Review: Mad Dog McCree (3DS eShop)

Send it to the pound

Remember back when Laserdisc games were king and everyone loved them and we were all playing them at home? No? Well, that’s probably because it was never the case, and the really great news is that Laserdisc games quickly came and went before they could do any real lasting damage to the future of gaming. With that in mind, Digital Leisure has decided that it’s time to bring the old “classics” back with Mad Dog McCree on the 3DS eShop.

The story permeating this game is that a villainous rough-rider named Mad Dog McCree has rolled into some anonymous Western American town and has taken the mayor and his daughter hostage. Being a stranger to the town, it makes perfect sense that you would be recruited to save the kidnapped mayor and daughter and free the town from Mad Dog’s clutches. Armed with just your revolver, it’s your job to visit various stock locations from the Old West, such as a saloon and a bank, and murder any evil-doers who stand in your way.

Originally presented as a light-gun style arcade game, Mad Dog McCree’s gameplay fits quite well on the 3DS. Using the touch screen to aim, a cursor appears on the top screen in a corresponding position. Pressing either the L or R buttons fires a round while you aim with the stylus, and pressing either of these buttons without the stylus on screen allows you to reload. The controls are surprisingly tight, but this is about all the game has going for it.

When it comes to presentation, both the visuals and the audio are a disappointment. Like many old Laserdisc games, Mad Dog McCree is more of an interactive movie than anything else. There are no digitally rendered characters or environments, but instead the entire game is made up of footage of actual actors on set. While this may have worked in its original format, it’s often difficult to make out what’s happening on the scaled down 3DS screen. The videos appear grainy, and it can be difficult to differentiate between enemies in the distance and innocent bystanders. It should also be noted that despite this being on the 3DS eShop, there are no 3D visuals at all, and we presume it's only file size limitations that prevented its appearance on DSiWare.

Working along side the poor visuals, the audio levels seems to be set incredibly low. Even with the 3DS’s sound turned all the way up, it’s still difficult to make out what some of the characters are saying if there’s any other noise in the room that you’re playing in. As you might imagine, not being able to see or hear exactly what's going on can be a huge hindrance on the gameplay.

There are three difficulty settings to choose from, but none of them really make the experience drastically different or worth playing through again. With a short campaign that can be finished in no more than 15 minutes, a little more variety in gameplay would have possibly made this game salvageable, but that’s asking for a bit too much. Unless you’re obsessed with getting the highest possible score, Mad Dog McCree won’t last you long.

Conclusion

In all fairness, Mad Dog McCree controls just as well as any light-gun game should work on the 3DS. Beyond that, this title has little to offer in the ways of fun or value. Being able to complete the entire story in under 15 minutes, the price tag tacked onto this one is incredibly steep, and the game definitely isn’t worth its own weight in gold. Unless you’ve played it before and can’t resist the pull of nostalgia, this is one old Dog that isn’t worth the adoption.