Dead Man's Hand - PC

Got packs, screens, info?
Dead Man's Hand (PC)
Also for: Xbox
Viewed: 3D First-person Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Human Head Soft. Co.: Atari
Publishers: Atari (GB)
Released: 2 Apr 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
No Accessories: No Accessories


It's been quite a while since the concept of cowboys has graced the gaming world - quite surprising really, considering that it makes for ideal subject matter, what with all the action, danger and guns of your average John Wayne-type movie. Well, not exactly hot on the heels of classic western-em-ups such as Sunset Riders and Mad Dog McCree, Dead Man's Hand brings all the saloons, spitoons and six-shooters to the PC, courtesy of a modern day first-person shooter.

The game sees you step into the spur-clad boots of one El Tejon, a master gunslinger riding with one of the roughest gangs in the West, known as The Nine. When the ruthless leader of The Nine betrays El Tejon, he is left with no option but to turn to a life of vengeance and embark on a quest to put every member of his former gang six-feet under. And that would be nine of them, you see?

Thankfully retaining every well-loved cliche of the films from where it draws its inspiration, the adventure sees you travel the American Frontier, experiencing the likes of bar fights, shoot-outs, stagecoach chases, and a host of other definitively Western scenes. Along the way, all your favourite iconic images are in abundance, such as six-shooters, rifles, black hats, horses, hombres, dancing girls, riverboats, and, as an added bonus, saloon poker.

Besides the typical straight shooting, the game also incorporates a number of other unique gameplay elements taken from the Old West. Along the way, you get to try your hand at the likes of blasting desperados from the back of their trusty steed and shooting it out on a moving train (but mind your head when those tunnels crop up!). In addition, as the game progresses, you acquire what's known as 'Legend', a scoring system that awards points based on your performance and cowboy skills. When accumulated, Legend enables you to pull off stunts such as trick shots and death-defying feats.

The aforementioned poker also plays a fairly large role throughout Dead Man's Hand. Before each mission you get to sit down to a game of poker, which kind of serves as a bonus round, awarding you with such necessities as health, ammo or 'Legend' if you play your cards right.

With over 20 adventures on offer, taking you through deserts, hills, towns, mountains, mines and cities, as well as the inclusion of nine accurately modelled Old West firearms, knives and (of course) dynamite, Dead Man's Hand is more or less the answer to every Western fan's prayers. And who can honestly say they've never dreamed of being John Wayne before? Eh?

(Cue heavily-tremolo'd minor chord on a Fender Strat plus some eerie whistling...)