Mad Dog McGree 1 and 2, and CRIME PATROL 3DO

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Mad Dog McCree is the first live-action laserdisc video game released by American Laser Games. It originally appeared as an arcade shooting game in 1990.
It gained a lot of attention for its real-video style, bearing similarities to recent Hollywood westerns. It featured on the 1992 series of GamesMaster as the last challenge of the very first show, and then later in the 1992/1993 series as a celebrity challenge with Josie Lawrence playing. Both contestants were successful in their challenges.

The player assumes the first-person role of "the stranger", a nameless individual who rides into a small, peaceful, unnamed town and finds that the mayor's daughter has been kidnapped by a gang of outlaws working for a villain named Mad Dog McCree. He is given a short introduction to the aforementioned girl by an old prospector, and the possibility to go through target practice involving bottles on a fence, and some being tossed in the air and shot by the player; after this, the Prospector fills him in on the situation. The stranger is told that "Mad Dog McCree and his gang have taken over the town" and that both the mayor and his daughter are imprisoned in the gunfighter's hideout, while the sheriff has been locked up in his own jail by the gang. It is at this point that the first enemy appears and attempts to shoot the prospector; like all others, the gang member must be shot to avoid losing a life, one of three.
Mad Dog McCree set the trend for most future American Laser Games releases, driving the action forward by having the player shoot villains, with few other decision-making situations. The action takes the stranger through several locations, including a saloon, where a man named One-Eyed Jack holds the keys to the prison cell holding the sheriff, a bank in the middle of a robbery, a corral and a jail. One must also find a map, hidden inside a mine, to Mad Dog's hideout, reach the hideout by correctly following road signs, free the mayor and his daughter, and confront Mad Dog in a final showdown, all the time eliminating members of the man's posse.

The game is the first of several to use the same simple engine, in which almost all possible actions are performed using the player's six-shooter, controlled by a mouse or light gun in the PC version. The gun is useful for eliminating villains, choosing paths, selecting locations, reloading and shooting cow skulls and spittoons, which temporarily gives the player additional ammunition. Three difficulty levels are available from the beginning.
The main portion of the game is interspersed with several different types of showdowns with random villains, in which the stranger begins with no ammunition and must quickly reload and shoot at the right time, in order to shoot the enemy first. In parts of the game which are not showdowns, reloading can be done an unlimited amount of times and at any time during gameplay. Shooting a bystander or getting hit by a gunfighter results in the loss of one life out of three and is followed by a clip showing an old undertaker commenting on the player's actions.
The arcade edition of the game has been released with four different hardware setups, using a laserdisc player, a 3DO, and a PC-based system. Home versions were released for the Sega CD, PC, CD-i, Mac CD-ROM and 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. Mad Dog McCree was the first in a series of American Laser Games releases to be reissued by Digital Leisure with updated video and sound quality in 2002 for DVD, playable with a standard DVD remote. In the DOS version, two-player support is available. There is also a single save/load slot, which can be used to save and restore the action at any time.
In 2009 the game was released for the Nintendo Wii as part of the Mad Dog McCree Gunslinger Pack. Included in this collection are its sequel Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold and The Last Bounty Hunter. In 2011, it was released for iOS. On June 14th, 2012, it was released on the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS.

Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold is a live-action laserdisc video game produced by American Laser Games, released for the arcade, Sega CD, 3DO, CD-i and PC (under DOS), the first release being in 1992; the quality of the video is the lowest on Sega CD. A sequel to the moderately popular Mad Dog McCree, the game abandoned the rather simple style of the original, introducing elements that can be considered "Hollywood", including dynamic shootout scenes and in-game music, as opposed to the original's almost complete lack thereof. Like the first game, Mad Dog II is a single-player first person perspective game where the player follows the storyline and is required to quickly shoot certain enemies to proceed on the quest. The game was rereleased by Digital Leisure in 2003 on DVD-Video and again in 2009 on the Wii as part of the Mad Dog McCree Gunslinger Pack, a compilation that also includes the first Mad Dog game as well as The Last Bounty Hunter.

American Laser Games is famous for their full motion light gun shooters that hit the arcade. Their games feature full motion video sequences with different outcomes from shooting at different things. Quick reaction time and memorization make the games rather simple. However, when these were ported over to various home systems, controllers were more often then not used as replacements for the light gun. While a light gun does exist for the 3DO system, it is so expensive and so hard to find that all of American Laser Games home ports are all but useless now. Simply including a light gun with every game would have helped tremendously. After all, they charged $69.95 for their 3DO titles. There should have been something extra for that much money.

