This game is clearly one of those poor casualties of too
many quality DC software releases, as it just slipped through the cracks of public awarness. Argonaut,
the company that made SNES classics Starfox and Stunt Race FX is the creator of Red Dog.
If you've played Stunt Race FX you'll be familiar with the way your moon buggy
with cannons and rockets performs, only this game is very fast. If not, think
monster truck with the ability to rotate while stationary like a tank would.
You control your cannons with the analog stick, for pin point accuracy, and
left/right on the analog stick steers the RedDog as well. Right trigger accelerates,
Left trigger reverses, and double tapping and holding either puts on the turbo
which also allows RedDog to do doughnuts around enemies, which creates a similar
method of attack as circle strafing for you FPSers. Holding both triggers down
rotates the RedDog ninety-degrees, and left and right on the analog triggers
become strafe left and right, while up/down remains the same.
The A-button fires your main weapon, while holding the button downs activates
missile targets. Pass the cross hairs over an enemy while holding A and it will
lock on, let go of A and a missile fires out in good ol' Panzer Dragoon style.
B fires secondary satellite weapons that you pick up on the way, which range
from auto-targeting tazer, to rockets and machine guns. X activates a very cool
refractive energy shield that covers the front of the RedDog, keep your cross
hairs at the offending enemy's weak spot and their own fire will destroy them.
Y activates the power up, which you build up energy for by destroying the larger
enemies and taking the little black orbs that they leave behind.
Complicated enough for ya? I was able to figure all of this out without reading
the instructions, and can now, after playing it for only two hours, turbo around
the levels powersliding and bouncing off the bumps, while targeting enemies
and destroying them with any of my three main weapons. The gameplay is solid
and stable, even the camera does a remarkable job of tracking the action.
Graphics & Sound
Some of the most detailed texture work will be found in this game, with interesting
and detailed enemy models to boot. All at a steady 30FPS, that never wavers
or stutters even with 10+ enemies on the screen, weapons fire and explosions.
Sound effects for explosions, weapons fire and music are all good, but just
good. There's nothing memorable in the sound really, which I suppose could be
a good thing if the other choice was for it to be extremely bad.
4Player split screen, Deathmatch, Knockout, BombTag, Suicide BombTag, Stealth
Assassin, Flag Runner, and King of the Hill modes. Does that get your attention?
So far it seems like it adds an extra mode with each completed level. So far
I've gotten a racing level where I have to perform a series of stunts while
dodging acid pits in a limited amount of time, and a shooting gallery. Neither
of which I've been able to complete yet. The levels, too, are scored at the
end with A,B,C or D, I've gotten Cs & a D on the three levels I've completed
The missions themselves are varied and challenging as well, with stimulating
graphic detail, no pop-up and no frame-rate troubles. There are memorable aspects
to each level's design as well. For example there's a part in the second stage
where you have to cross a frozen river, with ice blocks floating by at different
speeds and an spiked ice breaker at the end of the line on the right. That's
right folks, frogger.
In the beginning of the same level you can launch yourself off of a high hill,
and the camera pulls way back to exaggerate the sense of falling, then you can
land right in the middle of a group of enemies, on a pin with water on either
side of the ice bridge your soon to be dead enemies were guarding, and proceed
to rocket, ram or blast them all to oblivion at practically point blank range.
Like I said, this game's a keeper. It's like Stunt Race FX on steroids with
a twist of Twisted Metal, a little bit of Panzer Dragoon, and space shooter
style missions. The first time I locked on to a foot soldier, who promptly put
up a measly metal shield to protect himself, only to get blown from the background
right up to the front of my buggy, arms flailing, by my missile fire, I knew
I had a keeper. An all around do everything extremely well game. It's really
sad that this one fell through the cracks last year. It's easily worth the current
asking price, if you can find it.