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Video Game / Red Dead Revolver

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

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; Revolver's 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 Revolver characters via DLC.


This game features examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Jack, Annie, Buffalo Soldier, and General Diego all get unique custom guns as their Weapon of Choice with individual names. The Scorpion Revolver is unique as well, with only two of them ever made, with Nate's being apparently destroyed by fire, but not before being used to literally disarm Colonel Daren. The disadvantage to these guns is that ammo pickups don't occur, so once you've run dry, you'll have to switch to another weapon.
  • 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.
  • Alliterative Name: "Blind" Willy Wilson.
  • 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.
  • Ancestral Weapon:
    • Red's Scorpion Revolver, which belonged to his father.
    • The Old Pistol was Nate's originally. He passed it onto Red when he got his Scorpion Revolver made.
  • Annoying Arrows: Native American enemies fire these in the place of firearms.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power:
    • 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.
    • Generally speaking, Revolvers Are Just Better than rifles in terms of accuracy, damage, and reload speed, though the rifle has the advantages of longer effective range and the ability to zoom in on a target.
    • A particularly egregious example comes in the difference between the Six Shooter and the Revolver, which in reality are both slightly different variants of the same gun (The Colt Single Action Army), yet the Revolver is way more powerful than the Six Shooter.
  • Arm Cannon: Colonel Daren has one after certain events in the beginning of the game.
    Dan: Only a cannon could have replaced that man's arm.
  • Arrows on Fire: Shadow Wolf's special move is shooting flaming arrows.
  • 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.
    • To say nothing of a mission to rescue Jack Swift from Pig Josh. Jack seems to go completely insane and will fire endlessly at a single patch of wall and Josh will sometimes get caught in a loop of climbing onto and hopping off a tiny ramshackle structure in the middle of the arena.
  • 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.
    • The Gatling Gun is also this. Any time Red comes across one, it's in an elevated and exposed position, it's a little too accurate for an automatic weapon, making it hard to use it for suppressing fire, and is a turret, meaning that Red has no mobility. It's especially useless against Pig Josh, since Josh will shrug off damage when fired on if facing you and will blast you off the turret once he gets close.
  • Badass Beard Of Evil: Diego.
  • Badass Boast: See You Shall Not Pass! down below.
  • Badass Mustache: Jack Swift and Sheriff Bartlett, among others.
  • Bandito: There's a whole category of Mooks consisting of them, complete with stereotypical accents and Gratuitous Spanish.
  • Bayonet Ya: The Bayonet Rifle. It's not just for show, as it comes with a unique melee animation as opposed to the Pistol-Whipping used for other weapons. General Diego's unique rifle has this ability as well.
  • 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. There's also the Inquisitor, a late game revolver with ornate engravings carried by Mooks and, of course, the Scorpion Revolver has a scorpion inlaid into the grip and engravings on the barrel.
  • 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.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The humble Revolver is available early into the game, does decent damage, can be upgraded and has plentiful ammo for most of the game. Until the Widowmaker becomes available, it's a consistently reliable weapon that will see plenty of use.
  • Bounty Hunter: Red and Jack are heroic types.
  • Broad Strokes: R* confirmed that Revolver isn't canon to the Redemption saga. Despite that, characters and places from Revolver are often mentioned in campfire stories as if they're real, suggesting that there's an overlap and that some version of Revolver's story happened in the Redemption universe.
  • Bullet Time: Red's special ability in single player slows down time to allow the player to line up shots. Averted in multiplayer, where it's similar to Jack's ability.
  • Bullfight Boss:
    • The fight against Sam in the saloon.
    • 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.
    • Pig Josh combines this trope with dynamite.
  • The Butcher: Bloody Tom is a former butcher who turned to crime, and still wears his bloodstained apron and gloves.
  • 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.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Some of the more infamously difficult levels are notorious for their lack of checkpoints. Chief among them are General Diego's infamous bridge level and the final showdown with the governor. Any mistake during these can be costly and will require a complete restart.
  • The Chief's Daughter: Falling Star, Red's mother.
  • Circus of Fear: Professor 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: The custom-made Scorpion pistols are powerful enough to blow a man's arm off with one shot.
  • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sheriff O'Grady's daughter is tied up in the middle of Widow's Patch during the fight with Professor Perry. Jack goes to free her initially, but is interrupted by Perry and his gang, whereupon he has to fight them off. She gets captured again later in the game and Red ends up rescuing her from the mines.
  • Dark Action Girl: Whip-crazy Bad Bessie and Christina, the shotgun-toting lady stripper.
  • Dashingly Dapper Derby: Jack Swift's headwear of choice.
  • Death Mountain: Rogue Valley, Bad Bessie's hiding place.
  • 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.
    • General Diego is technically this to Griffon though Diego would insist that they are partners.
  • 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. Though a Popular rumor is that he secretly left for the quiet retirement he always wanted
  • Dual Boss: Happens very frequently in the game.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Is this big time compared to its successors, the Red Dead Redemption games. In terms of gameplay, Revolver isn't a Wide-Open Sandbox, but is instead more of a linear Third-Person Shooter, albeit with an explorable hub world. The story has a much lighter and wackier tone than the Redemption games, which are more melancholy and realistic reflections on the end of the Wild West era. This is probably due to the fact the game started development before Rockstar acquired Rockstar San Diego—then called Angel Studios—-and thus why it doesn't follow the Rockstar Signature Style; to hammer this down, the company who initially pitched the game was Capcom, a studio whose signature titles have a tone that Revolver would have fit in just nicely.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Jesse Lynch, who is hinted to be undead.
  • Escort Mission: The Siege -level, where you have to watch out for your two partners.
  • Evil Is Hammy: General Diego is as corrupt as they come and absolutely bombast.
