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Game Over Online ~ Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin

GameOver Game Reviews - Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin (c) Southpeak Interactive, Reviewed by - Dave Makic

Game & Publisher Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin (c) Southpeak Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Monday, January 17th, 2000 at 10:59 PM

Divider Left By: Dave Makic Divider Right

The Wild Wild West legacy continues with Southpeak Interactive's Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin. It all began as a Sunday morning television series featuring James West and Artemis Gordon as protectors of the American frontiers. The show was a mesh of fancy gadgets, gun-slinging action, humour and outlandish scenarios. It was shallow, but none the less entertaining. Last year, the action duo made their big screen debuts in the release of the big-budget summer movie starring Will Smith and Kevin Klein. While it seemed like an idea that couldn't miss, the movie flopped. It was shallow and poorly written. Into the picture crawls Southpeak Interactive who, less than a year after the movie was released, has published a game based on the Wild Wild West. Were they able to re-capture the glory of the television show, or the misfortune of the movie?

It's been five years since the brutal assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the rift between the North and the South is finally beginning to mend. That is, until President Grant receives a death threat signed, "The True Executioner of Abraham Lincoln." As Secret Service Agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon, you're job is to uncover the villains behind this ruthless plot and save the President.

The Steel Assassin makes use of several video cut scenes to span the action-adventure sequences. The game is revealed is a series of acts, or scenes, which flip-flop between West and Gordon, with the two heroes intersecting for the climatic finale at Ford's Theater. Much like the movie or television show, the scenes involving West are usually action-oriented, while the scenes involving Gordon take more wits and puzzle-solving to complete.

At the heart of the game is The Wanderer, a train which seems to be everywhere West or Gordon want it to be, despite how outlandish the situation may be. Onboard the train, a messaging system is present for the two protagonists to leave important facts and information. A variety of gadgets and weapons are also at their disposal on the train.

Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin is messier than my humble abode. Each scene featured richly detailed backgrounds and rendered animation but the characters weren't quite as nice, nor the objects and baddies they encountered throughout the game. In terms of sound, Southpeak did a fantastic job fitting voices for the main characters. The actors sounded uncannily like Will Smith and Kevin Kleine during the game. It seems as though most of the audio attention was paid to the voiceovers though, as the rest of the sound was uninspiring. The special effects were bland and the sound did nothing to help the atmosphere of the game.

The adventure elements in Wild Wild West are very traditional. When you enter a scene, you can interactive with the 3D environment, begin conversations with other characters and collect and use objects found at each locale. The far-fetched characteristics that were present in both the television show and movie are also found in the game. That's to say you'll be using some very odd gadgets and applying them in weird and interesting ways. There are actually two difficulty settings for the adventure portion of the game, those being "Give me clues" and "I'll figure it out for myself". You're also provided with a journal where important clues and threads are noted.

Now come the action elements, which seem completely out of place in this adventure title. Usually featuring James West, although Gordon will occasionally get himself into trouble as well, these sequences call upon your skills to defend yourself from enemies using a variety of weapons. Six-shooters and shotguns, for example, are one way to fend off baddies, but other weapons and objects are at your disposal as well. The combat scenes are mouse driven. Once a weapon is ready, the cursor changes into a target reticule. At this point, you can click your mouse to fire your weapon. This requires far less than arcade reflexes and responsiveness is often jerky, even on a solid machine. When you kill an enemy, you can usually pick up 'health' from their bodies to regain strength for future combat. All in all, it's nice to see these action sequences in the game itself, but the design and implementation is far from sound.

Much like many of the television shows, and the movie in particular, Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin ends abruptly with a pair of scenes that feel rushed, not to mention heavily scripted so there's very little interaction at the end. The game failed to hold a level of consistency throughout the acts. The adventure seemed shallow and uninspiring. All in all, it's not a bad gaming experience, but it certainly won't appeal to general adventurers as much as it will to Wild Wild West fans.

Graphics [14/20]
Sound [10/15]
Gameplay [16/30]
Funfactor [12/20]
Storyline [2/5]
Overall Impression [6/10]


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