Does the world need another 3d shooter?
In this case, yes. Outlaws incorporates the gun slinging action of a western and the story of a good movie. The stylized art and realistic gameplay make Outlaws a blast to play and also gives you the feeling of being the lead in an interesting movie.
When your home is destroyed, your wife killed, and your daughter kidnapped, you have no option but to kick some ass. As Marshal James Anderson, you must find your daughter and avenge your wife's death throughout the Old West. But it's gonna be dangerous so you'd better pack a double-barreled shotgun and some dynamite. It'll take a lot of ammo to get Bob Graham and his gang, so let the shells fly.
If this doesn't interest you enough to jump right into the game, the cut scenes will. It couldn't look more like a cartoon - the art is awesome. Anyone who has played Full Throttle will recognize the style, but it couldn't be any more different. The cut scenes mix 3d models and 2d images seamlessly. This combination of work makes it look even better than its cartoon predecessors. Tie in some great voice-overs and you've got a Saturday morning cartoon, and this is exactly what these scenes are like.
The now infamous Dark Forces engine runs the graphics during the game. Originally programmed by Ray Gresko, the engine has been enhanced significantly for Outlaws. Although some will complain it doesn't look as good as Quake, the bright and fresh textures look way better than the drab dark colors that dominate id software's game. The characters are sprites and look a tad outdated, but the fact that they have personalities set them apart from the normal "Ugh I'm a monster. Now you die," type of enemy. Catcalls such as "I'm over here sheriff!" and "Where are you sheriff?" add personality to the enemies and give you a good reason to blast 'em.
The sound in Outlaws is marvelous. Besides all of the superb voice-overs already mentioned, the sounds for the environment are impressive. The hinges on doors creak, the stairs squeak, and the guns echo. River's rage, wind wails, and footsteps sound out as you play, creating a very realistic experience.
The gameplay is significantly different than most games on the market today. It still contains the point and shoot 1st person interface, but this time around you have to reload your guns. No, unlike Duke Nukem 3D, it doesn't reload them for you. You must individually load each bullet into the weapon, which adds quite a lot of strategy. You could have 100 bullets for your six-shooter, but you'd have to reload every time you fired off six rounds. In most games, big alien particle weapons do the most damage, but in Outlaws, you can kill a man simply by throwing a knife at him. The realistic use of weapons is a nice change from the normal fare. Another fine feature is quick-fire, or fanning, of your guns. It allows you to shoot a lot of bullets real quick, but you'll need to reload often.
The music is everything you could want and more. There are a total of 15 country old west CD tracks that fit perfectly with the game. From "The Ballad of Dr. Death" to "The Last Gunfight," Outlaws has all the music needs of your wildest dreams.
Few games are complete these days without multi-player support. Fortunately, Outlaws includes a great multi-player system. Besides including two CD's in the game (one for a friend so you can play) there is also the ability to play over Microsoft's Internet Gaming Zone (IGZ). Although I feared the worst for IGZ, I was pleasantly surprised with a system that was easy to set-up and quick to get going. You'll be playing deathmatch in no time. But, there's more! There are more modes of play than just Deathmatch, such as, "Kill the fool with the Chicken," a game like "kill the carrier." The person with the chicken glows red, and his time carrying the chicken goes up. When he dies, he drops the chicken. The person who had the chicken the longest at the end of the game wins. There are even more modes of play including Capture the Flag and Team Play. All of these additions to the game keep it from being just a simple shooter.
Outlaws is a great, adventurous, 1st person game set in a classic American Western. People looking for more than just a mindless shoot 'em up can come to Outlaws and be pleased. A good 1st person shooter indeed.