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Dead to Rights Package Art

Dead to Rights

The quality of ports has been an issue since the old days. Publishers take a game, transfer it over to another system, and the same problems are still there as before. This time around, though, Namco has taken the problems that plagued the Xbox version and patched them up ten-fold for release on the NGC. Dead to Rights is a very surprising port and is actually a lot better than its first time out. It also adds that wanted "Mature" flavor that NGC gamers are craving for.

Players step into the shoes of a hard-boiled cop, Jack Slate, in a quest to avenge his father's mysterious murder. However, to make the quest even better, Jack will first have to break out of jail to find the person who framed him for the murder. He's not alone, though. He's got the help of his K-9 partner, Shadow, a beautifully animated wolf/husky mix. Sounds like something from a graphic novel or John Woo flick, huh? Obviously, you can see both pieces of inspiration, and they blend together nicely without seeming too reminiscent of last year's Max Payne.


The graphics in the game aren't mind-boggling impressive. However, there are some moments where you'll be surprised, such as Shadow's brief but beautiful animation routines. The CGI cut-scenes that piece the story together are solid and look good compared to some of the other stuff out there. The character models need a bit of a touch-up, but they move solidly when they aren't in one of many in-game cut-scenes. In these scenes, the characters flail around while they talk, eerily reminiscent of the early Resident Evil games, but it can be over-looked after a few chuckles.


The explosions and bullet sprays sound excellent and really keep the action exciting. There's no real glaring problem with the sound effects, they're all-around pretty solid. The music is dark and gritty when it's meant to be, though it isn't the most memorable. Voice acting could use some work, since every character sounds a little stale and unfocused. All-around, the sound is hovering above average.


The game mechanics in Dead to Rights have improved a lot since its Xbox incarnation. Players who've already experienced the game know how difficult it was, even downright frustrating, at times. Thankfully, the game has added a difficulty option, which offers three levels of difficulty. That's only one of many changes that make a so-so game into a great experience. Shadow's auto-attack and weapon fetch option is now a quick-button, which saves you from flipping through the weapon inventory. You can draw/holster at the touch of a button, letting you run around more easily with your weapon drawn.

Those are just a few of the many improvements that Namco enacted, thanks to feedback from players. While some problems are still apparent, they did an excellent job patching up the glaring issues which frustrated gamers anticipating the title since E3. The stripper mini-game is still included, and while it adds a pinch of "mature flavor" to the game, it's still a bit cheesy and you just can't help but snicker at the need for something like that in a game.




Dead to Rights is more than your stereotypical video game port. If you've played the Xbox version and were somewhat disappointed, try checking out the NGC version for a pleasant surprise. It's graphic, mature, and fun, just what the GameCube needs in its gaming library. The patches make the game more fun, less difficult (if needed), and surprisingly much better. If only some other publishers could learn from this example, ports may not be so bad after all!

final score 8.6/10

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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