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by Digital Leisure

maddog-01.jpg (6596 bytes)I remember Mad Dog McCree from my childhood. At the time I was fixated on Dungeons and Dragons, which I played compulsively on my friend’s Intellivision when we weren’t playing Baseball or that tank wars game. His dad brought home a laserdisc player, and one of the big silver records he brought with it was Mad Dog McCree. It was a simple game – shoot the bad guys and watch the story unfold. The live action and downright wackiness appealed to me. Many years passed, during which I occasionally thought of the laserdisc games I played so long ago. Trying to explain them to friends was frustrating and unfulfilling; I often wondered if I was the only person to play these games.

dead-01.jpg (6634 bytes)And now, some 15 or more years after I initially encountered it, here I am staring Mad Dog McCree in the face again. Finally, I have proof of these wacked out laserdisc games, and like many things in life, they seemed much better buried in the glow of memory. Confronting them again in reality is a lot like downloading old Saturday morning cartoons from X-Entertainment – just not as much fun as I remembered.

saloon2-01.jpg (7490 bytes)The basic premise of Mad Dog McCree is that you play a gunslinger who has rolled into town to rid it of the titular villain. McCree and his gang have kidnapped the Mayor and his daughter, and you’ll have to make your way through a whole mess of scoundrels in order to save them. Along the way you meet a variety of colorful characters and gun down a whole lot of cowboys. The whole game is live action, although the acting is more Charles in Charge than Shakespeare in Love. It looks like a whole bunch of stunt men and women, along with a handful of extras, took over Tombstone, Arizona for a day and had way too much sarsparilla.

outlaws-01.jpg (7238 bytes)The game can be played on a DVD player, and is controlled with the directional buttons and the enter (or sometimes play) button. It is awkward to use a regular DVD remote, so those of you with PS2s or Xboxes will want to use your controller. The game requires you to shoot different targets, sometimes in fairly rapid succession. It features the trademark slight delay found in many live action, video clip games.

prospector-01.jpg (7180 bytes)Mad Dog McCree is basically an interactive movie because it has many more movie elements than game elements. And it’s not a very good movie. It has a certain amount of camp value and is definitely a retro gaming classic. If you are into retro gaming, you might want to check this out. If you are into camp value, you will probably enjoy future releases, such as Drug Wars from Digital Leisure, better. I applaud Digital Leisure for reviving these relics of gaming’s early days. These laserdisc games represent an entire genre that has all but died out. Ever since Tia Carrere tried to revive the genre in The Daedalus Encounter, it’s been a losing proposition. Still, there is a certain audience of gamers who want to experience these titles, and Digital Leisure has done a great job bringing them to life for the current technology.

Shawn Rider   (11/29/2001)


Ups: Nostalgia; camp value; document of the history of videogames.

Downs: Repetitive and tedious gameplay.

Platform: DVD, PS2, Xbox