|Xbox, GC, PS2
| Blood, Violence, Mature Sexual Themes
| The Good
Lots of gunplay
Mini-games to give a change of pace
| The Bad
Melee combat is shallow and tedious
Graphics are not polished
In-game camera can be a hassle
Much like Max Payne before
it, Dead To Rights is a gritty detective noir story
packaged in a action-filled shooter. You play as Jack Slate,
a K-9 police detective in Grant City, who finds his father
murdered. From this point, he shoots his way through the city's
crime syndicate in hopes of finding who killed his father
At the core of the game is a standard action shooter, where
you take Jack from place to place, on a linear path, killing
your way through wave upon wave of enemies. You target enemies
by pulling and holding the right trigger and fire your guns
with the A button. Tap the right trigger to change your selection.
The left trigger is used to crouch and if you hold it while
moving, you'll go into a low run which is useful when behind
cover. One of the nicer, and ultimately important, features
is the disarm move, which allows Jack to take a weapon from
an enemy while either killing them or taking them as a bullet
shield from the other enemies. You can also jump with the
Y button, and if you hit the button right, you'll go into
a slo-mo jump, much like Max Payne's Bullet Time, where
you can target and dispatch multiple enemies. Unfortunately,
though, Jack's ability to jump is limited to diving jumps
and he seems unable to even make a rolling tuck and dive out
of the line of fire. Also, in the slo-mo dives, he's relatively
unable to turn, which makes diving around corners useless
and potentially fatal. But, when against a corner, it's actually
in your best interest to stay close to the wall and make jump-out
shots, a lot like you can do in Metal
Gear Solid 2.
There will be a lot of times when you run out of ammo. In
fact, there will be multiple times in most stages where you'll
run out of ammo and have to use a disarm move just to get
a weapon. Luckily, in some of the areas, you have Jack's trusty
dog, Shadow, to help out. Select an enemy and you can send
Shadow to take the crook out and get his weapon. But, to keep
you from abusing the move, Shadow has a gauge that has to
refill every time you use the move.
Outside of the standard run and gun aspects, the game does
manage to throw in some mini-games, like the stripper sequence.
Much like a perverted rhythm game, the player will need to
hit certain buttons as they pass through the window beneath
the stripper. Miss too many and you fail the stage. Fortunately,
for every mini-game that seems rather boring, there are two
that are well realized, like the bomb disarming episode. Besides
the mini-games, there are segments where the player will be
left with only hand-to-hand combat, which is a fair change
of pace, but unfortunately, the combat system is shallow.
For a company that puts out a fine fighting series as Tekken,
one would hope for a deeper fighting interface. And since
the melee combat comprises of a sizable part of the game (roughly
under 1/4th), this can lead to some tedium in certain areas,
especially the lengthy prison level.
Visually, Dead To Rights shows some potential, but
ultimately comes up short. The game sports large areas, a
good amount of environmental detail (furniture, vehicles and
other stuff to hide behind), and some nice lighting effects.
Often, you'll have a number of enemies on screen and after
a gun battle, you can see the effects with bulletholes in
the walls and blood splattered everywhere. But, the game also
lacks a level of detail that makes games like Halo,
Buffy and Enclave
stand out visually. For the most part, the game lacks polish.
There are a few rough edges, like polygon clipping, that make
the game seem more like a port of a PS2 game than something
made specifically for the Xbox. Also, the character models
look underdetailed and are animated fairly unrealistically.
The music works as a fine backdrop that never really stands
out on it's own. Fortunately, it's good enough not to be an
annoyance. Sound effects are varied and work to the action-packed
strength of the game. Voice acting is okay; some of the lines
are delivered rather cheesily, but for the most part, the
vocal parts don't detract from the game.
Outside of issues previously noted, one of the things that
I found to be a hamper was the in-game camera. For the most
part, it's okay, but there are a few times where you can't
move it, which may leave you without an optimum view of the
area. Also, there are times after cutscenes where the camera
will have magically swung around to in front of Jack Slate.
If you were expecting to make a run for cover with the camera
behind you when the scene was over, having the camera placement
turn up different may lead to taking a few cheap shots.
Dead To Rights is one of those games that rewards
excellent use of the game's techniques. If you run blindly
into most levels, you'll end up dead. In fact, even with firm
use of the techniques, you may still die often. Without a
doubt, this game is hard, so much so that casual gamers may
be turned off by it. I wish that Namco had thrown in some
more evasive moves, as you'll come under fire a lot. And,
since you'll spend some time without a gun, being able to
dodge a little better would have been nice. Too often, you'll
have to cover some distance to just disarm someone, which
means you'll most likely get shot a couple times before reaching
Should you get Dead To Rights? Only if you want a
hard action-based game. Even though the graphics are weak,
the gunplay is nice and the various mini-games help break
up most levels. Because there are a list of things I wish
Namco would have changed or added, I would recommend renting
this game first. It can lead to some serious frustration if
you don't have a degree of patience.