Ignoring the light gun debacle for now, Crime Patrol is a decent game. The game is full screen full motion video in which various scenes are played and the player must react to what is being shown. More often than not, someone jumps out with a gun and you have to shoot him or her before you are shot. A successful shot moves the video along while a miss kills you. While the concept may not be ground breaking, the interactive video aspect of it certainly adds an interesting twist, if nothing else.

You start out as a rookie in the police force, just trying to earn a living as you work your way up the ranks. There are four ranks that you can obtain, starting with rookie and ending with Delta force. In each rank there are three stages which you must complete in order to advance rank. The player is not required to do them in any specific order, which is nice because the player can start with the hardest one first, as not to waste continues.

Each stage is quite different from another one. In what could only be a fictional city, there is crime everywhere and everyone has a gun from strip club owners to construction workers to people hiding behind big screen TVs in an electronics shop. It appears that unless these people are wearing a police uniform, they are bad and need to be shot. Never mind the fact that when a police officer fatally shoots someone, he or she is put on paid administrative leave for several months while an investigation is conducted. You can shoot all you want, so long as the person being shot has a gun.

The stage design is actually pretty spectacular. It is clear that a lot of money was spent on making this game actually look like a movie. There are stunts that are unexpected for a video game such as cars flipping through the air and people falling off of parking garages. There are even strippers (although unattractive), which is an oddity for a game form this era.

Since all the budget was spent on scenery and props, there obviously was not enough to hire extras to play the bad guys. Several people show up multiple times as a "new" bad guy to be shot all over again. It can be supposed that since the criminals are only shown for a brief second that no one will notice the gang member from the rookie stage is also in a bank robber in the third stage. Forget about the fact that he was shot and killed earlier. This is noticeable in the very first play through and does detract from the sense of reality (not that video games should be considered reality to begin with).

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the game is the almost believable acting ability of your partners. Typically, games like this are laughed at for bad acting. While none of the actors here are good by the standards of Hollywood, they certainly are good by the standards of the video game industry. However, with the amount of times the controller player will die, the quick one liners that they deliver do get annoying fast. These seemingly never funny phrases are dull to begin and when you die for the fiftieth time, you will be reaching for the mute button on the remote.

Maybe you should not reach for that button too quickly, because aside from the annoying one liners, there are some decent sounds and music within the game. While nothing here is ground breaking, the CD quality audio sounds pretty good, especially when listed to through surround sound or with the headphone jack on the controller.

One aspect that is somewhat disappointing, is the fact that there seems to be no story at all. You get thrown into the game with no background on yourself or on any of your partners. There does not seem to be one head bad guy whom all the others report to. There is not anything to suck the player in and keep him or her interested. Why are we joining the police force and do we really want to be fighting terrorists in the later stages?

Graphically, the game is amazing. The video flows quite well, and at full screen too. There are no boarders or panels that shrink the video size. For the most part, you can see everything on the screen and make out almost everything that you see. There are times when it becomes a little difficult to see where exactly someone popped up and shot you from in the strip bar scene as well as a few others, but after a couple of plays, you will memorize where they are and it will not be an issue.

What was already described as the worst aspect of the game needs to be elaborated on. The controls are just outright terrible -- assuming you are using a controller and not a light gun. This game is meant to be used with a light gun. A player lacking a light gun can still use a standard controller, however it is more trouble than it is worth. You have to move a cursor along the screen in order to shoot someone. The cursor moves so slowly that it is impossible to move it from one side of the screen to the other before you get shot.

Pressing the B button or the C button moves the cursor along the screen at a greater speed. However, the cursor moves so fast that you cannot accurately target someone. More often than not, the cursor will move far past the gunman. The frustration level will turn most players off immediately. As if that was not enough, in order to reload your gun you must move the cursor to the bottom of the screen and fire once. In the middle of a shoot out in which you are having trouble getting everyone, the last thing you want to do is move the cursor to the bottom to reload. The controls without a light gun are so abysmal that no one will want to suffer through to the end. The lack of a light gun included with the game takes an otherwise decent game and destroys it.

Overall, Crime Patrol is a decent game. The graphics are superb, the action is intense, and the levels look great. However, if you try to play the game without a gun, you will find your self in a deep state of anger. The game will probably end up in the trash or on eBay the very next day. The bad controls even take away from the novelty of strippers in the second rank.

What American Laser Games did wrong in many of there other titles, they actually fixed for Crime Patrol. However, without the inclusion of a light gun, you may as well not bother. Without a story, there is no reason to play this game unless you thoroughly enjoy light gun shooters. If you have the elusive 3DO light gun, then this game may provide some entertainment. If not, then do not even think about this game unless you like to be frustrated and enraged.

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