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Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . When it comes right down to it, I can overlook a lot the adaptation problems and writing that pales in comparison to what Quentin Tarantino accomplished. Hell, I can even look past the crummy character art and questionable level designs. But what I can't get over is how needlessly repetitive the whole thing is. Instead of adding a new layer of intrigue to the concept, the time-altering mechanic only makes things more frustrating and doesn't work with the theme. This is the type of game that would have benefited from a little variety and a more compelling story. This is just another lackluster dual-stick shooter with a big name attached. But look on the bright side, at least it's not the worst game based on Reservoir Dogs. Rating: 40%
Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
As far as I'm concerned, Reservoir Dogs is a near perfect movie. Instead of being just another violent crime thriller, Quentin Tarantino delivered a film that was more interested in character development than shoot-outs. He let the fast-paced dialog be the action, focusing on what happens after a well-planned robbery spirals out of control and turns into a real nightmare. It's a movie that reminds us that the bloody aftermath can be every bit as gripping as a car chase. With its focus on witty conversations and Madonna references, you might think that Reservoir Dogs would be a challenge to adapt to the video game market. But apparently that's not going to stop developers from trying, because Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days is now the second attempt to turn the 1992 classic into an action-packed shoot-em-up.

In theory, I have nothing against the idea of fleshing out this world and giving us the backstory that the movie only hinted at. Rockstar Games was able to do wonders when they adapted The Warriors a few years back, so I went into this with an open mind. I'll admit to being curious how they could stretch a movie with very little on-screen action into a dual-stick shoot-em-up with almost no story. The result is decidedly mixed, but at least it has one really interesting gimmick that is occasionally fun to play around with.


At its most basic, this is a game that centers around a crew of hired gangsters who all go by colorful names like Mr. Brown, Mr. Blonde and Mr. Pink. We see Joe Cabot instructing the crew to perform a series of jobs around town, such as holding up a bank, robbing a jewelry store, hitting the nightclub and so on so forth. You'll go into each scenario hoping for the best, only to run into resistance from the security guards and the police that always seem to show up. After you've shot your way out of each sticky situation, you'll go on to a new job where exactly the same thing happens.

At first this seems like any other dual-stick shooter inspired by the drug-fueled madness of Hotline Miami. But there's more going on here than simply running and gunning. The game wants you to go into each mission with at least two characters you alternate between. The idea is to go on a killing spree with one and then press the rewind button to turn back time and give the other character a chance to have some fun.

What makes this mechanic so strange is that neither character is controlled by the computer at any point. You'll do all you can with one of the criminals while the other just stands there, taking hits and eventually dying. After you rewind, the other guy will be alive and you'll know exactly where the security and police are coming from. This gives you a chance to take out those attackers while the other guy goes through all of the moves you just made. It's a little confusing at first, but kind of an interesting idea.

The problem is that rewinding time can be trickier than you might think. Because you're essentially recording the exact moves one of the characters will make, any deviation the other criminal makes can accidentally change the outcome in deleterious ways. It's the butterfly effect, where seemingly simple things can get the other guy killed without warning. If you kill a cop too early, the other guy might not be able to pick up the gun he needs to go on the same murder spree you just recorded. This ends up happening more than you might expect, which can become incredibly frustrating in later levels.

Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

But the real problem isn't this curious new time mechanic, but rather the way every stage plays out the same way. Look, I know this is an overhead dual-stick shooter with an emphasis on action, but there's a level of repetition here that started to get to me after a while. The fact that this tries its best to connect to the Reservoir Dogs movie only made it worse, because their terrible burgling skills stuck in the back of my mind the entire time. Something goes wrong in every single mission, which means they'll have to get into a prolonged firefight with the cops and narrowly escape time after time after time. If I knew that 100% of my missions were going to go this way, I probably would just stop. I mean, it's only a matter of time before you get caught or killed. This doesn't make Mr. Blonde and the gang look like slick criminals that were foiled by an undercover cop, but rather a bunch of bumbling fools that luck their way into every success story.

It's this connection to the movie that never quite worked for me. When I think about what I love about Reservoir Dogs, I imagine the clever dialog, the fast-talking characters, the drama of a botched robbery and maybe even K-Billy's "super sounds of the '70s." But none of that is here. Based on Bloody Days, it seems Big Star Games believes the best things about Reservoir Dogs are the black suits and use of colors in everybody's names. With the exception of some cringe-worth attempts to shoehorn movie references into the game, there's really nothing about Bloody Days that feels like Reservoir Dogs. This could have just as easily been based on The Boondock Saints or 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag and nobody would have noticed.

When it comes right down to it, I can overlook a lot the adaptation problems and writing that pales in comparison to what Quentin Tarantino accomplished. Hell, I can even look past the crummy character art and questionable level designs. But what I can't get over is how needlessly repetitive the whole thing is. Instead of adding a new layer of intrigue to the concept, the time-altering mechanic only makes things more frustrating and doesn't work with the theme. This is the type of game that would have benefited from a little variety and a more compelling story. This is just another lackluster dual-stick shooter with a big name attached. But look on the bright side, at least it's not the worst game based on Reservoir Dogs.
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