Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin is boring. The game tries to do too much and fails at nearly everything. Oddly enough, the opening scene that offers you the option of blasting targets and chickens with a nice variety of weapons promises good things to come but the enjoyment drops off precipitously thereafter. Most of the game consists of dull expository animation, forcing you to watch West and Artemus Gordon interact with President Grant, his lackeys and each other in the hopes of garnering clues and information about the mission at hand. While the voice actors (not Will Smith and Kevin Kline) are quite good, the script is dry and uninteresting.
The animated scenes, though necessary to advance the storyline, are simply two voice actors interspersing clues with lame jokes. If you can get past these into the mission portions of the game, the disappointment continues. The game falls flat as the developers try to create a cross between Clue and Final Fantasy. To advance from round to round, you must complete uninspired puzzles and tasks as West or Gordon. Where's the gunplay and the cool gadgets? All too often, pieces of puzzles are hidden in ridiculous places, causing frustration in completion of a task.
The visual presentation, while adequate, doesn't stretch graphics cards to their potential. Characters are boxy robots with freaky smooth faces and, although the designers did well to make them look like their movie counterparts, the looks don't add any extra dimension to the game. Other than the characters, the graphics are lackluster. Backgrounds are generic Old West settings with saloons, dusty streets and shipyards but are not very detailed. Some close-up shots of items in the scenes are quite good but don't occur very often.
The game's sound may be its most endearing feature. Although the stars of the Wild Wild West don't lend their voices to the in-game characters, the voice actors who take on the roles do good impersonations. Other sound effects are also good, including the ambient sounds of trains rolling, chickens clucking and people walking on hardwood floors to name a few. Still, while the sound is impressive, it doesn't elevate the game above the boring muck created by the weak action.
With the opening sequence (the shooting range) of the game its high point, there's not much here to recommend playing. It's almost as if the developers were trying to recreate The Legend of Zelda with a major motion picture license but fell far short. The characters are uninspiring and unimpressive, instilling no empathy with the player, and the puzzles in each stage are lame.
Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin is a prime example of marketing being more important than the idea behind the game. Because of its affiliation with a summer movie blockbuster, SouthPeak Interactive probably had little or no time for game testing or intensive development. The result is a game rushed to market with no substance or appeal beyond its name. One can only hope that should Wild Wild West spawn a sequel, a similar video game won't follow.
Graphics: The boxy characters and generic backgrounds combine for a lackluster visual presentation.
Sound: The sound is actually the best feature but doesn't enhance the action.
Enjoyment: The game is uninteresting and never reaches its action-adventure potential. More guns and fewer puzzles would enhance gameplay immeasurably.
Replay Value: Stumbling through all the stages, no doubt, will kill any desire to replay it.
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