Outlaws

aka: Outlaws: Cidade Sem Lei, Outlaws: Die Gesetzlosen, Outlaws: Une histoire de feu et de sang
Moby ID: 931
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Description official descriptions

Marshall James Anderson had been a great gunfighter. He had worn the badge of the law and put men to death or to jail. But a Marshall can only travel alone so long. And so James Anderson retired; he got himself a wife, got himself some land, got himself a daughter and dedicated himself to the peaceful life of a home on the range.

The Gentleman, Bob Graham, has other plans for James Anderson's plot of land however. It sits right along some prime real estate for where the railroad is going to go, and whoever could own that land might be able to get rich setting up a town. So Bob hires himself up some of the roughest and toughest ruffians west of the Mississippi to try and "persuade" Anderson and the other land-owners to sell or abandon their lands.

James Anderson returns home from town one day to find his homestead aflame, his wife killed and his daughter abducted by Bob's henchmen. Not willing to trust in the fates, Anderson dusts off his six-shooter, digs up his buried shotgun and dons his old tin star. He's about to follow the trail of these men across deserts and valleys, until he finds his daughter.

Outlaws is a first-person shooter set in the American Old West, featuring hand-drawn graphics and a stylized soundtrack. Locations include outdoor as well as indoor areas, most with a characteristic Western flavor: a small town with one main street and a saloon, a canyon, a speeding train, and others. The Marshall uses firearms such as a revolver, single- and double-barrel shotgun, a rifle (with or without a sniper scope), and others. In dark areas James can light a lamp, for which he will have to find canisters of oil.

The game contains no supernatural elements: enemies encountered in it are exclusively human. The gameplay focuses on combat, though exploring the levels is necessary in order to locate various keys needed to unlock the next part, or discover secret areas. Manual reloading of the guns is required during combat.

A secondary game mode, called "Historical Missions", allows the player to relive Anderson's rise to the rank of U.S. Marshal. Each of the missions involves the protagonist capturing a killing a criminal, preferably recovering gold stolen by them. Ranks (Deputy, Sheriff, and Marshal) are awarded to the player upon a mission's completion.

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Credits (Windows version)

177 People (154 developers, 23 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 29 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 84 ratings with 10 reviews)

It had all the right stuff... but just couldn't put it together.

The Good
Actually there was alot to like about Outlaws. The western theme was unique for any FPS and the storyline was classic. A peaceful man driven to violent vengeance against the outlaws who took his daughter and killed his wife - sounds good to me.

In addition, the weapons were unique for the time this was released, classic Colt .36 Peacemaker Revolver, legendary Winchester .30-30 Repeating Lever-Action Rifle, simplistic Double sawed off 12-guage shotgun, and of course, throwing knives and dynamite, all very interesting and fun.

And while the soundtrack was certainly much inspired by already-made western film scores, I enjoyed it immensely.

The Bad
But sadly... the actual game didn't work, the graphics engine was very sub-par for the time and though this game was later patched to include 3dfx support, it still looked horrible, but it played pretty smoothly on the Pentium 150 I had at the time.

Probably the worst thing about this game was it's level design, the maps were really quite pointless, mission objectives were strewn about in foolish and illogical fashion and all it seemed to be was "Go over to one side of the map, find key, go back to other side, open door, find next key, repeat." Not very exciting if you ask me.

A strong competitor with the poor map design was the absolutely laughable AI. When your supposedly mean and gritty enemies turn their backs to you in order to walk 2 paces left then slowly turn to shoot at you and miss, you can't help but break out in laughter.

The Bottom Line
Great concepts, poor execution. The AI and Map Design stink, the graphics engine is lame. However the story, weapons, and music are good. I still have the first cd but I threw away the 2nd to make better use of a double CD case.

Windows · by Andrew Romig (10) · 2000

Lazy Lucasarts

The Good
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...

The Bad
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.

Windows · by okos ember (14) · 2007

Refreshingly different western shooter, highly recommended.

The Good
In brief, what I liked most about Outlaws was the atmosphere and tension which was created largely by the unique (for the time) nods to reality it made, while remaining within the action-shooter genre (which was rapidly becoming stale.)

Although you could play on easier settings, the hardest difficulty level was and is the only way to play Outlaws. On this level your opponents hit the dirt in one or two shots, and although stronger than they are, you yourself are highly vulnerable. When combined with the realistic (if extremely rapid) manual reloading of your weapons, the combat experience became tactical and tense in a way that none of its peers could ever hope to match.

