Mad Dog McCree
3DS Download | Digital Leisure / Engine Software | 1 Player | Out Now | $7.99 / £4.49
More Related Articles: See bottom of page
14th June 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
For those that don't know, this is a game that has you taking on the role of a gunslinger; a gunslinger who knows his way around town enough to run a host of bandits out of it. Mad Dog McCree falls under the classification of a live-action, light gun game where corny dialogue and overdramatic animations are the norm. To play, you use the stylus to control a cursor that appears on the top screen and press L/R to fire or reload when you run out of ammo. Sharpshooter bonuses are awarded for consecutive hits landed, but this combo is then lost every time you reload. You can shoot skull rocks for even more bullets than the usual allotment, but if you mistakenly reload right after, you'll lose the bonus rounds and be once again stuck with the default supply. With that said, there are no further elements to keep in mind while playing, so let's instead follow up with a logical question: What makes this style of play so alluring to some?
Well, at least as far as McCree is concerned, it's probably the fact that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Not quite as fulfilling as saving your girlfriend from a crime syndicate or unreservedly facing the collapse of a world, but for better or worse, this is a title that places emphasis on the hero theme so commonly used in videogames. Before you get caught up in the townsfolk's chatter about you being a miracle in disguise, you should know that this town, like many fictional towns, has its own share of secrets. No, there aren't vicious animals running around at night; and no, there isn't a hidden military operation taking place beneath the surface. But see if you can piece it together as you read along -- it'll save you the trouble of having to endure it on a blind run.
To get the game underway, you can start yourself off on Practice to fire a few rounds at a couple of empty beer bottles that appear atop fence posts. The appearance of these bottles makes it seem as though they were photoshopped in, despite the fact that there is an accompanying animation to them. Upon clearing this training exercise, you will advance to the actual "game" -- or movie, if you'd prefer to refer to it as that. Available in three difficulty settings, the only key thing to note is that other than the degree of leeway given in the timing windows, Hard Mode will actually switch things up so that you have slightly randomized enemies sneaking up on you. Either way, players will need to focus on their surroundings and be alert to bandits, as well as innocent townsfolk who just need to be left alone (as bad as that may sound). As an example of the importance of this, there was one area where one of Mad Dog's henchmen had taken a shot at me so discreetly, I didn't even see where the shot came from. As it turns out, the shot came from an open window where the shadowy figure was lurking and waiting to catch my off guard. Evidently he succeeded, and that's not something I can blame the wind on.
After interacting with (or viewing) the first scene, you'll be able to select from four different areas that must be cleared in order to progress to the next part of the game. Each of these areas sees its own range of disjointed animations that have you jumping from one part of a location to another with not a whole lot of transitioning taking place. Adding to this are a host of other attributes that presumably give these scenes atmosphere, as well as the different figures and fights appearing therein. But I'm going to come at this in the most subtle way possible: it's all done in a lousy fashion. So if anything, all of these nuances end up making the game feel flat. These include unnecessary, slow-mo takes of successful hits, as well as the recurring feeling of "What just happened?" They're a lot of things, but they certainly aren't funny.
As an example of the kind of idiocy that is seen in the game, there is one scene where the prospector is seen tied up with dynamite with Mad Dog right beside him. The camera projects the viewpoint that you are standing in close proximity as the crook lights a spark to the connected wires before running off. Upon shooting the flame with your gun, the prospector will exclaim, "Thanks, that was close!" as if you weren't standing there the whole time. It might've been even sillier if you were hiding in the bushes when this all took place and then had to run over, but at least that would've made more sense given that this was taking place in an open field.
One other thing I thought was pointless had to do with the one-on-one showdowns that would surface directly after choosing to continue from a Game Over. It was as if you had to reclaim your merit badge or something. These do occur during scenes on other difficulty settings as well, but this is the primary role they serve. In addition to them not really serving a purpose, to be successful at these short sequences, you need to press L or R to reload your gun as your opponent reaches for his holster, and then press the button again to fire while the stylus is held down on the Touch Screen. This could perhaps be seen as a sign that this game wasn't meant for this platform, but I honestly didn't read too much into it as I was too focused on how drab everything was.
Going along with the game's form and the real-life characters that appear in the game, voice acting is used with rarely ever any presence of music to guide you through the experience. I've already given my piece on the feelings this game exerts onto players, but just to make it abundantly clear: the voice acting is decent at best, and laughable at worst. And while we're on the subject of presentation, the video compression isn't terrible; only the material can be seen as such. Stepping away from the movies for a second, the other visual work doesn't look so good. This includes but is not limited to the Main Menu, which sees a far-from-realistic tumbleweed move horizontally across a desert plain in the background. From a technical standpoint, the game doesn't do a whole lot wrong -- at most, I had the game freeze on me once -- but as has been discussed, the same can't be said of the rest of the game.
Before even beginning to factor in the price, Mad Dog McCree already shows itself to be a game with extremely limited appeal. Mad Dog McCree can be beaten in no time at all, and trust me when I say that the allure of going back to play for a better score is non-existent. But before all that, once the element of pricing blares an unavoidable message, your already-weak reasoning for possibly wanting to pick this up will be severed almost completely. I can't even begin to understand how the developers (and furthermore, the team at Nintendo responsible for approving price listings) figured this was an accurate pricing strategy. Without even including tax with the deal, $7.99 is way too much to pay for this game. It wouldn't be a bad idea to replace Mad Dog's face on the wanted posters in the game and change the text so that it reads "Someone Who Will Buy This Game", because truthfully, aside from the small club of people who still enjoy and play these live-action games, the vast majority will be turned off sooner than the time it took Mad Dog to overthrow the Sheriff.
I get that it was once the rage and it helped usher in a genre of gaming that, to this day, may have moved on from the underlying style but has not disregarded its roots entirely. I also get that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and therefore the description of this being a light gun game bears a reference in another sense of the word. But Mad Dog McCree had its day, and as far as I'm concerned, this entire game can join the Sheriff in a cell and stay locked up. There's hardly anything fun about it, and with respect to this version, it is in no conceivable way worth the price tag. Take a chance on this, and you're bound to be disappointed by both those things.
13/30 - Very Poor
Gameplay 5/10 - A live-action movie where much of it is executed in a lousy or otherwise overdramatic fashion, disjointed at times, pointless showdowns
Presentation 6/10 - Tries too hard with voice acting that's decent at best, other cases of visual work aren't very good, no real music, minor technical issues
Enjoyment 1/5 - An idiotic experience that is neither fun nor funny, extremely limited appeal, doesn't take itself too seriously but still hard to ignore flaws
Extra Content 1/5 - Hard Mode uses slightly randomized enemies, barely any reason to play it in the first place, definitely not worth the asking price
Equivalent to a score of 43% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System