E3 2002Red Dead Revolver impressions

We try our hand at Capcom's slick Spaghetti Western-style shooter for the PS2. Read our impressions.

One of the most surprising games on display at Capcom's E3 booth is Red Dead Revolver, the recently announced Spaghetti Western-inspired shooter. Slated for release later this year, Red Dead Revolver is being developed by Angel Studios and actually started its life as a SWAT game. You wouldn't know that from looking at it, because Red Dead Revolver is loaded with style. The whole look of the game is highly reminiscent of classic stylized Westerns such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and graphically, it's very well done. Tom, the main character, moves very fluidly and can pull off a number of useful evasive maneuvers, and he's such a good shot that he can quickly target any part of his opponent's body. He coolly spins and holsters his pistols in between battles. His enemies are all unique characters with individual names, so you feel like you're really taking on live opponents.

Red Dead Revolver is a pure action game. It's played from a third-person perspective, though you can shoot from a first-person view, and the default controls were pretty easy to get accustomed to. The left analog stick is used to run around, while the right stick is used for aiming. The left shoulder button draws your guns and the right shoulder button fires them. The face buttons can be used for dodging and auto-acquiring targets. Auto-acquiring targets seemed a little finicky in the display version, as sometimes Tom would aim for hands and feet rather than going for the head. Since aiming will end up being the key gameplay mechanic, hopefully Angel Studios will address the current system's issues and develop the sort of aiming system this game deserves. Read Dead Revolver already uses locational damage, so when Tom plugs someone right between the eyes, then you'd best believe whoever is on the receiving end is not likely to get up. It's worth noting, however, that the game departs from the true one hit, one kill Western style, in that most opponents--and certainly Tom--can withstand a number of direct hits before getting killed.

The game definitely looks slick and already plays decently, although the camera causes some issues in this version. In wide-open spaces, it's fine, but some fights take you into alleyways, where your vision can be easily obstructed.

Four different levels were on display, including one where Tom squares off against a number of outlaws holed up in a camp, and another taking place at night where apparently the ghosts of long-dead gunslingers have come to wreak havoc. In between levels, you can buy equipment such as ammo, shotguns, and additional revolvers--and you get money from bringing down enemy outlaws. Red Dead Revolver will also feature a multiplayer mode that supports up to four players.

Red Dead Revolver's distinctive style, good-looking action, and fast pace might make for a very cool game once it's finally complete. Stay tuned for much more information on it in the weeks to come.

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