Western Outlaw: Wanted Dead or Alive (Windows)

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Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4620)
Written on  :  Mar 18, 2005
Rating  :  2.43 Stars2.43 Stars2.43 Stars2.43 Stars2.43 Stars
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Outlaw wannabe that has a few interesting moments

The Good

-- Lots of weapons, from shotgun to dual pistols to "sniper" rifle and so on -- Some memorable sequences like mine car, horse chase, sniper, etc. -- Levels are pretty big and has decent variety, from indoor to outdoor -- Rare game in the genre, with some authentic moves like "fanning"

The Bad

-- You're lead through the only path like a marionette -- There are no "tricks" to dealing with bosses (except 1) except firepower -- The story could be fresher (your standard "stranger rides into town" yarn) -- Some game killing design decisions, such as disappearing ammo -- No multiplayer support at all

The Bottom Line

Western Outlaw: Wanted Dead of Alive actually is a horrible title, as it doesn't really describe the game's plot at all, but it served its purpose well enough: it did remind you that this is a WESTERN shooter, one of the very few on the market. Unfortunately, it still doesn't quite measure up to the old classic: LucasGames' Outlaws.

Western Outlaw starts with a good intro... A train robbery. Bandits board the train and started demanding jewelry and valuables from everybody. Then you decided you won't stand for it. Since no one knows your name, you became known as "The Stranger"... And you fight your way up the train, eventually confronting the bandit boss.

You will eventually get a nice variety of weapons, from your regular six-shooter (usable in aimmed mode or "fanning" rapid-fire mode), dual six-shooter, double-barrell shotgun, rifle, "sniper" rifle, and even a few sticks of dynamite. However, your regular six-shooter is the most versatile and will be the most often used.

The levels are decent enough. This game is based on the older Lithtech engine so they won't wow you with visual quality, but they get the job done. The enemy models are detailed enough. The buildings and such are rich enough for the purposes. After all, this is a shooter, not a virtual walkthru.

There are a couple different sequences that has some serious action besides walking through a level and shoot enemies. At one time you have to grab a rifle and shoot enemies approaching someone you need to protect. At another time you are stuck in a mine cart and you need to shoot enemies in mine carts getting before and behind you. Then in the final sequence, you are on horseback chasing a stagecoach, and that one is EXTREMELY hard since you can't dodge shots.

At the end of each level there is a boss. Each boss has a different attack. It's also nice to see a boss-meter that tells you if you're doing any damage and how close are you to defeating the boss. Each has a unique weapon, and with one exception, you get to claim that weapon for your own use, and there lies the game killing decision...

One of the most frustrating aspect of the game is "disappearing ammo". If you don't run over the dropped ammo from fallen enemy, the ammo will, after a period, disappear like the bodies. This includes the new weapons that they drop as well. Unfortunately, one of the weapons on a certain level is A CRITICAL TRIGGER that you must grab in order to continue in the game!

The levels in the game relies upon a lot of trigger points. NOTHING will happen until you reach that trigger point, and since they have designed the level so there is only ONE way through (a fact that is not always that obvious) you'll just have to see what may come your way.

At least the cursor tells you if the door you're approaching will open or not, so you don't have to randomly try each and every door, unlike some other games.

The sounds aren't that special. The voice acting is decent, though the voice for the character you play sounds like a Clint Eastwood wannabe.

There is no multiplayer support at all.

All in all, Western Outlaw is a decent budget shooter. It doesn't have the production values of the big-name titles, but it is entertaining enough, despite the few game design decisions.