Mad Dog McCree
Developer: Engine Software
Publisher: Digital Leisure Inc.
Release: June 14, 2012 (downloadable title)
There really isn’t much I can say about a game that is almost twenty years old and was ported to just about every major console at the time. Everything from the PC to the Sega CD to the 3DO had a copy of Mad Dog McCree, each with varying levels of quality. Needless to say, the concept of Mad Dog McCree was a novel idea back in the times when American companies thought full motion video games were the wave of the future. I never got on board along with the rest of the gaming world back in the early 1990’s, and soon game companies fell in line and dropped the idea. For those who read Alex Lucard’s review of the enjoyable Wii port, well you might want to turn away for this one.
With it being a port, everything comes out exactly as it should. The full motion videos are crisp and clear, the actors are hilariously bad, and the difficulty is quite challenging. The actors alone can make this game worthwhile. Not a scene goes by where I can’t help but chuckle at the overacting, the poor dialogue, and the silly plot. The plot actually centers on a bandit named Mad Dog, who has come into town, kidnapped the mayor’s daughter, and let his hoodlums run amuck, terrorizing the city. Sounds just like all the other spaghetti western movies out there. I’d also like to point out that whenever I play this game, for some reason, it makes me think of Back To The Future 3.
As mentioned already, Mad Dog McCree is a straightforward port of the arcade classic. The high quality video holds up very well and looks sharp on the 3DS screen. The color palette isn’t drained, like in the Sega CD port. Unfortunately, being that it’s a 3DS title, I am surprised they did not make any attempts to use the system’s ability to enhance the overall experience. To say I am disappointed is an understatement, because when I play a game on the 3DS, I expect this to be a feature unless it’s a virtual console game.
Now, unfortunately, because the game is on the 3DS, I have had many issues with not being able to make out the outlaws I am trying to shoot. There have been multiple deaths on my part because I was being shot by someone whom I cannot see. On the corral stage, depending on your difficulty setting, there will be someone walking out the barn you have to shoot. Here I thought I would proceed to the next area, until I found myself dead. I had to replay the scenario multiple times before taking a chance and shooting at windows and doorways. I eventually did kill the guy, but there were no hints of movement or gunfire to hint he was in the area.
Unfortunately it’s not even the invisible enemies that are a major problem, because they only pop out a couple of times during your entire play through. One of my biggest gripes is the guys that you can see, but due to the small screen resolution, make them hard to pinpoint when aiming. Now this happens quite often, and at higher difficulties, this can become very annoying, since they pull the trigger much faster than you can react upon seeing them.
Now, you would think it would boil down to enemy placement memorization, but unfortunately, that’s one of the perks of Mad Dog McCree. Enemy placement is random, so they can pop out from anywhere, and you have less than a second to react. You have only moments to use that stylus to aim your buzz eye cursor on your target and fire, and this is where my biggest issue with the game takes place. The game utilizes the stylus in the way I expected it to, but because of how fast paced the game gets on the highest difficulty, it becomes clumsy. You use the bottom screen to move the stylus around and aim at whoever pops out to kill you. All you see on the bottom screen is a grey piece of paper to aim. Now, you could theoretically press on any location of the bottom screen and it will appear on the action screen, but that takes more than just luck to get right.
Playing Mad Dog McCree on the Wii is more accurate, because with the Wiimote, you can actually aim more precisely and make your kills quicker. With the stylus, even when you move the cursor around the screen as fast as possible, your sight still won’t exactly land on your target, and you will always have to stop and refine your aim to make sure it’s perfect.
My final issue with Mad Dog McCree is that there is no replay value here whatsoever. With the Wii port, you at least had least the sequel on the disc as well. All you get is just a straight arcade port here. No extra modes, no multiplayer options, no extra hidden levels or secrets. It just a barebones experience that you play from beginning to end on three difficulty settings with unlimited continues.
I truly cannot understand why anyone would want to port this game, again, to a system that clearly had no intention of being light gun game friendly. It doesn’t work. The developers don’t do anything to take advantage of the 3DS’ abilities. The gameplay is clumsy, and at times, it’s hard to see where the gunfire is coming from. It doesn’t matter how good your reaction is, because you are handicapped by the stylus. I honestly can’t justify getting this game for the 3DS at all.
Control and Gameplay: Pretty Poor
Balance: Below Average
Appeal Factor: Poor
FINAL SCORE: POOR GAME.
Short Attention Span Summary:
Straight up, this Mad Dog McCree port shouldn’t be on anybody’s wish list, because there is nothing redeemable about it. There is nothing to justify buying this game for the 3DS when you have a superior port on the Nintendo Wii. There’s no extra gameplay modes or multiplayer, which right away is a big strike against it. The game is only difficult to beat because of the clumsy stylus aiming, with is very infuriating. Again, if it wasn’t for the bad acting, I would really have no reason to keep playing this game.