Half-Life

Wanted!

  • Review Date: 2001-06
  • Author: Maverick Developments
  • Genre: Half-Life
  • Rating: 75

Review

Wanted! is a new Half-Life addon from the makers of Redemption, Maverick Developments. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity of playing their first masterpiece, Redemption, which was well received by the community. So I couldn't wait for them to wrap up Wanted! and release it upon the masses.

You play the role of Rogan Black. A hard frontier man that holds honor and values above all else. You settle in a quiet little town known as Redrock Creek to spend the rest of your days as the sheriff. A troubled past had been left behind, but it was soon to catch up on you. An old enemy, Ramone, was back in the picture and now it's your job to kill him.

The story is told well over the game, with plenty of interaction with different characters. Particularly the town whore, at least for me...

It takes place in the old west where on your escapades you explore four sections, that seamlessly blend into each other.

The town: a very well designed area at the start and then end of the game mainly. Many little buildings make up the town, although exploration is limited, you are able to explore each of the buildings eventually. Some nice new textures have been used to good effect, and there is plenty of variety. No single building pasted several times here. They capture the warm friendly feeling that your town should have, until you start shooting innocent horses and chickens... and whores.

The mountains: moving out of the town is a particularly long section where you climb through canyons, caves and cliffs. The outdoor terrain is constructed very well, believable and no stroppy amateur brushes. Natural mountains and caves is not an easy thing to do. The gameplay also begins here with the odd scorpion and snake (can we PLEASE move away from tiny enemies that require crouching and repeated slashing with the crowbar). Also some bears and pumas (thankyou) which were very strong opponents.

As we further explore, new small towns or mines blend into the mountainous region very well. As do some proper enemies (at least some of them). First are the miners, a race of inbred, redneck, drunken hillbillies who spend their days, er, mining. The models are a little cartoony, not very realistic. However this may have been the look Maverick were going for. But I'm sure they weren't going for enemies that just stand there doing nothing as you hack away with your weakest weapon. Fortunately they are usually in packs so one may come up behind you and attack. Or the more deadly ones will carry a grenade/tnt stick which can be painful. A fairly poor enemy are the miners, but in large packs combined with speed and grenades can be a challenge.

We couldn't forget the cowboys now. Carrying pistols and having very deadly accuracy. The speed at which which they can accurately shoot a bullet when you duck your stupid head around a corner is no laughing matter. But with some good speed and accuracy yourself, you can have great fun picking them off. Unfortunately, that's when things go wrong with Wanted! As the ammo dropped, replenishments were few and far between.

There were also Indians thrown into the mountain areas. On the odd occassion you may find one of your men dead from an attack, or little Indian tents. The Indians, carrying either a shotgun or bow and arrow, are very good shots. The shotgun Indian will take your head off pretty quick, so you need to be fast to kill them. While the Indians with the arrows aren't quite as fast. Shells for your own shotgun can build up a little here, so it was a great pleasure to blast them away before they could react to your surprise attack. There were several times when they were a little too distant though, and if you've run out of ammo for your pistol (not a tall order) you're screwed and will most likely have to put on god mode to run up to them to use your shotgun.

A great twist on the plot occured when, having killed some bear, the Indians are now your friends because the bear was a great threat to them. So you visit their little town, then carry on your way.

Mexican: this was certainly the worst section of the game. The buildings designs were good in layout, but large plain grey walls and dull textures made the area very boring looking.There were few great setpeices, but it did at least feel a little realistic. The gameplay here was also poor, ammo taking an all-time dive with many enemies with good accuracy.

Eventually you're back where you started at Redrock Creek, and given access to a new area where the boss is hiding. So the point of hiking through mountains, mines, towns, Mexican and Indian villages, was pretty pointless when the end is right back where you started!

Ammunition, was quite a large problem. So it become quite useful that the miners don't need any bullets to kill. There were a few times during the game where god mode had to be used, particularly in the Mexican village. It was helped by the weapons not being very effective. The shotgun was great, the pistol was useful especially for enemies at long range, but most of the other weapons that you'll get ammo for were not very useful. The double shotgun needs to be used basically at point blank to even hit your enemy, while the bow and arrow needs a few wasted shots just to get the aim right.

Apart from these issues, though, gameplay was fairly enjoyable. Just a little frustrating at times. The different range of enemies was welcoming, and the models and skins were good. The weapons also had good models and sounds, although not all were effective. The reload times were also rediculous on some weapons like the double shotgun.

Each of the different styles; mountain, Mexican, town and mine, were well designed with enough set peices and exploration for a professional standard.

Overall, an addon of two halves - great level design but with some frustrating gameplay at times.