Dead to Rights (Sniper)
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco

Graphics were certainly not the priority when producing Dead to Rights- the player models are ok, and they animate well. Lighting is likewise sufficient, and some of the special effects, such as the reflective puddles, are very pretty. It's the textures that are lacking in detail; they look like textures straight out of a PS2 game, which makes sense, since I believe that the bulk of development for Dead to Rights was done with the PS2 in mind as the target platform. The graphics are definitely good enough though, and the game literally never drops below silky smooth ecstacy of 60fps levels, which is nice.

The Dead to Rights soundtrack is one of the strong suits of the game. The music, like many other titles, dynamically changes depending on what's happening in the game, and the melodies are all very well composed, some of the better tunes to grace an action game. The sound effects are good as well, with some great gun and fist-fight sound effects to go along with a nice array of talented voice actors, including that of the main character, who does an exceptional job.

Dead to Rights is one of the most original action titles to come along in some time, even though it hasn't had this sort of public reception so far, which is beyond me. The amount of things you can do creates a very unique flow and chemistry to the gameplay. The control scheme allows you to quickly switch weapons, sic your dog on foes, hide against walls in order to peek around corners and nail baddies, engage in some hand-to-hand brawler action, grab enemies to use them as hostage "human shields", and even engage in some Max Payne-esque slow motion diving. The level design is suberb as well, with an objective-based approach and some great variety, including a plethora of fun mini-games strewn all about. Sometimes the camera is a little clunky in the heat of the moment, and enemy placement is a little cheap at times, but on the whole, Dead to Rights has some ambitious and well executed gameplay elements.

No game plays quite like Dead to Rights, no game has quite the same flow to its gameplay. Frankly, I find Dead to Rights to be one of the most fun and refreshing action titles I've played in a long, long time. It's sort of like Streets of Rage with weapons, and brought into the modern era with a deep story and well developed characters. The difficulty is a little frustrating and even absurd at times, with some parts of the game taking dozens of retries even for a veteran gamer such as myself. Once you pass these areas though, there is a great sense of accomplishment. In short, Dead to Rights is a highly innovative, entertaining, and fun title that may not go down as an instant classic, but will be looked on with nostalgia by many people years from now.

Sniper's verdict: