Dead to Rights

Jack Slate suffers from an identity crisis. On the one hand, he thinks he’s Chow Yun-Fat in The Replacement Killers. On the other, he thinks he’s our friend Max Payne. But what Mr. Slate can’t escape is his true identity: just another console-port action hero.

13_1The story in Dead to Rights has been told a thousand times. A good cop is betrayed by the system he believes in and framed for murder, and now he wants revenge. But the plot’s execution is so action-packed that you won’t notice the clichés lurking around every corner. Jack borrows a page from the Payne school of combat and literally dives into every battle, guns blazing, in slow motion. Auto-aim dumbs down the fighting a bit, but it comes in handy when you’re facing 20 opponents. Even so, it won’t help much when you’re overwhelmed by a hail of bullets.

Every weapon held by an enemy can be knocked or ripped out of his hands and added to your arsenal, which includes pistols, shotguns, rifles, and flamethrowers. A quick disarm move is often necessary when you run out of ammo or start a level without a gun. But even when weaponless, you can lay the smack down with fisticuffs, or pick up and throw explosives. I especially liked the ability to grab opponents to use as human shields.

The main narrative track branches off into a series of mini-games, which come in the form of lock-picking tests, strip-club dancing, and even gym challenges. At several points in the game, you can take control of Jack’s canine companion, Shadow, who excels at sniffing out explosives and biting bad guys in the most painful places. In all, Dead to Rights is a solid action game, but it’s no Max Payne.

System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, WinXP

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