Dead Man's Hand

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a game by Atari SA
Platforms: XBox, PC
Editor Rating: 5/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 7.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Casino Games, Poker Games, Blackjack Games, Wild West Games
Dead Man's Hand
Dead Man's Hand
Dead Man's Hand

Say what what you want, the Wild West is great -cowboys and Indians, guns doing the talking, swinging saloon doors and tarts called Betty. So why on earth are there so few Wild West games? The last cowboy-themed FPS was released a whopping seven years ago - something we picked up on with our 'Search For A Game' entry Frontier last issue. Such a ripe setting deserves better than to be ignored by the PC's premiere genre, but Dead Man's Hand won't exactly help its cause.

You jump into the spur-laden boots of El Tejon, a mercenary with dirty sanchez-style facial hair who used to ride with a gang of bandits known as The Nine -until they decided to shoot him for trying to leave. The game begins with El Tejon setting out on a murderous and vengeful hunt for his former gang buddies.

Old El Paso

Each of the 27 fairly short levels follow the same drill - you pick some guns to take with you, have a quick round of simplified poker to win some ammo, then blast your way through the map. Slight variations are occasionally added to the mix, such as the need to shoot windows and pans in a mansion, or taking to your horse for some on-rails shooting. It's kind of fun, in a strangely mindless way.

You can score extra points with 'hat shots', or by stylishly killing the bad guys through shooting nearby barrels or crushing them with bits of precariously balanced scenery. Making kills also fills a special 'shot' bar, which gives you access to the weapons' secondary fire modes.

Dead And Buried

The levels in Dead Man's Hand have been designed so you can play through them several times for higher scores, but the enemies always pop up in the same spots, draining any fun or challenge this could provide. The Al is dreadful too, with enemies running across or away from you instead of at you or towards cover. They also stand around behind walls firing into the wood, leaving you to pick them off by shooting at a protruding elbow or toe.

But that isn't all. The graphics are strangely washed out and blocky, and fail to capture the dusty, sun-drenched feel usually associated with Sergio Leone's famous 'Spaghetti' Westerns. The cinematics are presented like an old black-and-white cine-film, but the effect is totally ruined by the pixelisation - one of several clues it was designed for a console. The sound manages to be quirky, but isn't nearly varied enough - El Tejon groans every few minutes like he's grasped the wrong weapon from his trousers.

Dead Man's Hand isn't a complete write-off - the game does exude some degree of charm and the music's quite catchy. Its main problem lies in offering nothing that you haven't seen a thousand times before and falls short in just about every department. The fact that it's only 20 quid doesn't really do enough to help matters either. A game about the Wild West that looks like it's been put together by cowboys - how's that for irony?

Download Dead Man's Hand

XBox

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

People say:

6

If you know who Sergio Leone is or remember which film made Clint Eastwood a star (A Fistful of Dollars, FYI), then Dead Mans Hand ms made for you. Atari has taken a very standard first-person shooter and thrown in every Western reference imaginable whiskey bombs, flaming stagecoaches, crazed hillbillies, guys flying through windows when shot, and desperadoes with quips like Its dyin time, boy. You even get a bonus for shooting hats off enemies heads. Unfortunately, the gameplay is a day late and a dollar short. Theres nothing here that you havent seen in other shooters. Couple this with uneven visuals and redundant level design, and a great idea turns into an average experience. Hands worth a rent just for the tragicomic plot {Unforgiven this aint), but real farmhands may want to hold out for Red Dead Revolver in a couple months time.

5

The West is actually more weird and ridiculous than wild in the oddball Dead Mans Hand, what with its unique brand of shooting-gallery silliness. Whoa, Nelly moments include earning boffo bonuses for shooting bad guys who fall from the sky and getting major anvil points for crushing evil gold miners in TNT-spawned cave-ins. (If only some of these zany antics made it into the dry multiplayer modes.) Granted, none of this stuff is actually much fun I just had such a good laugh watching the awkward character animations that I figure this suckers a must-rent for comedy value alone.

4

Factually accurate, perhaps to a fault, this six-gun shooter painstakingly pieces together the American Old West. Its all here: ornery cowpokes stationed atop barrels of TNT; the bandidos who loiter under huge boulders, waiting to be crushed underneath tons of stone; steely-eyed A.I. killers slamming into walls while stuck in their run animations; and a Native American boss character who throws an endless supply of knives while you blast him with a shotgun because, apparently, firearms are for suckers. Deal us another hand, boys, because this one has too many jokers in it.

Snapshots and Media

XBox Screenshots

PC Screenshots