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The first ever live action shooter makes its way to the Nintendo Wii, it's the Mad Dog McCree Gunslinger Pack. The game is actually three in one: Mad Dog McCree, Mad Dog McCree II: the Lost Gold and the Last Bounty Hunter, all originally made by American Laser Games.
The games will be a nostalgia trip for gamers who owned any of these three in the early 90s, either on their PC or on a retro console like the Sega CD or Panasonic 3DO. The game benefits from a bit of 2009 polish as the score and lives displays have been touched up and the game features new menus and an expanded multiplayer mode– apart from those minor changes, the game is essentially the same.
In the Mad Dog games, you assume the role of the stranger whose task is to take down the outlaw the game is named after. In the first game, your goal is to rescue the mayor's daughter from Mad Dog, whereas in the second game, you're trying to find massive treasure before he can. In the Last Bounty Hunter you are, obviously, a bounty hunter who's been hired to hunt down four outlaws who have been terrorizing villagers of the town.
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As someone who played these games using a mouse on a PC, I was anxious to see how the Wii remote would work. For the most part, the shooting is accurate, though not perfect. Whenever you're about to shoot an outlaw, there is a brief delay as the game loads one of two videos, depending on whether you're able to get your shot off first. The delay can be irritating as often you'll believe you've gotten the shot off only to realize you've just lost one of your three lives.
The game is compatible with the Wii Zapper, though I much preferred using my Nyko Perfect Shot, it felt more natural as your character wields an old-western style six-shooter. The acting and writing of the games are really campy and you'll either laugh or groan during the cut scenes. The games are intentionally humorous though and they rely mostly on cheesy puns.
The Last Bounty Hunter is by far the shortest and easiest game, while the other two games were moderately challenging, I breezed through the last installment in about twenty minutes. Each of the games feature three difficulties: deputy, sheriff and U.S. Marshall. There is also a practice difficulty where you're just shooting bottles. The only difference between the difficulties, from what I can tell, is the outlaws will shoot quicker, requiring slightly faster reflexes. It is not a drastic change, the difficulties are largely indistinguishable from each other. The game also offers multiplayer. You and up to three friends can gang up on Mad Dog and his outlaws in posse mode.
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Graphics and Sound
By no means does the video look to be high definition, but that said, this is the best any of the games have ever looked. The picture is so much clearer, I was able to notice details I hadn't back in the day. The best example that comes to mind is in Mad Dog II during a bar scene where two cowboys are playing an arcade version of the original in the background.
The sound is also vastly improved. The Wii remote speaker is utilized well in the games as reload and gun shots sounds come through loud and clear. The sounds and graphics vary slightly from game to game. Mad Dog McCree, like the original, was probably made with the smallest budget, and it shows. There is a clear jump in video and audio quality from Mad Dog McCree to Mad Dog McCree II. The video quality is essentially the same in the Last Bounty Hunter, while the sound is slightly improved.
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While this is the best the games have ever looked, sounded and even played, and is also the first and only live action shooter on the Wii, I would only recommend it for those who recall and yearn to enjoy the games once again. I feel many newcomers to the games will find the acting and writing borderline irritating and will likely become quickly annoyed with the delays in gameplay. Having played the original games, I fully expected and was prepared for the various delays.
That said, its a pretty good deal at the retail price of $19.99. However, you'll have to look high and low for it. So far, I haven't found it at any retail store/chain, I had to order it online. But if you're looking to shoot down memory lane, Mad Dog's the way to go.