Red Dead Revolver

Red Dead Revolver
Red Dead Revolver Cover
Platforms Xbox, PlayStation 2
Genre Western revenge shoot 'em up
MtAMinutes to Action 6
Keep Playing? No
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It's easy to forget that Rockstar Games actually develops other series besides Grand Theft Auto.  With nine studios making up the Rockstar empire, it's seemingly unbelievable that the only games they've released since Grand Theft Auto IV two years ago is a new Midnight Club racing game, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the DS and PSP, some music game called Beaterator, and a few Grand Theft Auto DLC's.  So what are all the other studios working on?  Well, Rockstar San Diego is almost done with Red Dead Redemption, the sequel to our first hour focus today, Red Dead Revolver.

Red Dead Revolver was released in 2004 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.  It plays like a Spaghetti Western film and follows a very linear tale of revenge.  The last Western game I played before Red Dead Revolver was Sunset Riders, a side-scrolling shoot 'em up featuring simultaneous multiplayer and a whole lot of fun.  I have some great memories playing this game on the Super Nintendo with my friends in middle school.

April was originally going to be "Western games month" on the First Hour in what was sort of a celebration of the release of Red Dead Redemption and in honor of the many obscure and not-so-obscure Western games including Sunset Riders, Gun, Call of Juarez, Outlaws, Rising Zan (Samurai Gunman!) and maybe even Custer's Revenge.  But with the delay of Red Dead Redemption until May and the general annoyance of getting locked into theme months, we decided to skip it.  Here's what's left of it though: the first hour of Red Dead Revolver on the Xbox.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)

00 - I select Story Mode and the first hour of Red Dead Revolver begins.  I leave my name as Red and invert the Y-axis.  Instead of a cutscene or even a voiceover, I get to read a wall of text. Chapter 1: Bulls Eye.  Well, not really in the mood for reading.  Red does some fancy shooting moves in front of a sun, was that just the loading screen?

01 - Okay, a new cutscene, some guy is returning home to his wife and son carrying a few packs.  His son wants to see his new gun, looks like the wife is an Indian.  He sends the kid away to go practice with a different pistol, while he "gives your mom her gift."

02 - I get control, just suppose to move on down to the shooting range.  The tutorial tells me that I move with the left thumbstick. Thanks.  The game asks me if I want to learn and shoot, why not?

red Dead Revolver Saloon Door

03 - You have to hold the L trigger to draw your gun and keep it out, and the R button shoots. The game asks me to shoot specific body parts on a scarecrow, I wonder if it'll have precision damage... that'd be cool.  You don't automatically reload after running out of bullets, have to pull the trigger again.

05 - Oh crap, a whole bunch of guys are raiding our land! That was quick, but not unexpected.

06 - Wow, there's a lot of guys, they each take a few hits to go down, even though I'm aiming for the head.  Lots of blood flying through the air though.

07 - The last guy goes down, but pa gets shot.  Three more bandits walk up and make fun of my dad.  Holy cow! My dad's special gun was on fire, but I grab for it either way and blow the lead bandit's arm off!  That was really awesome, my hand's burned though, and I'm sure I just made some brand new enemies.

08 - The chapter summary appears, I'm rewarded $20 for taking down Smitty, the last bandit killed before the cutscene.  My accuracy was 80% and I unlock some stuff.  That was fun stuff.

09 - Red is doing his gun tricks again, must be the loading screen.  His hand is wrapped now, and a dog is tailing him.  Some guy crawls out from under a wagon, says he's a merchant.  I can buy a few things from him.  The only thing worth buying that doesn't unlock something is a knife, I've got plenty of cash, so I'll take it.

red Dead Revolver Sharpshooter

10 - The cutscenes are presented like it's a Western movie with some film grain.  Some fools approach us and want to fight, I take them both down in six shots.  After that, I'm offered another training section.

12 - It's cover training, I press X to sidle up to the wagon, and pull out my hunting rifle.  Each guy goes down in one hit.

13 - Next up, I learn how to use Deadeye, press in the right thumbstick to slow down time and put a giant red target on the bad guy's head.

15 - For some reason, everyone is out to kill me! Three guys run out of the town and just start shooting me.  They all take quite a bit more hits though, and have life bars and names.  Must be bounties.  I get $30 for taking out Bloody Tam, and receive an Excellent rating on the stage.  Deadeye is also very useful.

16 - I start right out in the shop and can buy a pistol, I already have one, do I need another? Might as well. Ah, it's actually a revolver and much stronger than my other guns.  I can only carry one side arm, one long arm, and one throwing weapon at a time.

18 - All right, I select Start... maybe the game proper is starting?  Red has brought all the bounties to the Sheriff looking for a reward.  What the?! Some guys just shot my dog!

red Dead Revolver Deadeye

19 - Does this game have any kind of exploration? It's just one encounter after the next. Even Rising Zan had me running around a bit.

21 - After much more killing, the game is going to teach me how to duel.  There are four phases to dueling: first you press down on the right joystick and them immediately up to draw your gun.  Then the targeting reticule will change to display how accurate your shot will be, you can move that around, but you gotta select your spot quickly.  Then you pull the R trigger to fire.

