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1
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
9.0
Sick
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Eidos
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Release date: 11.13.2007
Let?s face it, sometimes we all root for the bad guys. Just look at Scarface or any movie about gangsters. You wouldn?t want to be trapped in a room with any of these guys, but on screen we want them to get away with all the wrong things they are committing. This is exactly the setting Eidos/IO Interactive created in Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, a violent journey into the dark criminal world where a gun is your only true friend.

gameplay
If Quentin Tarantino made a video game it would be Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, because this game has his mark all over it. You play as Kane, a convict who is busted out of jail by a mysterious organization of criminals who want him to retrieve the money he owes them, or they will kill his wife and daughter. To make things worse, Kane is forced to work with a pill popping violent psychopath named Lynch, who has been sent to keep an eye on him.

You know a game is going to be hardcore when its three difficulty settings are Aspirin, Codeine, and Morphine. Kane & Lynch is played in the third person mode, sticking with the basic control scheme of other games in this molding. Most of the time you?re going to be running, ducking for cover, and shooting anything that moves, so get used to constantly tapping the right trigger to fire your weapons. Even though you?re controlling Kane, there are many times when you?re going to need help from Lynch or one of the other members of your gang you pick up along the way. A simple command system allows you to aim your cursor at an enemy and press the ?Y? button to make Lynch jump into action and gun someone down, and tapping the ?B? button brings him running to your side if he?s too far away. Having Lynch by your side is important in a gunfight, because if you get shot he will rush over to you stab a syringe full of adrenaline right into your heart, making you jump up and get back into the fight. If Lynch or another member of your posse falls in the line of fire, you must also perform the same action on them, because if one man dies the mission is over. But you must be careful with how much adrenaline you get because too much will cause you to have an overdose and kill you.

Kane & Lynch is a story driven game where even though every character is a scumbag, you completely care about them, which is something that many games attempt to do with their standard hero characters and can?t pull it off. The main reason for this is that the script is solid and the voice acting is superb, drawing you deep into the world of these dark characters. You want Kane to save his family, you want Lynch to have a blackout that will cause him to kill a room full of hostages, and you want Kane and Lynch to scream outlandish obscenities at each other when something goes wrong. Without any of these elements their world would be false and the gameplay would suffer.

One of the best things about the game is that you are constantly on the run, which builds up tension because there is no time to really stop and think, and at any point you can be killed by anyone being that there is nobody you can actually trust. Lynch and the other fellows you recruit are only in this for the money, and you know that if someone were to offer them one dollar more than you can, they?d put a bullet in the back of your head faster than you can say ?F--k You!? Whether you?re cracking a guy?s head open with a shovel in an auto junk yard, shooting up an office building in Japan, or fighting side-by-side with the rebels in the streets and jungles of Havana, in the end you know it?s all about money and revenge.


All the weapons in Kane & Lynch are high powered joy-toys like Desert Eagle handguns and M-16 assault rifles that fire rounds that will go right through police officer?s Kevlar vest and shatter bullet proof glass to blow a hole through someone?s head. Be warned, this game is super violent with enough naughty language to make a Def Jam Comedy audience blush. When the action breaks loose in many ways it will remind you of the movie ?Heat? that starred De Niro and Pacino, with guys running through pedestrian filled streets firing assault rifles to eliminate any cop that gets in their way; and it?s all done so well that you will be completely immersed.

The controls in the game will make you curse your own obscenities, especially during an intense gunfight when you?re having problems positioning yourself behind a structure for cover, or when you?re surrounded by a group of enemies and attempt multiple times to lock your aim onto one of them as you?re constantly getting hit with gunfire. Pressing the left trigger shifts you into an over the shoulder targeting mode, but it takes a lot of patience to pull off a perfect head shot. The best way to stay alive during a gunfight is to just keep moving and shooting at anything that moves. The enemy AI is pretty weak, so these guys will gun you down if you?re standing in one spot but have difficulty hitting a moving target. When all else fails, you can always rush a gunman before he fires and break his neck, a move that is always satisfying.

