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Nov. 26 2006
Gun Showdown - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
17/11/2006ActivisionActivisionRebellion /
Neversoft (original)
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating
192KBEasy1-6MA15+

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Gun Showdown looks pretty nice.
A little over a year ago Activision released a game set in the Wild West called Gun. It was a surprise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it was developed by Neversoft, that very same company behind a certain skateboarding franchise known as Tony Hawk's. Secondly Gun exceeded all expectations technically, and only really disappointed due to its short game time. This PSP version hasn't been worked on by the original developers, but rather UK code ship Rebellion Studios - a company who know how to develop a pretty decent game. Can they expand on the original? Can they master the PSP's control setup?

In Gun Showdown you play Colton White. On your way back from your latest hunting expedition with your father Ned the boat you are on in attacked by a gang led by a nasty preacher. Ned does not survive the battle but before he dies he drops a bombshell, he is not your father. He also gives you a medallion and tells you to search for a hooker named Jenny at a bar. From there on Gun tells a ripping story of revenge, friendships and betrayal. I must say that just as Graham mentioned last year this is quite an engaging story with much of the credit going to Hollywood writer Randall Jahnson who worked on the story for The Mast of Zorro.

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Getting some action at night!
Gun Showdown is played from a third person perspective and, as the name suggests, there is quite a bit of shooting action to be had. The game is pretty much a direct port of the PS2 game, although the controls have naturally been forced into change. The dual analogue sticks have given way to the PSP's analogue slider stick and the face buttons on the right hand side. It's not ideal, but it gets the job done for the most part.

Colton has a number of weapons at his disposal with everything from pistols to rifles and shotguns to tomahawks and petrol bombs. Gun Showdown also has a very bullet-time like feature which allows you to slow down time during a gunfight. If an enemy gets close to you Colton can slash them up with either a tomahawk or an axe, the close quarter combat is quite grizzly indeed.

The missions that feature in Gun are all varied and pretty much every great seen from any western you care to mention is there for the playing. You defend the whore house from being burned down, stop carriages being raided, and protect bridges from being blown up and many, many more interesting and enjoyable challenges as well.

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Can he miss from there?
If you only have a couple of minutes to spare then you can enter either some quick missions, or Texas Hold 'Em Poker. The quick missions are a series of five minute missions where you typically have to shoot as many things as possible. Multi- player is also supported in Gun Showdown. With up to six players through the systems wireless connections the modes include Deathmatch, Golden Cross and Last Man Standing. It's a good addition to the title that bumps up the value quite a bit.

But all is not perfect. Ultimately our biggest complaint from the PS2 version still holds true for this version - the game is quite short. With a game time of around 8 hours it was a bit criminal charging full price on the PS2, fortunately Activision must be applauded for releasing PSP version at a budget price of only $AU49.95 which makes it a fantastic purchase, especially with some places selling it much less then that to start with!

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Close range shooting.
One area where this game isn't quite as sharp as the PS2 version is the horseback riding. This is an essential way of traveling around the large expanses of outback (did they call it that in the Wild West!?) but the horses are a bit twitchy with their controls at times. Indeed all the controls are a bit fiddly and it's a game that suffers with the lack of a second analogue stick.

Graphically the PS2 version was pretty nice on the eyes, and this PSP port is also pretty impressive. The locations look like they belong in the Wild West, the characters are suitably gruff and violent looking. The cut-scenes are superbly presented in the game and really set the story alight. Frame rate can be a bit choppy at times, but overall this is pretty impressive.

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Shootout inside the hotel.
Voice work in Gun Showdown is also very impressive - actually all the audio is impressive including the atmospheric music and varied effects. Kris Kristofferson (Whistler from the Blade Trilogy) provides the voice of Ned, and is pretty impressive for his limited number of lines. Actor Thomas Jane (The Punisher) provides the voice of the main character Colton White and is suitably impressive as well. Other voiceovers are provided by the likes of Lance Henriksen (Alien movies), Brad Dourif (Lord of the Rings), Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Tom Skerritt (Alien).

If you didn't play the PS2 title then this PSP version is worth looking at or, at the very least, rent. The graphics and gameplay are pretty exciting, with the only big negative being the length of the game. Rebellion has done a pretty solid job with this port to the PSP. Recommended.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSTechnically impressive with great locations, characters and cut scenes.
79%
SOUNDSolid music and effects with some impressive voice acting.
84%
GAMEPLAYThe controls hurt this game quite a bit, but it's still entertaining.
68%
VALUEOnly $49.95 with additional content, still extrememly short overall.
80%
OVERALLGun Showdown is a solid game let down by some awkward controls on the PSP. One for those desperate for some Wild West action.
77%

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