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Re ay Replay Replay a

Dan Griliopoulos rouses Gun, the oldest cowpoke on the Xbox ranch, with a rooting-tooting tale

Publisher Activision Developer Neversoft Release 2005 Played by

Dan Griliopoulos

t the launch of the Xbox 360, several studios didnt appear to know what qualied a game as next gen, so made games that were... cautious. Wed hate to imply that games were cynically ported over from older platforms to make a quick buck at the consoles launch, so we wont. But we will note that Gun appeared on both Xbox and Xbox 360 at the same time. So, to return to Gun is to excavate a missing link. Its a game thats partway between Xbox and Xbox 360; its low-res textures are like the feet-ippers of a

Men riding atop coaches always get shot off.

Coelacanth, its blocky polygons the tiny brain-case of an Australopithecus, and its simplistic animation scraped direct from the Burgess Shale. Despite the appearance, its very modern indeed, its the spiritual father of Red Dead Redemption and (whisper it quietly for fear of Rockstars wrath) its a tighter story in many ways. Where RDR glories in pointless wild goose chases, Gun has a new twist at every stage. Most importantly, like RDR, Gun is also an Anti-Western that is, it follows a version of the Wild West that emerged in the 1960s which treats the emerging nation as bleak, dirty and over-violent. The hero, Colton White, is on a straightforward revenge quest: kill the man who killed his father. Yet, as he progresses he gradually discovers that his father wasnt who he thought he was, and that there are bigger issues for him to solve which will require him to return to the wrecked steamboat where his father died and deeper into the Mysterious Cities of Gold.

My horse never did this. But it did skid on its arse. 124

Attack of the Elephant Men is not a level, sadly.

Guns grimness earned it controversy at the time of launch; early in the game, a railroad bridge is being blocked by angry Native Americans and youre tasked with protecting the workers. The town marshall is casually racist about the Irish and Chinese workers, and Cole is tasked to kill all Indians. The real-life Apache nation took offence at this task, at the primitive and dehumanised depiction of their ancestors, and at the totally unnecessary scalping that you can carry out, and called for a boycott of the game. Activision apologised but didnt patch the game or pull it from sale. Sadly, like many pulp games and unlike many of the movies, that grimness doesnt cohere into a wider lesson or story, so isnt really defensible. Massacring 50 Apaches is balanced by saving a handful later? Yes, historically, Native Americans were massacred at that time, but theres no real reason to make the player complicit in that, and Guns ction doesnt justify it well at all. Moral issues aside, rolling around the prairie is sedate fun. The Western environment is complex and small enough to not be boring to travel across, and varies hugely in such a small area. Even though Ive played the opening sequence at least three times, and regardless of the unusual button choices, the easy gunplay makes it a pleasure to hunt wildlife, chase down wanted men and herd cattle in bucolic idyll. Its all ostensibly to make cash so you can buy upgrades, but it really emphasises how

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Gun is Red Dead Redemptions spiritual father





WHAT IS IT? One of the earliest and best tactics games on Xbox, wherein men in padded vests hide behind things and blow holes in the things the other people are hiding behind. GEARS OF WAR MEETS BATTLEFIELD, THEN? Not at all this game is strictly hands-off. You control two four-man teams, Alpha and Bravo. Theyre in charge of shooting at stuff and dying heroically for the betterment of mankind. You take care of moving them into position, ordering suppression re, rolling smoke grenades and getting them all killed because youve neglected to maintain a rearguard. BUT I WANT TO SHOOT THE BAD MEN MYSELF Oh shut up. Commanding a grunt is just as fun as being one. Think of this as a giant, hinging puzzle which is fuelled by explosions and spent shell casings one team advances and suppresses, the other takes up a anking position and blows them away. Each member of your squad has special abilities, like a grenade launcher, so losing men may fatally hem in your tactical capabilities. ANY CHANCE OF A REVIVAL? Its possible. Perhaps an Xbox Live Arcade reboot would cut the mustard. If this tickles your undercarriage, you might want to keep an eye on the forthcoming XCOM third-person shooter from 2K Marin.

Meanwhile in OXM
Issue 30 | June 2004

Gosh, we liked Full Spectrum Warrior. Trust us when we say that FSW leaps out of the screen and drags you kicking and screaming into the conict, gushed the 9.2/10 review somewhat enthusiastically. We were less keen on Manhunt, awarding it 7.5 and the advice that it would provide just enough laughs to cover its cost dont believe the hype. We liked bits of Namcos oddity Breakdown you could, like, see your body! And drive a jeep! But it looked dreadful and having to scoop up every bit of ammo got tedious. Dinotopia, meanwhile, forced you into menial servitude for boring, recipe-issuing dinosaurs, and was improved only by the awful audio: youll never hear funnier, more atrocious voice acting in your entire gaming career. The future was bright, holding Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords and Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow, which would make use of Xbox Live 3.0. This added features like as user-created tournaments and messaging, apparently. We also looked at Interview With A Made Man (which ended up never being made for Xbox) Notorious: Die To Drive (which eventually became the highly rubbish 187 Ride or Die) and the dev of The Kore Gang proudly announced it hadnt been cancelled and were in a better situation than ever. Given the game took another six years to arrive as a Wii exclusive, we think they were lying.

Whiskey is never drunk in Gun, only set alight.

huge and diverse open-world games have become this is about the size of just one of RDRs areas. With that scale and a fast travel system just for story missions, you can get through the main campaign in a few hours on Easy mode. The challenge ramps up rapidly on harder difculties (theres a famously tough ght with a priest on an armoured horse), so playing on Easy is actually the preferred option unless youre chasing Achievements. Gun was due a sequel a poster for Gun: Magruders Revenge can be spotted in 2007s Tony Hawks Proving Ground but the trails gone cold on us. Were sure the next Red Dead game will pick it up.

The real-life Apache nation called for a boycott of the game


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