Reservoir Dogs

"Are you going to bark all day, little doggie, or are you going to bite?"

In the interests of saving you, my dear readers, some quality time to spend with your loved ones, with your comic book collections, with World of Warcraft or perhaps just watching Lithuanian midget porn, here's the skinny: it's not original, interesting or particularly fun. See you next month!

Oh, so you want to know more, eh? Perhaps I'll indulge you after all.

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"Reservoir Dogs" is a game based on the renowned Quentin Tarantino movie about a gang of diamond thieves - Mr Pink, Mr Orange, Mr White, Mr Blue, Mr Tangerine, Crazy Larry, Dirty Mary and the Sisco Kid. It's been a while since I've seen it, so some of those names may be wrong. Can many of you honestly say you haven't seen or at least heard of "Reservoir Dogs"? It's been a pop culture staple since it came out way back in the day. K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s? Slow motion shots of a bunch of guys in suits and sunglasses walking down an alley? Cutting ears off to a Steeler's Wheel soundtrack? Any of this ringing a bell?

You control different characters during the game's individual stages, including Mr Pink's miraculous escape, Mr Blue's mall rampage and driving the gutshot Mr Orange back to the warehouse hideout. The game follows the story of the movie reasonably well, complete with a somewhat non-linear structure, reproduction of a lot of lines from the movie (complete with all the swearing you can handle, luckily for you) and the voices at least somewhat vaguely reminiscent of the original actors. The (frequent) cut scenes use animated characters that are incredibly rough approximations of the original actors, which I suppose is in keeping with the voice work. Considering the money they would've spent on licensing all the 70s music throughout the game, you'd think they'd shell out a few extra bucks and get likeness rights and maybe even some voice work from the original actors, at least the surviving ones.

The gameplay itself? It's a third person shooter - behind the shoulder view. All you do is run from location to location shooting cops, taking hostages, threatening cops by beating the hostages (OK, that's an innovation - if a dubious one), and running to more locations. About the only respite from run and gun is the occasional driving mission, and the only thing that would make you want to play the game through more than once is collecting blueprints to unlock concept art. Considering how relatively ugly the art is, perhaps that's not a huge enticement either.

Beating on hostages and shooting cops builds up your adrenalin meter - which eventually lets you … say it with me, kids … enter bullet time. It's called 'bullet festival' or 'bullet mariachi' or 'death festivus for the rest of us' or something like that, but believe me, it works the same way as it does in 8.7 billion other games of this ilk.

If you like violence, naughty words and 70s music, buy Grand Theft Auto Vice City or San Andreas, and raid a thrift store for some LPs. If you like "Reservoir Dogs", watch the movie again. If you really liked "kill.switch" or "Dead to Rights" or "Max Payne" and you're really, really bored … get your wallet out for this game - in a few months when it's in the bargain bin.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: This originally appeared on Collector Times as the September 2006 column.

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