Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Mad Dog McCree

First of all, I'm not even sure this technically counts as a video game.  I would probably liken it more to an 'interactive, knock-off-of-a-knock-off episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.'  Also, beware: Even though it is advertised as a '3DS Download,' there is no 3D.  Honest.  In fact, as soon as the game loads, the 3D light to the right of the top screen goes dark.

Warning: Not actually in 3D

So, what is this, then?

Mad Dog McCree is a port of an arcade 'game' that came out in 1990.  You know, 22 years ago.  Just saying, I was two years old when bad ol' Mad Dog saw the light of day.  The big thing about Mad Dog, back in his day, was that it was a major laserdisc release.  What that means, for those who aren't aware, is that the game is basically an interactive movie.  A laserdisc game uses pre-recorded video as the graphics engine.  The laserdisc format was the precursor to our (increasingly obsolete) compact disc.  The Mad Dog Series (yes, series--its sequels are called The Lost Gold and The Last Bounty Hunter) have been ported to various devices, such as the iOS and Wii.

Basically this...but in the Wild West.

Back in the day, supposedly, Mad Dog was top dog.  It was a well-received game that started an apparently decent trilogy.  But, sadly, it hasn't withstood the test of time--like red wine mixed with whiskey and tears and let to sit for two decades, it didn't age well.  Mad Dog McCree was essentially a first-person shooter, set in the American 'wild west.'  Back during the time of its initial release, FPS's were pretty bare-boned; you basically ran and shot things, with no regard to limited amounts of ammo, multiplayer, storylines, pretty graphics, snipers, heavy weapons, etc.  You just ran and shot.  And that worked for the time.  If Mad Dog had been updated in any way, shape or form, then I feel it would be a much better purchase.  But because it was merely ported, it falls short of the thralls and intricacies of modern day first-person shooting.

  Also, this guy.

The setting is pretty straightforward.  You play a nameless gunslinger, who just arrived in a town taken over by a gang of wanted fugitives.  The gang is lead by a truly fearsome outlaw--Mad Dog McCree.  Your character won't stand for this, I guess, and decides to rid the good people of their unwanted guests.  The town consists of several different 'stages': the Sheriff's Office, the Bank, etc.  Each stage is a different firefight with more and more of the Dog's goons.

Gameplay in Mad Dog is very, very simple.  You aim the crosshair (on the top screen) with the stylus (on the bottom).  Tapping whilst holding the L button will allow you to fire; simply tapping without the L button being depressed lets you reload.  Aaaand, that's it.  You point to a bad guy and fire, hopefully not hitting a citizen in the process.  Your character is a one-hit wonder, and has three lives cowboy hats.  Every time you take just one bullet the screen gets a 'shattered glass' effect, and you lose a cowboy hat. Lose all three, you're treated to a game over screen, but don't worry--you have unlimited continues.  Should you choose to carry on, the next thing you see is the town priest--come out of nowhere, to revive you.  After you're revitalized, you have to win a duel with a random thug--win, and you can jump right back to where you were, no penalty.  Lose, and it's the priest all over again.

Forgive me, Father...

And really...that's pretty much all there is to the 3DS's port of Mad Dog McCree.  I'd go in to detail about the graphics...but it's hard to review live-action.  The acting is pretty awful, though.  Decent for the early '90s, but not too hot by today's standards.  The music has an apt, appropriate wild west sound, and is actually kind of alright.

I'd reccommend this for anyone who remembers it from twenty years ago, and is in the mood for a nostalgic kick.  Or for you truly die-hard wild west fans. Anyone else, save your monies!

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