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Video Game: Red Dead Revolver

Red Dead Revolver is a third-person shooter from 2004, developed by Rockstar Games after sitting in Capcom's Development Hell for a while.

You play as Red Harlow, who after being violently orphaned at a young age becomes a bounty hunter in classic Man With No Name tradition, hunting down colourful outlaws for whatever money he can get for them. A chance encounter puts him on the trail of the man behind the death of his parents, and the game climaxes in a huge battle to finally bring him to justice.

Sound vaguely familiar? That's because the game's an extended homage to the classic Spaghetti Western, as least as much as its predecessor Max Payne was to film noir. A lot of effort went into the atmosphere, including giving an oversaturated and 'grainy' cinematic quality to the visuals and building a fantastic score heavily influenced by (and almost indistiguishable from) Ennio Morricone's best.

Despite having very little hype and a disjointed production poking into the gameplay here and there, with its superb atmosphere, large and memorable cast and extremely fun multiplayer on its side Red Dead Revolver got good reviews and became something of a Cult Classic. In 2010, it was followed by the huge hit and critical darling Red Dead Redemption, which borrowed the game's Western setting but gave it a sandbox framework (well more of one anyway, the main town hub is explorable). It isn't a direct sequel though the story of the game does get a mention and you can play as character via DLCs.


This game features examples of:

