Reviewed by Jimmy | 10.25.06
Neversoft and Activision's console version of Gun has been shrunk down for the PSP platform with all the greed, lust, and brutality of the original. Colton White is back on the saddle with a few cards up his sleeve. Draw your six-shooter sonny; it's time to head out to Doge with Gun Showdown.
The original GUN was released last year as a multi-console game along with being slapped into the mix for the launch of the Xbox 360. It has almost been a year and Oxford 's Rebellion (From Russia with Love, Rogue Trooper) has wrangled up an impressive translation for the PSP handheld. Gun's Western setting, storyline, and fun gameplay was surprising to all gamers last year. If you missed the opportunity to check GUN out last year, now you have another option, the portable kind, with GUN Showdown on the PSP.
Last year when GUN was released it was met with some mixed reviews, although always being on the positive, I felt like GUN was a little underrated. Even though it had a few issues the scale was tipped because the game was easy to get into and fun. After running around the old west for a few hours in the PSP revision, Gun Showdown, I can attest that this version is equal to its big brother counterparts. It's actually freaky, how well Gun Showdown performs on the PSP and it might be the whisky, but damn this version looks good and comparable to the Xbox 360.
In case you missed the original GUN, I'll run over the plot. Your character is Colton White a young Gun slinger who is one the warpath for revenge. Colton 's revenge is fueled by the murder of his father, Ned, who is killed during an in-game sequence. Colton wanders town to town collecting clues and uncovering a plot that goes back to the ancient Incas. Filled with your typical rowdy roughnecks, racist warmongers, evil preachers and corrupt mayors, Colton avenges this injustice while seeking out the truth in this crazy mixed up plot. Along with the excellent script writing, GUN is penmanship is backed up with excellent voice talent who act out the lines with conviction. Gun's overall level of production is fairly high and although I wouldn't call up the Academy, I'll give the fella as nice "hell-ya".
With every aspect of Showdown already in good form, from the graphics to the gameplay, I expected more of a straight port from console version. While, Gun Showdown is mainly the same game over again, Rebellion added some more features to the game along with a few extra missions. These missions like robbing a bank are all played in-between plot lines in the game keeping the action slightly fresh for gamers who already played through this adventure. There really isn't a mission that stands out, it's more like an old pair of boots, the more you walk in them, the better they get.
The added features in Gun Showdown actually add more to the game then the extra missions. First improvement and new addition is Colton 's horse, Rouge. You get Rogue early in the game and while I was playing through the levels again, it hit me. Your horse in the original never had a name. Now it's all a little friendlier and Rouge as your trusty new steed can be called up with two fingers and some air. Rouge sticks with you through the entire adventure and actually helps to speed up the overall game. Rather then looking for random horses to tame in the wild, one whistle later and you have your trusty steed. I really like this Lone Ranger type of feature and it makes me wonder why it wasn't included in the first shot of Gun.
The other additions to Gun Showdown come in the way of two new weapons, throwing knifes for silent kills and detonation mines, they also added a small selection of mini-games and multiplayer. These additions are a nice bonus and they are things that should have added to the console version. The mini-games are fun to play for that quick fix without jumping into the story. Poker is on the agenda, the same version that is from the local saloon, along with some shooting skill missions that involve hunting (Quail, Bear) and shooting down villains in four other modes (Hold the Fort, Suppress the Outlaws, Hollister's Dynamite Run and Fire Fight).
For multiplayer we have three games that can be accessed by Ad Hoc. Texas Hold 'Em Poker shows face gain along side the standard, but fun dethmatch mode which supports 1-6 players, and Golden Cross which is like a hunter type game, again supporting 1-6 players. The only new conception is the Golden Cross mode which I found to be the most fun. In this multiplayer game you have to find the Golden Cross and hold onto it while everyone else tries to hunt you down. The winner of the game is the player who holds onto the cross the longest, simple, easy and fun.
The one question thought about before I took Showdown in my hands is, how are the going to handle the controls? Giving the quick movement and freedom of the character the system implement would have to be clever considering there is only one analog stick to work with. Well, my worries have been pushed aside because Gun has been mapped and tweaked as good as it could be. There is a little adjustment time that it takes to get in full swing, but once you get moving they fit nicely into the game and help more than hinder your results. I really liked how they mapped the analog stick to auto target enemies when you're in the quick draw mode, this make the game so much easier and intuitive.
On the negative side Gun Showdown is runs a fairly clean slate. I didn't find too many problems within the game and if I had to slam on one area it's the occasional graphical glitches that come up. I assume this is from the disc loading speeds, and the lack of horsepower. The glitches are mainly apparent on the large open areas and during some cut scenes. Although, I'm a little bit negative on the graphics, Gun still looks good. said earlier in the review, that Gun Showdown can be comparable to the Xbox 360, and it is still true. This nod goes for the excellent definition on the PSP screen and the excellent translation, everything really looks crisp and sharp like you would expect on a HD TV. I bet if we hade a few more horses under the hood, all Guns would be firing at once.
Activision had a good idea when they brainstormed bringing Gun to the PSP handheld. It just so happens that this handheld version plays just as good or better then the console version in some respects. Gun Showdown does have some nice features that have been added to spice up this year old game, but it's not really enough to warrant owning both versions. For gamers who haven't walked in the boots of Colton White, gunslinger, I'd put Gun Showdown on the top of your must own list. A little old, a little remixed, but still intensely fun, Gun Showdown is one of the best action shooters available for the PSP and I highly recommend a high noon showdown. Hoodoo Brown endorsed!