Reservoir Dogs off the leash

"We want to keep you in the Reservoir Dogs experience," says Volatile, the developer of Reservoir Dogs. And it's doing just that by exploring deeper into the events of the Quentin Tarantino hit film. We've been close up to the action, and can report for sure that the game is doing well to echo the flavor and atmosphere. That is, it's swearier than 10 drunken sailors and plenty violent.

The demo we were shown gave us an insight into two different levels, and the two separate styles of the game. The first was a third-person shooter showing how Mr. Blue escaped the botched robbery at the heart of the film. The second was a driving mission, casting you as Mr. White as he attempts to speed across town to the gang's hideout without killing Mr. Orange, who lies with a bullet in his guts in the back seat.

Interestingly, Mr. Blue's mission could be completed without the need for bloodshed at all. By grabbing a hostage and walking through the building we saw how you can intimidate any would-be police aggressors by brutalizing your hostage until each copper agrees to drop his weapon and get down. Of course, if you opt for the Mr. Blonde approach - all guns and no questions - that's fine, too, and there's some nifty moves like dodge-rolls and cover-hugging to keep you out of trouble.

The driving mission we saw seemed to be restricted to a pre-determined path through the city, although there were occasional diversions you could take to avoid police. All in all, Reservoir Dogs looks enjoyable, if decidedly current-gen (it's on PS2, Xbox and PC) next to all the spangly new games around. Still, it's a sight more respectful to its filmic inspiration than The Godfather was, and that's enough for us to hail this as a potential winner in the future.

May 15, 2006