When it comes to the Red Dead series, people tend to call attention to two titles. One is Red Dead Redemption and its telling of the Marston family’s story. The other is the recent Red Dead Redemption 2, which gave people a long-awaited sequel that acted as a prequel and provided the Red Dead Online experience. But, there’s more to it than that. There’s also Red Dead Revolver to remember, a PlayStation Classic that set the stage for these other beloved games.
Come and Listen to a Story ‘Bout a Man Named Red
Red Dead Revolver taps into the sorts of characters and themes people expect from Spaghetti Westerns. Like the spiritual successors Red Dead Redemption and its sequel, we follow a a man who’s willing to do anything to get the job done. In this case, it is Red Harlow, a man trying to get revenge on the men responsible for his parent’s deaths and who is the primary protagonist. (However, he’s often joined by friends and even relatives, with other people occasionally being playable.) He’s a bounty hunter whose journey can keep him on the right and wrong sides of the law. There are cowboys. We interact with Native Americans. Outlaws are everywhere.
But, people also have to consider Red Dead Revolver’s age and the nature of its development. When it got its start, it wasn’t envisioned as an open world sort of game like Grand Theft Auto. It was supposed to be like the Capcom arcade game Gun Smoke. This means that your one town, Brimstone, is more of a hub area. It is a chapter game with levels that tell Red’s story as he takes on bounties. This third-person shooter was a beginning, only touching upon some ideas and concepts that would later show up in other games.
Did You Say Capcom and Gun Smoke?
Indeed I did! Good eye! Red Dead Revolver is one of those games that had a troubled development cycle. You know Rockstar San Diego? Well, it once was Angel Studios. Capcom was working with them to make Red Dead Revolver as a Gun Smoke spiritual successor. It was still going to be a revenge story with multiple playable characters, but things didn’t go as planned.
Namely, Red Dead Revolver wasn’t hitting development targets. Its life began in 2000, with Capcom officially revealing it in 2002. It ended up not progressing enough to be shown at some events, like the 2002 Tokyo Game Show, so Capcom canceled it. Rockstar Games liked the idea and look of it and picked up both the IP and developer from Capcom as of December 2003. Changes were made, elements were altered, characters were created, and a new story was ready to be told. While it wasn’t perfect, the idea of Red Dead proved to be a good one and led to Rockstar San Diego making Red Dead Redemption.
Heading Back to Brimstone
For now, Red Dead Revolver is interesting as a period piece. People who play it can see the roots of Red Dead Redemption. The story of a father and son who have been betrayed and need to seek justice. The beginnings of the Dead Eye ability were there. And, for $14.99 on the PlayStation Store, Red and his allies can ride again on the PS4 with this PS2 Classic.