Dead to Rights

Dead to Rights has a very simple story line. Good cop pushed over the line by the death of someone close to him. Namco puts you in the shoes of Jack Slate. After finding out about the death of his father, you begin the investigation on your own, with the exception of a K-9 named Shadow. Although the story sounds like any generic one, Dead to Rights is not your average third person shooter.


An intuitive control system that is easy to learn, and fun to use. Though the gunplay targeting system doesn't always make the best choice when picking an enemy, most of the time it is satisfactory, and you can always re-target if you want to shoot someone else.

Dead to Rights is one of the few games that isn't afraid to mix genres. Gunplay, beat-em-up action, and puzzles all are integrated into Dead to Rights. Though some may be turned off to this mix of genres, I found it quite refreshing. Every once in a while after blasting or fighting your way through an area, you may have to complete some puzzles or mini-games in order to progress. Though they may seem unnecessary, I found all of them entertaining and a break from the same-old gameplay. This variety of play modes kept me more interested in the game, and prevented me from losing interest as I did with Max Payne. The gunplay system is fantastic, and in my opinion is superior to that of Max Payne's. Instead of the free-look engine Max Payne offers, Dead to Rights includes a lock-on targeting system, where you can cycle through enemies to shoot with the right trigger. With the left trigger you can crouch, the A Button shoots the targeted enemy, the B button uses keypads,etc, and also performs disarms (where you grab a nearby enemy, crack his neck, and steal his gun) or allows you to take a human shield, depending on whether you have a gun or not. The Y button allows you to Dive in realtime or slow-mo (a la The Matrix/Max Payne). All in all, a fantastic gunplay engine. Some have complained about the hand-to-hand fighting engine because it is too simplistic, but I found it to be very satisfactory. It is similar to that of Final Fight, with a Punch, Kick, Throw, and Block button. It was nice to beat my way through some missions just focusing on finding openings to attack instead of having to remember special moves and whatnot. There are other interesting stages that mix up the action too - like a helicopter assault stage, where you get to blow away enemies from the turret of a helicopter. Cool stuff. Dead to Rights is relatively difficult, but certainly not the hardest game I've played. And, for some reason, it's strangely addictive and satisfying to play.


Graphically the game does not push the limits of the XBOX, however the game has an excellent atmosphere and presentation. You will likely not find a game with a cooler title screen than Dead to Rights. The quality of the graphics in this game look like one of the better PS2 games (without the jaggies).


This game features an excellent musical score, quality sound effects, and a very immersive experience. Dead to rights outputs a realtime Dolby Digital 5.1 signal in-game, however the center channel is silent during gameplay. The surround channels are frequently used during gameplay to accent bullets flying past your head and gun blasts panning around you as you move. There is little ambient sound, such as wind or echoes, present in the surround channels; they seem to be used mostly for directional gunfire effects. Cutscenes also feature Dolby Digital 5.1, and during these movies the center channel is in fact utilized, primarily for dialogue.

Bottom Line:

Dead to Rights seems to be a call back to "old school" gaming, where reflexes, adrenaline, and fun were more important than making your game seem like a believable movie. Any fan of "old school" action will likely want to pick up this great game, which is currently one of my favorites on XBOX.

-Pete Calderwood