Releasing an uber violent game such as Dead to Rights on the GBA is serious mistake. The majority of users are kids which means that the game will have to be edited for content. It's that violence that separates Dead to Rights from Max Payne. With so much removed from it the game should be simply called, "Dead."

Jack Slate is a tough-as-nails cop that has been framed. He's out to prove his innocence which takes him to the seedy part of town. It's rife with pimps, drug pushers and other criminals that he can take his frustrations out on. The story is decent and is presented through stills and text. Often there are violent images with blood but you won't see any of that in the actual gameplay. When you kill an enemy, he will just fall and eventually disappear.

Presented in an isometric perspective, the camera affords you a decent overview but you never really feel as though you're right in the game. One really annoying aspect is that enemies can shoot at you from offscreen before you have a chance to react. There are other bugs in the mechanics of this game that interfere with your enjoyment of it.

Taking out enemies involves the use of a gun or martial art attacks. Weapons can be picked up from fallen enemies. You have an inventory of weapons which you can cycle through. A targeting system lets you choose the enemy that you want to shoot but it doesn't always appear when you want it too. Your gun doesn't always fire on command either, giving the hoods a serious advantage.

Bullet time allows you to jar the action into slow motion for a few seconds while you remain at normal speed. It's a great feature but it doesn't always work when you want it to and even then it will sometimes stop short catching you unaware.

With the press of a button you can switch to manual combat and perform a series of punches culminating with the popular neck-snapping move. Another method of incapacitating the enemy is to use the police dog. Once you have the enemy targeted, you may release the dog. You have to wait too long in between dog launches for it to be considered a serious weapon.

All of the controls take some getting used to as there is a mitt-full of button combos to remember. By the time you get used to them, the game is over. It's not a particularly long game. The average gamer will be able to complete it in an evening.

Don't expect a lot of dialog. The story is text-based and the only sounds you'll hear are those of gunfire, explosions and the occasional grunt. I like that fact that the developers didn't decide to throw in some cheesy ambient music. The GBA is not the best system when you need very subtle shades of intensity in the musical score. Some background noise would have worked. As it is the game sounds empty.

The graphics are all 2D and while not particularly spellbinding, they do the job nicely. The urban environments actually look more polished than they should considering that this is the bad part of town.

In Dead to Rights you will be fighting the faulty gameplay mechanics more than the enemy. The sloppy design prohibits me from recommending it.

Click For Media
System: GBA
Dev: Torus Games
Pub: Namco
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Fenix