  • 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.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Jody the newsie in Brimstone can be found selling papers in this manner. His headlines update after every mission.
  • Fake Difficulty: Absolutely full of it. It's not hard to find players of this game who agree that levels like The Traitor and Siege are entirely dependent on luck rather than skill. The game throws an absurd amount of enemies at you and somehow expects you to deal with them with little problem. And then you have the final duel with the Governor, which comes out of nowhere and the player is expected to have absurd reflexes to defend themselves right away. Also, make one mistake and you replay the level again.
  • 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. He's very much a Frontline General in the mission where he's playable, where he fights off the US Army.
  • 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.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss:
    • Dammit Professor 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 attacks.
  • 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.
  • Guide Dang It!: Unlocking Manny Quinn requires the player to play Showdown Mode with a character linked to their profile and have a cumulative total of six minutes of game time in Showdown Mode while on fire.
  • Hand Cannon: The Scorpion Revolver is available as a New Game+ bonus and its stats outdo every other weapon in terms of both damage output and accuracy, rifles and shotguns included. In a cutscene, Red uses it to blow Colonel Daren's arm off with a single shot.
  • Hub Level: Brimstone allows Red to walk around and talk to the locals as well as check on what bounties need collecting.
  • 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.
  • Improvised Armor: Cooper wears a wooden barrel as body armor.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Manny Quinn's special move is setting himself on fire.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Scorpion Revolver, which has maximum damage and accuracy, fast reload speed and good range.
  • Ironic Echo: "What do you say...partner?" *click* BANG
  • 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 Professor 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 Professor Perry's 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 runs fast and hits hard, and then there's the dynamite.
  • Locomotive Level: The Train Job level where Red has to stop a bunch thieves robbing the train he's in, and the one where you have to stop a train carrying guns.
  • Mad Bomber: Pig Josh, who is fond of throwing dynamite around. He's even fond of blowing himself up, but takes no damage from it. The player isnt as lucky.
  • Made of Plasticine: Colonel Daren, at least in the opening cutscene, where a young Red Harlow takes his father's gun and fires it, messily blowing off his arm.
  • Magic Kiss: Purchasing a kiss from Katie O'Grady will restore Red's health to full.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Mr. Lynch survived being hanged. It shows, as he has hard time keeping his neck straight during his pre-duel scene.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Professor Perry's teleporting, Grizzly's superhuman agility, and Mr. Black and his henchman's questionable vitality.
  • Meaningful Name: Some of the multiplayer characters are this. For example, the barrel wearing bandit is named Cooper. A cooper is someone who makes barrels.
    • There's also Ugly Chris who really lives up to his name, and his henchman Chicken, who's sole claim to outlaw fame was murdering a drunken, washed up old gunslinger while he was sleeping. Tellingly, Chicken has the lowest bounty of any outlaw in the game.
    • "Sissy" Fess is a play on Sisyphus, who was given the punishment of rolling a heavy boulder up a hill every day. Fess throws boulders as his special move.
  • Meek Townsman: Sheriff O'Grady, who lets the local outlaws walk all over him.
  • Mighty Glacier: Mr. Black. He doesnt look like it, but he soaks up a ton of damage and can dish it out as well.
  • 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 from Professor Perry's circus. The background text mentions that they are apparently the offspring of Pig Josh and the circus "batwoman", who disappeared during a storm.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Mr. Black and Mr. Lynch.
  • Noose Necktie: Jesse Lynch still wears the noose that hanged him around his neck.
  • 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, a fact brought in his description. However, his boss bar labels him "Sergio".
    • There's also Buffalo Soldier.
  • 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: At one point the player is locked up in the gold mine of General Diego, and have to fight their way out. On top of that, you also have to find the key before you can leave.
  • 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: One of the available weapons is this. Only one though. The rest of the shotguns are standard length.
  • Scenery Porn: The game offers quite a few scenes of amazing Western scenery.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: The progression of difficulty is all over the place in this game. Some laughably easy levels are often followed by punishingly difficult ones and vice versa. One of the most notoriously difficult levels, The Traitor, told from General Diego's point of view, comes slap bang in the middle of the game.
  • See You in Hell: Last words of many, many mooks.
  • 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'.
  • Spiritual Successor: Its relationship with Red Dead Redemption is really in spirit and name only.
    • It's also a spiritual successor itself, of Gunsmoke.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: At the end of the game, while Red has defeated the Big Bad and avenged his family, he has to leave because, at the end of the day, Big Bad or not, Red has just killed the governor.
  • 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.
  • Three-Act Structure: After the prologue, the game's plot is pretty much divided into three main parts: The first act involves Red collecting bounties around the Territory, the second act concerns his hunt for General Diego and Colonel Daren, while the third act revolves around the Battle Royale and the subsequent assault on the Governor's mansion.
  • Train Job: Red stops one in the first Locomotive Level.
  • The Trope Kid: Kid Cougar one of the competing duelists in the quick draw tournament.
  • The Unfought: Despite being the Bounty for "Railroaded", Harry "Hatchet" Schultz doesn't officially make an appearance, though a lot of the mooks have the same appearances as the man on his wanted poster. Nor does Standing Snake in Buffalo's Escort Mission.
  • Urine Trouble: One of the outlaws in Widow's Patch gets peed on by a dog. He doesn't take kindly to it.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Pig Josh never wears a shirt.
  • 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.
  • Young Gun: Billy "Kid" Cougar. Red also starts out this way; they even share the same voice actor.
  • 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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