Imagine yourself, a gunman standing at the corner of a building, your back to the wall. You duck around the corner and back again. Three men. A shout of alarm -- one of them saw you. You grit your teeth, and step out with your double-barreled shot-gun levelled. The left barrel explodes, and the first man crumples. Instantly you spin and let loose the second barrel, but your aim is off; your target jerks but doesn't fall. A shot whistles through the air where you were standing, but you are already back behind the wall. Grimacing, you eject the empty shells and push the fresh cartridges home. The barrels snap closed, and you press yourself flat against the wall again, breathing heavily. Your eyes flick quickly from one side to the other, looking for signs of movement from the other direction, in case others have been drawn by the gunfire. One down, one injured, one unhurt. You try to imagine whether they've moved position, and prepare to step out from your cover once more...

Let yourself sink into the atmosphere of the game, and this is what playing Outlaws is like.

Throw sniping with your rifle and scope, tossing sticks of dynamite into an ambush, panic-stricken 'fanning' of your six-shooter as you stumble into sight of an opponent, fantasic music, and some wonderfully realised scenarios and scenery into the mix, and you have an idea of why people loved this game (and in many cases still do).

The Bad
Outlaws isn't perfect by any means. The graphics engine was aging at the time of its release, but this isn't all that big an issue. My major annoyances with the game are:

a) The general stupidity of your opponents. While the sheer number of people you eliminate in the game may necessitate that they not be the fastest and most accurate guns in the west, you do tend to get the impression that these people have been inbred to the point where you're surprised they don't shoot themselves instead of you. (Although they do occasionally shoot each other; generally a happy occurance for the player :)

b) While often very aesthetically appealing, the level design is often less than ideal from a gameplay perspective, and frequently completely irrational from a practical perspective (not that this is a new thing for FPSs)

c) The introduction is nicely done, and certainly puts you in a vengeful frame of mind, but the 'story' is, in reality, next to non-existant. "May be the first shooter with a plot!" (paraphrased) read one of the box quotations. Well, maybe this was true in a purely literal sense -- there was a game, and it was accompanied by a plot -- but there was pretty much zero integration of the two beyond the basic theme. You fought a bunch of guys in the setting introduced by the previous cut-scene, and then moved on to the next cut-scene. (Having been spoiled by System Shock, which features one of the finest integrations of plot and gameplay ever seen in a first-person game, I suspect this deficiency annoyed me more than it did many people.)



The Bottom Line
Outlaws is a highly atmospheric, tense, and unique action-shooter.

Windows · by Shadowcat (121) · 2001

[ View all 10 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
No music. The Fabulous King (1332) Jul 19, 2007

Trivia

Patches

The update to version 2.0 adds four new additional levels ("Civil War", "Ice Caves", "Villa" and "Wharf Town") with completely new terrain never before seen in Outlaws such as ice and vast snow terrains, huge rivers or sunken cities. It also adds music to the levels on the second CD. A Direct3D patch lets the game use slightly higher resolution and improved textures.

References

  • "1138" sighting: Engine number of the train in the intro. (1138 is a reference to George Lucas' first feature film: THX-1138)
  • Bob Graham's Big Rock Ranch is a tribute to George Lucas' Big Rock Ranch in Marin County, CA.
  • The character 'Bloodeye' Tim was named as an homage to Tim Schafer who Shaw worked with on Full Throttle.
  • Max, the wicked bunny from Sam & Max Hit the Road makes an appearance in western style in Outlaws.

Soundtrack

Outlaws' musical score was included on the game CDs on Red Book Audio tracks so one can listen to the music with an ordinary CD player. As of 2000, a separate stand-alone soundtrack album is available at LucasArts Company Store as a bonus for the buyers of Outlaws.

Story Spoiler

"Dr. Death" Jackson is killed when Marshal Anderson drops him down a mine shaft. However, a crash landing can be heard behind the music as Anderson turns away, and Dr. Death distinctly shouts "Dammit!". It's not known if the villain was meant to survive his fall to appear in a possible sequel or if this was just a humorous secret included by the game developers.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1998 (Issue #164) – Musical Achievement of the Year

Information also contributed by Chris Mikesell, JayBee, Kasey Chang, MAT, mwnoname and Sciere

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Andrew Hartnett, Swordmaster, Shoddyan, Atomic Punch!, chirinea, Jason Musgrave, Sciere, Alaka, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, RetroArchives.fr.

Game added February 29, 2000. Last modified March 31, 2024.