I remember, when i've first encountered some screenshots from this game. I almost started to drool :)
A cartoon western adventure from Lucasarts!
Well, it just has to be the best game ever!
Do you remember DOTT, Sam and Max, or Full Throttle?
Those were the best games of their age, so I had quite high expectations from this one, since it's been two years since Full Throttle.
One day, I finally grabbed my copy of this game, installed, then launched it. As the intro started with construction workers putting down rails, and the dust arose in that great american desert, I was already sucked inside the game...
After that, the first characters appeared.
The mean ones. I recall, that I liked the raw lines, and simple, rustic shapes. It seemed, it would be an expressive interactive cartoon, that suits the western theme so well.
Then, they started to move.
I really don't want to sound like an asshole, but in the animation looks a little cheap. Broken Sword came out a year before this one, and its ingame animation was about the same quality, or better. I had classmates at animation school, who had done better than this in second grade. 3D objects sometimes fall off from the scenery, and most of them should've been done in in 2d as the characters.
That was the first time I felt that the game was rushed.
The plot is okay to me. After the intro stopped, and I started to play, I had to realize, that it's nothing more than a western fps.
It has no real adventure elements to speak of. It should've had some, but as I said, this game seems rushed.
The game itself is butt ugly. It has come out in the same year as Redneck Rampage, which was at least colorful and quite proportional. This game is almost monochrome ( all things still or alive is brown ), and has the proportions of an alien base: Not scaled for humans. As I watched the little enemy sprites running around in those strange, cubic, lopsided areas, I almost ordered a book about harmonic division for the level designers.
But I shouldn't have expect more from the engine. It is the very same engine, that brought us Dark Forces, in 1995! So that is, what happened: instead of buying the rights of a better, and more up to date engine ( or designing a totally new one ), they dug up this old engine from the bottom of their drawers, to cut down the budget. Rushed, and lazy game.
Gameplay is very similar to Dark Forces. And it has all its flaws too.
I had to run around in medium sized, and mostly opened areas ( and some closed too. If you can remember Dark forces had those dark areas, where one couldn't see a thing. Well, you can enjoy them again ), collecting a lot of keys, solving a lot of puzzles about pushing buttons, and run some more after that, to find the doors to those keys. There are some items, that you can use on the environment, which is fun, but that's a very rare opportunity ( for example: there is a place where you have to dig with a shovel, but only once through the whole game ). And there are the weapons.
Revolver, Winchester, Shotguns, a Sawed-off, Knives, Dynamite, and a Gattling gun. The only difference between them is their firing, and reloading time. If I shoot someone with a pistol, or a gun, he dies from one shot at most times. If not, I still have plenty of time to reload and shoot again.
The game length would be proper, if it would be an adventure game, but since it's a shooter, It is way too short. I must admit though, that if it would be longer, the game would be much more boring.
If I want more, I can play the historical missions, but to be honest, that idea never came to my mind.
The Bottom Line
This game should've been great. Those people at Lucasarts headquarters should've put more money and time into its development.
I still loved the atmosphere, which is so powerful, it saves the game from being ignored.