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The same snake oil that Professor Perry's poisoned entire communities with (and makes anyone else putrefy if they get it on their skin) apparently acts as a Super Serum on the man himself.
  • Action Girl: Annie Stoakes.
    • Dark Action Girl: Whip-crazy Bad Bessie and Christina, the shotgun-toting lady stripper.
  • All There in the Manual: Background information for about everything can only found in the in-game journal, which is filled by buying various items.
  • Alliterative Name: "Blind" Willy Wilson.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Scorpion Revolver.
  • Annoying Arrows
  • Arbitrary Gun Power
  • Arm Cannon: Colonel Daren has one after certain events in the beginning of the game.
  • Arrows on Fire: Shadow Wolf's special move.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI is quite buggy in places. Most notably, Annie Stoakes (when you have her as an ally in single player) has an annoying habit of shooting you in the back with her explosive special ability - usually while shouting "Keep going, Red!" - and there are several multiplayer maps where AI opponents will just stand around where they spawn or time-consumingly climb to high places.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The exquisite pair of Scorpion pistols that Nate Harlow and Griff have custom-made are also the most powerful in the game. One bullet was enough to sever Colonel Daren's left arm from its socket.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Molotov cocktails, poison bottles and dynamite. Although they're very dangerous, they're lofted with a lazy underarm action that makes hitting a moving target almost impossible. The latter also has an extremely long fuse.
    • Several character-specific special abilities in multiplayer also cross into this.
  • Badass Beard Of Evil: Diego, who's also a Badass Grandpa.
  • Badass Boast: See You Shall Not Pass down below.
  • Badass Mustache: Jack Swift and Sheriff Bartlett, among others.
  • Bandito
  • Bayonet Ya: The Bayonet Rifle
  • Big Bad: Governor Griffon, your father's former partner, who sold you and your family out to Diego and Daren, and used the proceeds to become Governor.
  • Big Fancy House: The second-to-last level takes place in one of these
  • Bling Bling Bang: The Widowmaker revolver is one pimped out piece.
  • Bond One-Liner: Jack Swift after killing knife-thrower Clyde 'The Blade' Slade: "I think you've lost your edge."
    • Jack Swift after killing fire-eater 'Lightning' Larouche: "What an extinguished fellow."
  • Book Safe: You can purchase a "Hollowed Bible" from a merchant in the game. It has no in-game use, but it unlocks a journal page.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Buying Red Eye Whiskey will increase your maximum Dead Eye.
  • Bounty Hunter: Red and Jack are heroic types.
  • Bullet Time
  • Bullfight Boss: Sam.
    • Annie Stoakes also faces a pair of buffalo-riding outlaws who can cause her cattle to go nuts and try to flatten her, making them a literal example.
  • Captain Ersatz: Mr. Kelley has an adopted daughter named Natalie who he's training to be a gunfighter like himself. If Red speaks to her in the saloon, she will sometimes say:
  • The Cavalry: Inverted. They show up at the usual time, but they're on the Big Bad's payroll.
  • The Chief's Daughter: Falling Star, Red's mother.
  • Circus of Fear: Dr. Perry leads one of these.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Daren doesn't let having his left arm severed stop him from being Diego's right-hand man; he receives a cannon as a prosthetic replacement. He's also responsible for murdering Red's parents and his cousin.
  • Cool Guns
  • Crowd Panic: During his boss battle Mr. Kelley starts unloading at random into the citizens of Brimstone, causing them to scream and run all over the place. This makes it very hard to get a clean shot at him.
  • The Dandy: Jack Swift.
  • Dark Action Girl: Bad Bessie.
  • Death Mountain: Rogue Valley.
  • Distressed Damsel: Sheriff O'Grady's daughter.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The bridge in the level where you play as General Diego looks exactly like the bridge towards the end of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Both of them are even blown up!
  • The Dragon: Colonel Daren to General Diego.
    • Also Jason Cornet to Governor Griffon, to the extent that the former is the last bodyguard Red faces before going up against Griffon himself.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Though it is implied, Jack Swift is apparently killed off entirely offscreen at the end of the game. You don't even see the fight that kills him; he just goes off with Annie and doesn't come back. However, in Red Dead Redemption there is mention of him, as well as being able to use him in mutli-player.
  • Dual Boss: Happens very frequently in the game.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Jesse Lynch.
  • Escort Mission: The Siege -level.
  • Evil Is Hammy: General Diego.
  • Expy: Red is obviously modeled after Clint Eastwood, more specifically The Man with No Name from The Dollars Trilogy, and Josey Wales from "The Outlaw Josey Wales".
  • Finger Gun: Young Red does this at the opening of the first level.
  • Fisticuffs Level: One level sees you start a bar fight, in which you can only use your fists and strategically wielded bottles.
  • Flare Gun: General Diego's special move, which is used to guide cannonfire in his level.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Diego.
  • Funny Foreigner: Gabriel Navarro, Mexican gunfighter and barfly.
    "Keel heem, and let's get back to dreenking!"
  • Gatling Good: The preferred Old West method of delivering More Dakka. A few stationary ones are scattered about the game, and you are required to commandeer a train cart-mounted one to take down a locomotive during one level. Also, Mr. Black likes to keep one in that coffin on his back.
  • General Ripper: Diego again.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Dammit Dr. Perry, stop teleporting!
    • Dammit Kelley, stop running into crowds of innocent bystanders!
  • Ghost Town: Tarnation, thanks to Mr Black.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: In the bar fight level, the only actual weapons you can use are bottles (thrown intact, or broken and wielded like a knife).
  • Groin Attack: One of your melee attack.
  • Guns Akimbo: Jack with his custom "Showstoppers." Red also has the option of carrying dual pistols.
  • The Gunslinger: The main characters.
