Originally a concept developed by Japanese game company Capcom, Revolver was eventually picked up by Rockstar Games. Set in the 1880s, it follows the story of Red Harlow, a bounty hunter on a quest to avenge the deaths of his parents. The gameplay involves arcade-like elements and shooting mechanics, alongside a multiplayer mode called Showdown Mode.
Red Dead Revolver was released to mixed reviews, gaining praise for its western aesthetics, uniqueness among the third-person shooter genre and story, but criticism towards its outdated gameplay elements, repetitive action, and difficult learning curve. Despite the lukewarm reception, Revolver was used as an inspiration for a spiritual successor, 2010's Red Dead Redemption, and became the first installment of the Red Dead series.
It was originally released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox home consoles on May 4, 2004, and was re-released as a PS2 Classic for the PlayStation 3 on December 19, 2012, and the PlayStation 4 on October 11, 2016, alongside a trophy list.
The game's development stalled when it was dropped by Capcom. In 2002, Rockstar Games purchased the game and expanded on it. Changing from a supernatural American western to a Spaghetti Western allowed the developers to add more blood and over-the-top characters.
The lead character appears to be an amalgamation of various Western Clint Eastwood-inspired characters from assorted movies, particularly the Man with No Name character, with whom he shares many similar traits. The game reproduces a "grainy film" effect and uses music from many different Spaghetti Western soundtracks.
The game allows the purchase of goods at local town stores. Goods range from general store items, which unlock extras, to guns and multiplayer characters. Each individual character has a unique ability which can be activated after so many kills or a certain amount of time. For example, Jack Swift can quickly empty his guns on a single target and Buffalo Soldier can impale men with a flare from a rifle. Guns can be purchased at stores and are chosen before each mission. The game offers a wide selection of shotguns, rifles, thrown weapons, and, of course, revolvers. Weapon repair plays a minor role.
There are four difficulty levels available for the single-player campaign.
- Main article: Showdown Mode
Main article: Cheats in Revolver
- Main article: Sheriff Bartlett's Journal
- Main article: Red Dead Revolver Soundtrack
The game was originally under development at Capcom and had a very different gameplay style. According to Hamish Brown, Capcom's game was "uber-arcade," and "It even had a character who could fly." Rockstar decided near the end of development of Revolver that an open world environment was "the only way to do this subject matter justice."
Red Dead Revolver was released in North America on May 4, 2004, for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox; in PAL regions on June 11, 2004, and on May 26, 2005, in Japan.
On December 19, 2012, Rockstar announced that the game had been added to the PlayStation Store as a downloadable "PS2 Classic" for use on the PS3. Since 2016, the game has been available for purchase on the PlayStation 4.
The game received mixed to favorable reviews. It holds 75% on GameRankings, and 74 on Metacritic. IGN gave the PS2 version a 7/10 and 7.5/10 to the Xbox version. Reviewers praised the game for its plot and unique style, but the game received criticism for its gameplay, graphics (IGN noticed that the Xbox's version has better graphics than the PS2 version), and sound. 1Up gave the game a "C" score.
Red Dead Revolver was included as one of the titles in the 2010 book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, alongside its sequel and other games published by Rockstar Games, such as Grand Theft Auto.
Rumors of a sequel began to circulate around 2005, when Rockstar showed a video of an Old West horseback rider. This ran on early PlayStation 3 hardware. The project was only known as the "Old West Project".
Although not a direct sequel, on February 4, 2009, Red Dead Redemption was announced for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Said game was released on May 18, 2010, in North America, May 20, 2010, in Australia and May 21, 2010, in Europe.
- Capcom's First version of the game
- Capcom's Red Dead Revolver Site
- Official Red Dead Revolver Site
- Red Dead.Net - A1 Fansite for the Red Dead Series