I'm a big fan of Clint Eastwood westerns -- The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven, and the Sergio Leone spaghetti films from early on in his career. Rockstar attempts to capture the flavor in Red Dead Revolver, a unique console game that attempts to put you straight into the lawless badlands. Does it succeed? Mostly it does?.
As the game opens, you'll find yourself inhabiting the persona of Red, a young man who sees his family tragically killed by bandits (this prologue actually serves as the game's tutorial, and teaches you the basic shooting and movement mechanics). As the adventure progresses, you'll find yourself up against all manner of corrupt officials, outlaws, and other assorted low-down varmints (unfortunately for you, the reader, I have a certain quota of stupid, old-west catch phrases to meet in this article, so please bear with me). There are numerous old-school style boss fights to engage in, and you'll even get to play as other characters throughout the game's 20 or so missions on your quest for the proverbial "frontier justice" (see -- more stupid catch phrases).
RDR plays in a standard third person view, with movement and view mapped to the thumbsticks, and targeting and firing utilizing the triggers. Red has a pretty solid repertoire of moves, and he can duck behind cover, then pop out and shoot. He can also ride horses, jump, and wield all manner of 1800's weaponry with aplomb. These include various pistols (including dual revolvers) rifles, and shotguns, as well as incendiary arms such as Molotov cocktails (in a whiskey bottle of course) and dynamite. Red can also engage a bullet-time style mode called Dead Eye, in which his opponents slow to a crawl, and are vulnerable to multiple targeting over various points of the body instantly. In keeping with the conventions of the cowboy days, you'll encounter duels at various points in the game. These give you an interesting set of play mechanics that mimic the high noon style showdowns prevalent in that era. Overall it creates a pretty cool effect, and helps break up the levels nicely.
Red Dead Revolver features a huge amount of unlockable content, including weapon upgrades, bounty hunter missions, and journal pages. In this respect, it should appeal to gamers who like the idea of seeing every bit of what the title has to offer, and ups the replay value a bit. There are also several multiplayer modes available, but these are strictly offline, as there's no Xbox Live support. Still, even without online play, the game offers a solid amount of fun.
Graphically, RDR looks pretty good. The character models are well put together, the environments capture the old west feel very well, and the particle effects and lighting, while fairly utilitarian, are pulled off nicely nonetheless. The entire game has a grainy, "parchment" sort of look to it that gives off excellent atmosphere considering the subject matter, and the music and dialogue add tons of cool, oat-opera vibe to the proceedings. Overall, a fitting tribute to the genre.