Review: Mad Dog McCree
Digital Leisure is back with another Laserdisc Games Classic title on the PSN. This time around, they’ve brought Mad Dog McCree to the lifelong fans of mediocre arcade lightgun games. Mad Dog is a PlayStation Move game that takes place in an Old West town wherein the sheriff’s daughter has been kidnapped. Not surprisingly, you’re the only one who can free her from the dastardly Mad Dog. The game is a bit different from Fast Draw Showdown, which released a few years back, but I don’t think any of the changes make the game better, necessarily. Some of the new features include 4-player local coop, choosing your own path, and shooting inanimate objects.
Mad Dog McCree is a live-action laserdisc lightgun game. In a nutshell this means that the game follows a simple formula:
1) Show a terribly acted scene.
2) Stop all animations on the screen.
3) Bad guys pop-out in pre-determined spots.
4) The game stutters mid pop-out, giving you a few seconds to shoot the bad guy.
5) Show a terribly acted scene.
A few things bear noting about this formula. For one thing, the awful acting should not be regarded as a knock against the game. I don’t know for sure if American Laser Games (the original developers) meant for their games to be serious, but I can say with surety that they are hilarious. Most of the cut scenes include ridiculous characters who spout flat lines of dialogue. “We’re going to get you, Mad Dog!”, “That’s Mad Dog’s men over there!”, “Mad Dog’s Got my daughter inside!”, “It’s better to be lucky than dead!”, etc. Each time you die, a mortician breaks you off with a little wisdom that gets very old after the first two times you hear him. Though the pop-out spots are predetermined, the order in which enemies pop-out is not. There’s little to no pattern recognition, which leads to a slightly different experience each time you play the game. These pseudo-positives makes the game more fun to get through and cover up some of its shortcomings.
If you’ve got 4 Move controllers, call up your local Mad Dog McCree fan club and invite all three of the members over for a night full of simulated shooting. The local coop mode in Mad Dog simply allows four players to play the regular game simultaneously. Like any sane PlayStation 3 owner, I only have 2 Move controllers, so I tossed one to my girlfriend and invited her on a journey through classic arcade gaming history. Having another shooter was beneficial at some points of the game. The two of us split the screen in half and had an easier time getting through some of the tougher points. Also, playing the game with other people is fun if they’ve got a sense of humor.
Mad Dog McCree is set up in an interesting way. It’s not quite a choose-your-own-adventure game, but it sort of allows you to explore the game’s different scenarios. After an initial run-in with bandits who are trying to kill a prospector, you’re given a selection of where you want to go. The four areas are The Saloon, The Bank, The Corral, and The Sheriff’s Office. There is a correct path to completing the different settings, but it’s made more difficult if you let a few innocent people die. When you save the prospector at the beginning of the game, for instance, he tells you that the sheriff is locked up and the keys to his cell are with some dude in the saloon. If you choose the Sheriff’s Office before the Saloon, then, you’ll get to the cell where he’s locked up, then turn around and get shot down by a firing squad. This progression technique shows up throughout the game. On one hand it’s pretty cool that you have to save people and listen to their advice, but on the other hand it’s a bit frustrating when you attempt to beat a scene over and over with no clear reason as to why you’re getting auto-killed every time. Another cool part of the game is when you have to shoot inanimate objects to progress. There’s one point where you have to shoot two items to get into a Mine to find a map. The two items change each time you play the game and range from a pitchfork to a tin sign.
I beat Mad Dog McCree four times: twice in 2-player mode, and twice in single player. There are four different difficulties, each one shortening your reaction period a bit more than the last. I don’t think I’ll revisit the game unless a friend sees it on my PSN list and brings it up. It’s a decent amount of fun for how long it lasts, but it doesn’t last very long at all. Once you figure out the early-game pattern, only a few portions near the end of the game change. The whole game lasts about a half hour, even if you die a few times throughout. If you’re clamoring for that live-action lightgun feeling, it’s probably worth your $7.99. Otherwise, I’d pass. Protip: play the game with a different language audio track for full hilarious effect.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Playing with friends is fun
- Different audio tracks
- "Branching paths"
What I Dislike:
- Loses its charm after the first playthrough