||As a movie fan you can’t help but to be excited when a game based on the license of your favorite flick is announced. The opportunity to immerse yourself in the movie universe and to actually “live” the story is certainly appealing. However, judging by past experiences, things don’t always turn out like we would have wanted. There’s always a glimmer of hope that this new game will be different and will do the movie justice, but having being disappointed so many times, we ultimately end up over-criticizing the game due to higher expectations. Reservoir Dogs, directed by Quentin Tarantino, hit the theaters in the 90’s and had a huge success. A second “Godfather”, according to some. Based mostly on dialogue and a few extremely violent action sequences, the first question that will probably pop up in everyone’s mind is how can you make a game based on such a movie? Well, Eidos’ new title stays true to the main story, following the planning and execution of the famed diamond heist while at the same time answering some questions left for the audience to ponder at the end of the movie. By playing in turn with each major character we’ll discover what actually went down during the heist, what happened to Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown, how Mr. Blonde caught Marvin Nash, where the diamonds were hidden by Mr. Orange and so on. Everything is portrayed during 16 levels (out of which 6 are for driving only), totaling 4-5 hours of game time.
ike the movie, the action is non-chronological, since you play through various events as you are given the chance to control each mobster. Unfortunately, the only actor who agreed to lend his voice and likeness for the game was Michael Madsen (aka Mr. Blonde). Therefore, as far as looks go, the characters from the game are similar to those in the movie, but not to a truly satisfying degree. Considering that the tie-in to the movie would have been one of the game’s major upsides, any “shortcut” like this has its downsides. Also, if you’re a detail freak you might find a slight slip-up from the producers regarding the story continuity. Fortunately, the entire soundtrack from the movie is also featured in the game, with 70’s classic songs like “Little green bag” and “Stuck in the middle with you”.
Reservoir Dogs tries to bring some innovation by introducing the “threat system” which allows you to take hostages and manipulate them or forcing the police officers to drop their weapons. Some cops “crack” more easily than others, but with a well placed hit you can subdue even the most hard-boiled cop. By using this system you can finish an entire level without firing a single shot. I must admit that for the first few levels it was fun, but in the end even this becomes boring, especially since even the more interesting dialogue lines get repetitive rather quickly.
One the other hand, you can always go down the “kill everything that moves” road, since the arsenal at your disposal includes pistols (you can even dual wield), machine guns (UZI included), shotgun, sniper rifle, grenade as well as a SWAT shield. The game becomes a little more alert if you play this way, since you run the risk of triggering an alarm, which means more cops to hunt you down. Unfortunately, the save system is based on checkpoints, so if you die you’ll have to repeat the previous sequence all over again. That is, IF you die, since the AI isn’t too advanced and shouldn’t pose any problems. The more enemies you kill, the higher your adrenaline will go up (same goes for taking hostages) and when it reaches maximum, you can activate the so-called “bullet festival”, stopping time and unloading entire clips in the cops that are following you, killing them in a slow-motion cinematic moment. Besides the slow-motion, I must say I enjoyed the explosions and the effect of the tear grenades (although I found the flashbang effects to be a little light for credibility). Also, another moment that caught my attention was an underground parking lot, where the sprinkler system was activated by the tear grenades and as such the pools of blood were washed away.
Depending on how you progress through a level, the game will record your actions in a Psycho / Professional rating system, which will eventually lead you to one of the three possible endings. However, if we consider the 0 replay value of the game, I don’t think that there will be a lot of players who will go through the whole game again just to see a different ending cinematic. The driving part of the game is mainly a race against the clock to get from point A to point B, in either an escape or police chase. During this you’ll encounter different obstacles, such as pedestrians, other cars, unfinished roads or cops, the latter having some helicopters for backup at their disposal. Slow-motion will kick in during a more spectacular jump, the characters will get injured if you crash and the adrenaline acts like NOS – but despite all of this, the driving sequences are destroyed by an absurd control system, which is arcade to the extreme… and not in a good way. For some it may prove relax but for most it will be an unending source of frustration.
The game was obviously developed for consoles as well, and you’ll see this in the way the menu works, the almost non-existent graphical options but mostly in the gameplay and the overall graphics quality, which is far from 2006’s standards. As it stands, Reservoir Dogs will probably fare a little bit better on the console market, since the only thing that can recommend it for a PC player is an extremely boring weekend. If you have something else to play, even though you’re a fan of the game, you can skip Reservoir Dogs without hesitation, since it’s mediocre at best.