  • Gun Twirling: Notably practiced by Red and Jack on their introduction screens.
  • Hub Level: Brimstone
  • Improbable Weapon User: Where to start? We've got snake oil, boulders, a mining pick, a torch, a lasso, coffee, exploding balistic knives, exploding playing cards, shoulder-mounted howitzers, and a coffin with a freaking gatling gun in it.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Manny Quinn's special move.
  • Ironic Echo: "What do you say...partner?" clickBANG
  • Ironic Nickname: "Sissy" Fess, huge guy who can easily throw huge boulders at you.
    • Also "Little Oaf" Whitney, who began being called "Loaf" after he turned out to be quite a bit larger than his father, "Big Oaf".
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Said by one of the mooks in Shadow Wolf's level.
  • Kill It with Fire: Getting set on fire does a huge amount of damage in single player, and while you're running around trying to beat the flames out you can't defend yourself. In addition, anyone on fire will set anyone they bump into on fire, who will set anyone they bump into on fire, etc... meaning that one flaming attack can cause utter carnage with a bit of luck.
    • One of Dr. Perry's cronies is a fire eater who puts his skills to deadly use against the player. You'll also acquire throwable "Fire Bottles" and Shadow Wolf has the ability to shoot flaming arrows.
  • Knife Nut: Clyde "The Blade" Slade, a member of the Circus of Fear.
    • Also Fawkes whom you encounter in the Train Job -level.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: In multiplayer mode, it's often the most poorly-armed characters who have the most devastating special moves.
    • Inverted rather amusingly in the case of Sheriff O'Grady - his special move is the almost-useless 'Hot Coffee', (you throw a bottle at your enemy, doing minimal damage, and they dance around for a second while their clothes steam) but he starts out armed with a stack of Fire Bottles.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Pig Josh.
  • Locomotive Level
  • Mad Bomber: Pig Josh.
  • Made of Plasticine: Colonel Daren, at least in a certain cutscene.
    • To specify, it's one of the opening cutscenes. A young Red Harlow takes his father's gun and fires, messily blowing off Col. Daren's arm.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Mr. Lynch.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Dr. Perry's teleporting, Grizzly's superhuman agility, and Mr. Black and his henchman's questionable vitality.
  • Meek Townsman: Sheriff O'Grady, who lets the local outlaws walk all over him.
  • Mighty Glacier: Mr. Black.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Red is half-native, but he's never looked down upon because of his origins. It also becomes handy when it emerges that his grandfather, the Chief, still cares about him and sends his cousin to save him when he's captured
  • Monster Clown: Early on you do battle with an army of shotgun wielding midget clowns.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Mr. Black and Mr. Lynch.
  • Of Corsets Sexy:
    • Bad Bessie wears little more than a corset.
    • The Saloon girls combine this with Stocking Filler.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Duellist.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The voice actor for Red can't really decide whether or not he wants to use a "western" accent, and since Red doesn't speak very much, the accent used for Red changes in pretty much every scene that he does speak in.
  • Pistol-Whipping: An option for melee combat.
  • Powerful Pick: Gordon "Digs" Fowler's signature weapon.
  • Prison Episode: The escape from the gold mine.
  • Punny Name: Manny Quinn the wooden dummy, "Sissy" Fess (who throws rocks as his special move).
  • Quick Draw: Several enemies will engage you in quick draw duels throughout the game. You're also required to participate in a quick draw tournament late in the game.
  • Railing Kill: Can be done to one of the rifle-mooks on the third level.
  • Red Baron: Most of the bandits have nicknames of some sort.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Revolvers is all there is, cowboy - at least as far as handguns are concerned. But the best gun in the game IS a revolver rather than a rifle or shotgun.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun
  • Scenery Porn: The game offers quite a few scenes of amazing Western scenery.
  • See You in Hell: Last words of many, many mooks.
  • Shoot the Dog: One of the outlaws in Widow's Patch does this. Red doesn't take kindly to it.
  • Shout-Out: Being highly based upon The Western, in particular SpaghettiWesterns, the game has plenty of shoutouts to various cowboy films.
  • Showdown at High Noon: A pretty well-executed game play mechanic. It's also how you finish off the Big Bad.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The saloon's player piano keeps going during the bar fight level so you get glassed and thrown through tables to the perky sounds of 'Oh, Susannah' and a ragtime version of 'Flight of the Bumblebee'.
  • Take That: One opponent in the duelling contest seems quite closely based on Leonardo DiCaprio's cocky young gunfighter from The Quick And The Dead. Red guns him down and doesn't even give him a respectful tip of the hat.
  • Train Job: Red stops one in the first Locomotive Level.
  • The Trope Kid: Kid Cougar.
  • Urine Trouble: One of the outlaws in Widow's Patch gets peed on by a dog. He doesn't take kindly to it.
  • Whip It Good: Bad Bessie's special move.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The Quick Draw tournament is a reference to Sam Raimi's The Quick and the Dead.
    • Interestingly, Red Harlow's name is a reference itself to the book The Quick and the Dead by Louis L'Amour (there's no relation between the movie and the book beside a name, however), where the main antagonist's name is Red Hyle.
  • The Wild West: The game is set during the Old West.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The third-to-last level has you facing up to six bosses at once.
  • Wolverine Claws: Grizzly's weapons of choice.
  • World of Badass
  • Young Gun: Billy "Kid" Cougar. Red also starts out this way.
  • You Shall Not Pass: In a rare villainous example, General Diego and his troops do this to the American army.
    General Diego: I have a case of cigars and a case of tequila, and I'm not going anywhere!


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alternative title(s): Red Dead Revolver
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