Dead to Rights

Release date: 22 August 2003
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Electronic Arts


Namco takes its inspiration from big-budget action movies in its latest run-around-shooting-stuff action adventure, Dead To Rights

Taking a considerable leaf out of Max Payne's book, and stamping it with its own inimitable mark, Namco has succeeded in creating an immensely entertaining game which riffs off John Woo blockbusters and all-action-hero movies to create the ultimate in ultra-violent, ultra-fun gaming experiences. Incorporating run-and-gun antics with puzzle-solving and inventive minigames, Dead to Rights combines more traditional action-adventure elements with some genuinely original touches.

Dead To Rights starts off in a remarkably similar vein to Max Payne, in that the main protagonist (camp name ahoy!) cop Jack Slate is on a quest for justice, after stumbling into a conspiracy at the heart of the city he protects. After being called in to attend a routine incident, Slate becomes embroiled in a convoluted, violent world of crime and corruption, which only he can unravel - if he lives long enough to get to the bottom of it, that is...

Once the noir-esque scene is set, the story begins in earnest, with Slate heading out on a mission to uncover the sinister schemes, and kick some serious arse whilst he's at it. And of course, no hard-nosed cop hell-bent on revenge and justice would embark on such a dangerous mission without first getting armed to the virtual teeth with some of the coolest weapons that Grant City PD's gun cabinet has to offer. Sadly, Slate doesn't have access to the goodies in the cupboard, so you'll have to acquire your weaponry by using a combination of martial artistry and all-out violence. Woo hoo!

Disarming bad guys is where the fun really begins, as you grab unsuspecting goons, snatch their weapon, and deal a spectacularly brutal death-blow to the hapless victim. There's also the option to use your enemies as a human shield, so they take the shots for you, and once they've served their purpose you can deliver the coup de grace in particularly grisly style. Slate can carry several guns whilst on his travels, mostly gleaned from dispatched baddies, so you'll accumulate some pretty impressive weaponry on your travels, including shotguns, sniper rifles and submachine guns. Perhaps the most remarkable 'secret' weapon at your disposal, however, is Jack's trusty friend, police dog Shadow. You can send him into areas that are impossible for you to access, or order him to retrieve items from evil types - all very handy. What's more, there's no need to notify the RSPCA, he always emerges remarkably unscathed from these situations.

In addition to the standard straight-out shooting sequences, Dead to Rights also features some inventive and pretty unique minigames and puzzles to get your grey-matter going along the way. Pick locks, diffuse bombs, and lapdance (yes, lapdance!) out of trouble, using a mix of skill and button-mashing.

It may look very pretty, what with the slo-mo John Woo-style balletic shooting sequences and silky-smooth graphics, but Dead to Rights is much more than a glorified slice of eye-candy. The missions are substantial and involving, and everything you're asked to do makes sense within the context of the wider storyline. Puzzles and tasks are realistic, and the noir-inspired plot gels nicely with the visceral combat sequences.


  • Control Jack's partner Shadow, to sniff out bombs and disarm enemies

  • Use enemies as a human shield for extra protection

  • Play minigames such as benchpressing, bomb diffusal and arm wrestling