-up game in this day in age is slim to none, and slim is out of town betting against you. Why, then, would Capcom be betting all on their newest action title, Red Dead Revolver? Because the far east has always had a fascination with the old west, and Capcom is betting on just that to push Revolver, a satirical glimpse at cowboy life. Some may have seen this game at E3 this year, thinking they know all about it. Such could not be farther from the truth.
Set in the late 1880's, Red Dead Revolver tells the tale of Red, a not so young orphan trained by the 'Indian Master', an enigmatic old man who trains Red in his earlier days to seek revenge for the death of his parents and sister. Red starts out in some typical western training, shooting dummies to improve his marksmanship. From that point on, he will embark on several adventures, not all of which will involve simple shoot-em ups, but rather some interesting escort runs as well as the now almost clichéd stealth action.
However, there are some fairly unique gameplay elements in Revolver, including a variety of missions that span almost every western movie ever made. Whether saving the damsel in distress or saving the president's life, Red will encounter several various mission types that will ultimately lead to his becoming protector of his own town. In doing so, mission objectives will change to meet this new obstacle, giving players much more control over the development of the game than previous western tales. If the roles you take lead you in the direction of a town protector, numerous side quests will pop up, further enhancing the diversity of the gameplay.
On top of the diverse gameplay is rather twisted sense of humor, which basically pokes fun at the old style westerns of John Wayne fame. In any stage, after being 'briefed' so to speak, you will encounter a number of enemies with odd nicknames and even more odd peculiarities. For instance, you may see a man named Ugly dash across the screen with a stick of TNT sticking out of his derriere. Basically what Capcom has done with this game is give westerners a chance to make fun of their own culture, with a sick sense of humor that never relents.
However, knowing the old west's proclivity for violence, Capcom has made sure that there will be plenty of gunplay, and violent gunplay at that. Each stage has numerous battles, as well as a boss at the end to liven things up. Players can utilize both an automatic targeting system and a manual one, both of which are sure to lead to bloodshed. Auto targeting will be used for most fights, though certain scenarios will call for increased accuracy, requiring manual targeting. Either way, damage is based upon location- meaning that when you nail an enemy in the head; expect to see it go flying. However, this type of gore is the norm for a very good reason. Red Dead Revolver really does simulate the attitude of the old west. Fail to nail your opponents, and in impressive style, and you may wind up dead. Therefore, players are encouraged to make their enemies dance, and dance they will if lit up correctly. Capcom promises uncanny detail in gunfights, ranging from staggering enemies downed by hits to the leg, to shocked enemies taken aback by a blow to the arm. Where you hit your target is key, because an inch here or there may make the difference between life and death. If you fail to intimidate your opponents by mutilating one of their own, they may well end up doing just that to you. When all is said and done, this is one game that encourages as much violence as possible- a fitting tribute to the old west.
Of course, what ultra violent western would be complete without a multiplayer face off? Capcom promises that there will indeed be a multiplayer option, which will allow you to go head to head with your friends, to find out once and for all who the best slinger in town really is.
As of now, Red Dead Revolver looks to be in a class all by itself. There is no telling what kind of impact this game may have on the market due to its individuality, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that this is a game the likes of which no one has seen before, save perhaps John Wayne. Look for Red Dead Revolver later this year.
9/22/2002 Ryan Hartmann