Reservoir Dogs


Reservoir Dogs is one of the seminal films of the 1990's.  It birthed a generation of independent film, and placed an emphasis on dialog over action and art.  In fact, the most action filled scenes of the film are relayed entirely through words -- you don't see the jewel store shoot-out, or the car chase.  Instead the tension comes from the viewer constantly being forced to ask, "what comes next".

As a result, the licensed game of the film had little to no chance of living up to it's source material.  Especially so since Quentin Tarantino and none of the actors (with the exception of Micheal Madsen) co-operated with the project.  What the developer was able to do was create a play mechanic that was original, along with mimicking the tone, light and style of the movie perfectly.

It would be natural to assume, given the material and time of the release, that Reservoir Dogs would be either a Max Payne or GTA rip-off skinned with the Tarantino I.P.  It is neither.  The game takes every scene alluded to in the movie, (that was not shown), and lets you play as each of the colored men (Mr. Pink, Mr. Brown etc...).  It does so through two play styles, the most simplest being a driving component, which is competently pulled off.  The second being much more impressive.

For most of the game you will be trying to attain the role of a "professional" rather than that of a "psycho".  Fans of the movie will require no elaboration, but for the rest of you that means this is not a run and gun game.  There is value placed on each life of the game, and you are far better off taking hostages than you are blasting the shit out of your surrounds.  The game features a mechanic in which you grab a hostage and then use that hostage to show that you are serious in your intent.  This then allows you to move cops to put their weapons down and maintain a submission posture.  You have to take new hostages from time to time as your current hostage starts to take on the psychological baggage of being pushed around.

It's a brilliant mechanic that is expertly executed, one that is in no other game I have played.

The script is excellent, steeped in the style and cadence of the movie.  The sound-alike cast, particularly that of "Nice Guy" Eddie is both hilarious and true to the movie.

As a Reservoir Dogs fan (I watch it at least once a year) I loved my time with the game, which had meticulously designed levels.  The only shortcoming being the length; I beat it in less than 8 hours.  But for that time, you could be "stuck in the middle" with a much worse game.

- Phil Fogg