22 - During the live fire, I totally destroy the guy.  That was pretty simple.  Oh oh, now Gigolo wants to fight. Yes, that's his name.  He sends out all his minions after me, until I finally take him down.

24 - You have got to be kidding me?! More fighting! Some guy named Ugly has picked up the Sheriff and is using him as a shield.  I have to use Deadeye to shoot around him carefully.  Or just shoot his feet.

25 - Some woman appears, it's the Sheriff's daughter, she asks for my help to bring him to a doctor.  I need to bring him to Brimstone, but that'll have to wait until the next level.

27 - After the summary page I buy a Breech Loader long arm.  Or not, I hit A instead of Y to buy it. Lame.  You also need to repair your weapons to keep their damage and accuracy at their max.

red Dead Revolver Deadeye up Close

28 - All right, next level: we're on the train to Brimstone.  I'm hanging out with the Sheriff, but I get the idea I should be moving on around the train.  You can talk to other train passengers, who just spout out random details.

30 - Of course: bandits!  The guy in the front of the car was in on it, but now he's dead after an easy duel.  I get the first real look at my character's face, he's quite scarred up.  Is this many years after his father's death?

32 - Now I'm on top of the train cars, guess I need to move down to the caboose.  Feels like Sunset Riders!

34 - Some brave raiders are actually jumping from the canyon walls onto the cars, pretty exciting action.  A named baddie named Fawler is tossing some kind of explosive.  Okay, actually Fawler throws knives.

36 - A woman screams, "Why is the train speeding up? Something must have happened to the engineer!"  That's some quality writing there.

37 - Oh man, now I have to dodge obstacles while trying to get back to the front of the train.  This is quite obnoxious. I wish my knives weren't throwing knives, would make close quarter fighting a lot easier.

red Dead Revolver English Gentleman

39 - I reach the engineer, he was being held up by a bandit of course. Ah, now I need to defend him for three minutes, "there ain't no end to these desperados!"

40 - Bad guys ride up on horses, I check my health for the first time and it's near the max, that's good to know.

42 - The engineer is killed with just 30 seconds left, lame. I think I could figure the train out myself.  In true arcade action, I have 10 seconds to say that I want to try again.  And I get it this time, the engineer patches me up, that's why my health was full.

45 - All right, I beat it and arrive in Brimstone.  I ran out of revolver ammo though, and I really just wish getting shot in the face would, you know, kill them!

47 - This town is much busier than the last.  Brimstone's sheriff approaches me and asks for my help later.  Hey, I've got control in the town and no one is shooting me!

48 - I enter the gun store to see the latest wares.  Wow, there's a really nice repeater rifle for sale for $800, I've got 1600 so it's a no brainer.

red Dead Revolver Annie Stoakes

51 - Okay... where's the Sheriff's office?  Ooh, a saloon!  Haha, all the Mexican's in this game are short, fat, and have huge gray beards.  Where are the women? Wow, there's a pair. She offers me a bath and the company of a fine woman, and then continues walking in circles.

53 - Time to continue this game at the Sheriff's.  He asks me to start with Pig Josh, who has a hankering for dynamite.  I can buy my own dynamite, but it's only 5 for $220, overpriced!

55 - About time I get back to the action.  A British gentleman is locked up in a hanging prison, poor guy.  A bunch of clowns suddenly attack, and the English dude helps me take them out.  I hop on a turret gun, but it leaves me exposed and I die!  The game starts me over before the first battle with the Englishman, dang.

57 - This time I survive the turret sequence and finish off all the little rascals running around.  Man, these sets of bad guys were annoying!

58 - Pig Josh runs out of his circus cart. He's essentially a suicide bomber as he runs up to you and detonates his dynamite when next to you, causing a ton of damage.

60 - Of course, fat suicide bombers can be beaten by climbing on the nearby roof and shooting him from above where he can't be reached. All too easy.  And that's the end of the first hour of Red Dead Revolver.  Curiously enough, it looks like the next level will be played as Jack Swift, the Englishman.

red Dead Revolver Zombie Train

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 6

What I loved: Quick to the shooting with some great action sequences.  The quick draw mini-game is also fun and seems like a decent recreation of the real one-on-one standoff.

What I liked: Feels like a Western with bounties, buying rifles, and loose women in saloons.

What I didn't like: The game feels almost too linear, especially when they give you a town to walk around in but there's still nothing to do but talk to the Sheriff in the end.  I also don't like timed defense situations, like Red Dead Revolver's train sequence.

Gameplay: Controls like you would expect a third-person shooter on the Xbox to control: decently.  The precision shooting is actually pulled off pretty well in the game too.

Fun Factor: It was fun for the hour, I will admit, but I'm not sure if doing canned level after level is going to be worth my time.

Graphics and Sound: Red Dead Revolver looks pretty good for its age, and the music is its aural highlight.  There's some great Spaghetti Western influenced tracks in the game.

Story: I could have called this one a mile away, but I don't usually play a game for its story.

Would I keep playing? No.  It just doesn't seem like the game is going to try anything new. Playing as a different character could be fun, but I doubt he actually plays much different.  At the end of the first hour I actually asked myself, "is this game almost over already?"