Rockstar’s Red Dead Revolver at 18 years old

Tyson Head, Editor

Red Dead Revolver was a Western-shooter video game released in May of 2004 by Rockstar Games. 

Six-shooters and dynamite rule the lawless Western territories as the industrial age crawls its way toward the West. We play as Red Harlow, a fearless bounty hunter making his way through the frontier. Yet he wasn’t always a gun slinger. In the Prologue, we see a young Red greet his father who’s just returned from a prospecting trip. Nate Harlow; Red’s father, Falling Star; Red’s mother, Red, and his pup all live a happy life. Nate has just struck a vein of fortune as he returns home to greet his family. Nate has purchased himself a brand-new fancy revolver, and with Red enamored with it, his father decides to give him his old sixer. Red goes down to the river bank, where he practices on his mother’s pots and pans, that is before a gang of outlaws descend on his homestead, hell-bent on walking away with all his family’s money. Red and Nate dispatch outlaw after outlaw, but Nate is finally done-in, with Red watching as both of his parents are executed right in front of him. 

The gang members light his house on fire, and an army man appears. Colonel Darren says, “I reckon your paw’s better off dead.What with him bein’ such a yellow belly and all.” Red, enraged, grabs his father’s new smoldering hot revolver and shoots Darren’s arm off. In the confusion, he’s able to slip away and hide down by the river bank. He holds his permanently disfigured and burnt hand as the screen fades to black. 

Red Harlow, fully grown with his pup then appears as a fully grown drifter. He’s a man of few words, and he finds himself treading the wrong homestead as a father and son duo attack him. “I think John (Red Dead Redemption’s protagonist) is a better character, but you can’t deny he is mostly based on Red,” commented Grant Bebow. A local madman claims Red could get a good bounty if he turns the bodies into the nearby town of Widow’s Patch. Red arrives at Widow’s Patch, to see it in complete disarray. Outlaws and vagrants scatter the streets as Red approaches. As he converses with a nearby vendor, three outlaws approach and shoot his dog. Aggravated at the loss of his last immediate family member, Red massacres all the raiders, liberating the town and earning himself some money.

Red isn’t the only hero we get to portray, with the later introductions of famed cowboy; Jack Swift or cattlewoman Annie Stoakes, Union Hero Buffalo Soldier, and Red’s Native cousin Shadow Wolf. Each character has his or her own special ability, with Red being able to slow down time, Swift having his bullets all aimed and discharged instantly, Stoakes having a blunderbuss shot, Buffalo Soldier having a bayonet charge, and Shadow Wolf having the ability to increase his accuracy, speed, and damage, shooting flaming arrows off of his bow. According to Game Rant, “Red Dead Revolver’s story simply isn’t going for the sweeping, emotional storytelling of its spiritual successors. It doesn’t expect the player to be particularly invested in its characters, as fun as their varied abilities are. The story offers more of a cliche backdrop for the game’s shooting mechanics.” The game also holds its own selection of engaging boss fights, with blasting enemies never ceasing to be fun throughout its 27 story missions. The Red Dead name may have been made famous by Red Dead Redemption, but Red Dead Revolver still holds its place as Rockstar’s original Western title.