If you?re an action aficionado you will notice how the game picks action scenes from various movies and incorporates them into the progress of the story. In one mission you?re hanging from the back of a speeding van exchanging gunfire with a pack of police cars that are on your tail like in Robocop. In another mission your blasting your way out of a bank robbery like in Point Break. Then there?s a mission where you?re rappelling down the side of a building like James Bond. This game works simply because there are so many cool moments to keep you enthralled with the action that?s taking place. The developers did their homework and studied the genre to deliver a virtual crime thriller that could stand toe-to-toe against most movies in the same category.

This game is not for everyone. If you?re not a fan of the genre this game is not going to win you over, and may even offend some. But for those of you who can recite every line from Reservoir Dogs, you will find this game extremely entertaining because Kane and Lynch are the best buddy team in video games since Mario and Luigi. Except Mario is not an ex-con drug runner, and Luigi is not a pill addicted violent maniac who would kill his own mother for a dime?Not that we know of anyway.
graphics
While not the most amazing graphics the Xbox 360 can crank out, Kane & Lynch delivers a believable environment and some awesome cut scenes that are movie quality. Character models look flat in places, and during scenes like the jailbreak you?ll notice that all the prisoners have three face moldings. Sometimes enemy gunmen standby doing nothing as their partner right next to them is being gunned down, and there are issues with slow frame rates and pop-up. Even with these problems, you?re still getting a good looking game which will have you so involved that you will forgive its kinks.

sound
Some of the finest voice acting you?ve ever heard in a game; look away for a moment during the cut scenes and you?ll completely believe this is a Hollywood movie. The dialogue is over the top, but oddly funny, making fun of the genre ---

KANE: Why the hell did you kill all the hostages?!

LYNCH: Because they were waking up.

The soundtrack is also excellent featuring tracks that fit perfectly with the gritty setting. The sound effects are well done, with each gun you fire delivering a different audio effect. And whenever Kane gets shot and is hanging on for life waiting for a hit of adrenaline, just listen to the flashback voices playing in his head and you?ll know that this guy has got some real issues.
replay value
The 16 chapters of the solo game are not very long, and you?ll probably be able to knock it out in about 8-10 hours. There is only an offline split-screen co-op mode, which sucks because this game screams for online co-op. But what Kane & Lynch does offer is one of the coolest multiplayer modes you?re going to find, Fragile Alliance, where up to 8 players are criminals on the same team who must steal cash, jewels and dope from various locations. The idea is that you must all complete the jobs and split the loot evenly, but at any point one of your teammates may turn against the rest and kill you to get your share, and vice versa. Seeking revenge, the team will then try to gun down the traitor to make sure that he doesn?t get away with it. And if you?re killed, you re-spawn as a good guy and must attempt to eliminate the team of criminals you were just working with. It?s refreshing to see a multiplayer mode that is not the basic deathmatch and team deathmatch games, and Fragile Alliance works best because you never know if these guys are working with you, or will turn against you as soon as the stakes get higher. There were some minor issues with lag, and the targeting and cover system are still problematic, but this takes a whole new approach to gameplay.
bottom line
Kane & Lynch is a total thrill ride, and you?ll definitely want to see this pair together again in a new adventure. Rumor has it that already the rights for a film version have been snagged with the possibility of Bruce Willis playing Kane and Billy Bob Thornton playing Lynch?Very nice. The game is not perfect, mainly because of control issues, but Eidos has delivered a game that stands on its own next to their Hitman franchise, and could become a big sleeper hit. Remember, keep your gun loaded and don?t trust anyone.
Review by: Johnny McNair
Posted: 11/30/1999
Gameplay:
9.0
Graphics:
8.5
Sound:
9.0
Replay Value:
8.0
Bottom Line:
9.0
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