Title: Dead To Rights
Developer: Namco
Publisher: US: Namco Europe: EA
Date Published: XBox: August 21st, 2002 PS2: November 20, 2002 GameCube: November 27, 2002
Platforms: XBox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube
Format: Dead To Rights is released on DVD for XBox and PlayStation 2, and on the GameCube's proprietary mini-DVD. Each is one disc.
ESRB Rating: M

Jack Slate, the hero of Dead To Rights, is a cop from the K9 unit who is trying to track down his father's murderers with the help of his faithful dog, Shadow. Using hand-to-hand combat skills, as well as a fairly impressive arsenal of weapons, he fights his way through hordes of enemies, from villians in clown suits to mob bosses. The gameplay is straight action, with a classic "corrupt politician" backstory. The blood flows freely, and there is no shortage of graphic death scenes. This game deserves the M rating it recieved.

Let's be straight with this: Dead To Rights is a hardcore game. If you thought that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had too much sneaking around and shooting people with tranquilizers, this is the game for you. The element of stealth is completely nonexistant in Dead To Rights, and every weapon is lethal. The plotline is fairly linear, sticking to the standard formula we all remember from The Legend of Zelda. Once all the enemies are dead, you get a key, and can move on to the next area. Every few areas, you get a break from the general mayhem and bloodshed, and have to pick a lock, disarm a bomb, hold your breath underwater, and various other button-mashing minigames.

That being said, it does bring some new features to the action genre. Slate's ability to dive through the air while unloading his guns into roomfuls of enemy hitmen, convicts, and mob peons makes for some of the coolest looking scenes I've witnessed. Shadow, Slate's attack dog, is interesting, but like the rest of the game, gets old fast. As the game progresses, you learn several moves which disarm your enemy, but don't let the name fool you, these moves are as violent as the rest of the game. The game drops into slow-motion and the point of view pulls back, and after taking an enemy's weapon, you knock him down and shoot him with it.

The only part of the game that I had trouble with was the control system, and some of the problems I had may be unique to the XBox. The left thumbstick controls Slate's movement, and the right thumbstick controls the camera. Unfortunately, when you move the camera, your direction of movement changes. After the first couple levels, I gave up on any attempt to move laterally with the left thumbstick, and used the camera to steer myself. The other counterintuitive control was the directional pad. Instead of moving your character, the d-pad changes weapons. Several times I found myself uselessly switching weapons as I tried to evade enemies. If I had designed the control system, I would have changed the left thumbstick's turning function to strafing, which is noticably absent, and moved the weapon functions to the black and white buttons.

Evidently, the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions are quite a bit easier than the XBox version. I played through on the XBox, and had to retry key battles several times, but I have talked to people who played on the PS2, and said it was too easy. Overall, I liked the game, but I don't think I would buy it.

This write-up complies with the E2 FAQ: Video Games standards.

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