Dead to Rights (PS2)

Dead to Rights (PS2)

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 12/26/2002 for PS2  

Meet Jack Slate, he’s the exact same Jack Slate that you met a few months ago on the Xbox. He’s on a new platform in this mildly stripped down port that surprisingly, manages to be even more visually sub-par. Mix in some prominent influences from Hong Kong action movies, Max Payne, Streets of Rage, Britney’s Dance Beat and Mario Party and you’ve got Dead to Rights, a game that tries too hard to be everything but in the end, really isn’t much.

If you want an idea of what the game is truly about, I suggest you read John’s excellent review of the Xbox version of the game. We’ve already detailed what the game is about, no need to talk about that here. Instead I’ll try to focus on the differences between the two versions but to be honest, there really aren’t very many.

Not that I can fault the guys at Namco for this, it is a port of the Xbox title after all. For what it is, Dead to Rights is an action title that is full of potential but eventually, it collapses under its own weight as it tries too hard to be something different. It’s a very frustrating game to review because I knew that the developers had good intentions but it just doesn’t work.

This game is basically divided up into three very different games. You have the awesome Max Payne style shooting sequences, some mildly interesting (albeit forced) 3D beat-em-up style sequences, and a boatload of minigames that do nothing more than detract from the core gameplay.

The shooting sequences are some of the best that the genre has to offer, period. They’re definitely a blast to partake in, highlighting some of the more over the top aspects of our favorite action movies. You’ll be able to disarm your enemies will cool moves, grab enemies and utilize them as your human shield and perform dives that mimic Max Payne’s bullet-time feature. This is definitely the highlight of game as you’ll be doing all the cool things that you’ve always wished that you can do. It’s hampered by a pretty inept targeting system that has a few too many hitches for my liking but it’s still pretty fun.

Then there are these fighting sequences where gangs of enemies will attack you black ninja style. They’re pretty entertaining at first, until you realize that they’re entirely un-necessary. It seems like the designers went out of their way to force you to participate in these fights, especially when they could have been easily avoided. They’re not fun, they’re very repetitious, uninspired and far too numerous for my tastes.
The mini-games really are this game’s Achilles heel, you’ll do crazy things like weight lift, arm wrestle and even control a stripper at a club. What’s going on here, one moment I’m kicking the living shit out of my opponents, blowing guys away left and right and then the next moment I’m playing a very poor rendition of Britney’s Dance Beat. Really now, what’s with the arm wrestling? I’m here to harvest a bunch of guns and kick a whole lot of ass, not live out my dreams of becoming the world’s greatest prison arm wrestler.

Surprisingly the audio is quite lacking as well, every once in awhile Jack will chime in with his thoughts about a situation. For some strange reason the volume of these comments are much louder than the surrounding noises, really throwing the game’s audio portions off. What’s worse is that the speech seems to have been recorded at a much lower quality as well, resulting is some garbled and low-quality samples. Let’s not get into the game’s dialogue, lines like “He walked in like he owned the place, probably because he does,” are better left untouched.

If you’ve played the Xbox version you’ll remember just how underwhelming the game’s visuals were. Sadly they remain virtually unchanged and to be honest, it seems that some of the aspects have taken a turn for the worst. This game also has the dubious honor of featuring the most manly and un-attractive stripper to ever appear in a video game. With the exception of Jack, the rest of the models are exceptionally craptacular. Some of the special effects are nice but it doesn’t really matter when you’ve got locales as bland as these.

Let’s give Namco a ton of credit here, they’ve added a few new features that help make this game a bit more playable. The Auto-Aim works a little better, doing an adequate job of picking out your enemies than before. You can now select the game’s difficulty from easy, normal and super cop as opposed to just playing the super difficult mode that appeared in the Xbox version. I was also happy to see that the prominence of some of the mini-games has been significantly reduced, sometimes you’ll even be able to avoid them entirely.



Grant City a little too tough for you? Then we suggest you check out Prima Games' excellent strategy guide to help you through the action
A game filled to the brim with potential never quite manages to deliver. The action is some of the best that you’ll find anywhere, but the game is hampered by some significantly flawed design choices.

Rating: 7.3 Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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