I planned to play this game for such a long time. After all, I greatly enjoyed Dark Forces, and I just finished Doom and Doom 2 without save/loading much. But this game is such a disappointment.
It has this mechanics of manually reloading your weapons bullet by bullet. But this is badly animated. Forgive Me Father had a similar lacking animation, but there I believe it was more a matter of style. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is the shooting. Enemies can finish you in one or two shots. And since your weapons aren’t very accurate, you don’t have much health, and there are a lot of enemies, you end up dying a lot. And I mean a lot. The “Official Strategy Guide” even proposed to always crouch and corner snipe your enemies. Fun!
The game problems become even more apparent once you get the scope. It allows you to snipe out enemies alright, which for ’98 is quite something. But your bullets won’t fly where you want them through. Sometimes they would pass straight through an enemy, despite you having your crosshair right at him, while other times, you’ll kill an enemy right away, although your bullet should have been nowhere near.
Every level ends up abruptly with a cutscene, as you kill the next outlaw. The problem is, they are very hard to distinguish. And if you didn’t find all the secrets on that level – though luck!
The only two spectacular things about that game are the cutscenes and the music. The music is a clear homage to Spaghetti Westerns, and while the cutscenes mostly show you the death of your current enemy, and the appearance of the next one, at least they add some character to what otherways would be a subpar shooter.
The Sawmill is probably one of the worst levels I’ve seen since Redneck Rampage. They tried to implement a trolley puzzle, where you need to change tracks in order to find all the gears. But instead of tracks it’s a water stream, with a current. So you have to shoot the switches, with a janky shooting controls. Absolute disaster. I mean, the Mine is also bad, a multi-level maze with some not-obvious jumps. But I still think that Sawmill is worse.
Can’t believe this is a game from the same people that worked on Dark Forces. Who thought that having three different shotguns is a good idea? Speaking of Dark Forces, I’m surprised that the authors went back to the key mechanics. “Find a bronze key, open a door, find the silver key…”. I mean, they got it right previously, and now they ruined it. Whoever puts a key in the back of a warehouse?!
Now, let’s talk about the final level. For some reason, the authors decided to make it a “capture level”, that is, a level where you get capture and therefore start barehanded. But that’s not the issue. Nor is the issue that you need to shoot a haystack rope multiple times: there’s a slight visual queue of rope fraying, but not enough. Fair.
There’s a tile in the library. You need to step on it. And it opens a bookcase, which closes after a few seconds. And inside that bookcase there is a unlit fireplace, which you need to interact with to open a hidden passage behind another fireplace in the library. That’s it. That’s the problem. Had to check with the guide this once, because I was pretty damn sure some script bugged on me, or I need to blow something up with a dynamite.
And you get the final weapon, Gatling Gun, just before the boss. There are literally half a dozen enemies you can use this weapon on. Gatling is interesting, because with it, you cannot move at all. And you also can’t reload it. Once you run out of ammo, that’s it.