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GUN Showdown Review

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Developer: Rebellion Publisher: Activision
Release Date: October 10, 2006 Also On: None

I grew up in a family that loves old Westerns. My dad, my grandparents…everyone but me. I just never got into the whole Clint Eastwood “do you feel lucky, punk?” attitude of cowboys. There’s nothing inherently wrong with their movies, they just seem to have the same general plot. Cowboys and Indians running amok in a lawless town, a damsel in distress and a main character’s significant other dying. GUN Showdown fits pretty well into this stereotypical Western theme. It’s not the storyline you’re playing for, it’s the gun slingin’.

GUN Showdown surprisingly proves to be a competent shooter on the PlayStation Portable. Even though I have not played the original, it’s a port with all new missions and weapons. It’s pretty apparent that this is not what the console version would look or play like, but Rebellion did a good job of capturing a console experience on a portable system. The controls are well-placed and relatively easy to adjust to. There is a learning curve involved, but once you play the game long enough, you shouldn’t have any problem.

To help you adjust even more, Rebellion included a tutorial both for shooting and riding your horse. The analog nub controls your foot movements, while the triangle, square, circle and X buttons serve as the camera. This may not be the ideal control setup for a shooter, but it works surprisingly well. To make things easier for you, Rebellion has a “quick draw” set-up where you zoom into a first-person view and can shoot enemies in slow-motion. There’s a limit, however, to how much you can use this. The right trigger is fire, left trigger is used to crouch/jump, while the control pads are used to select guns, reload, quick fire and call your horse.

Horse riding, a central part to the cowboy way of life, is seriously lacking in GUN Showdown. Your horse can jump, he can sprint and you can shoot from him, but the collision detection is horrible in this game. I actually glitched across the side of a bridge on my horse. To their credit, the level where you escort a coach against attack by Indians was pretty fun, even if the mechanics of horse riding are so flawed. I have to admit, trampling things with your horse is pretty cool as well.

The greatest thing about GUN Showdown is the environments. You traverse through canyons, battle on boats, draw your weapons in taverns and have shootouts on the streets. Certainly the level of detail is no where near PS2 quality, but the worlds are expansive, there are usually about three or more enemies without slowdown and the load times are thankfully short. On the downside, voice-overs sound watered down from compression and the soundtrack isn’t that interesting

The main complaint from the first GUN on home consoles was that it was too short. GUN Showdown, as I said earlier, has new missions on top of the original game, plus quite a bit more. There are plenty of side missions to keep you distracted, there’s poker and you can go hunting. Rebellion also added an Ad-Hoc multi-player element for up to 6 people to play against one another in gun fights and poker. Unfortunately, I don’t know a single person with a PSP.

For fans of last year’s version of the game, you may or may not want to buy Showdown. If you’re obsessive, then this is perfect for on-the-road gaming. Even if you’re not, it does have new missions and multi-player to tide you over. For those that haven’t experienced GUN yet, Showdown is about as solid of a shooter as you’ll find on PSP right now. If a guy that doesn’t care about Westerns can get into the game, anyone else should.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 7.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide