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JULY 28, 1997

Entertainment

Computer Game Review: Outlaws

  by Rick Brewster
   This must be the first 3D shooter to contain an actual plot. Usually games such as this are plotless bloodfests. Set in the wild west, Outlaws contains several differences from your average game. It's all done in a stylish western tone, with ex-marshal James Anderson, you'll have your wife murdered, your house burned down, and your daughter kidnapped. All this while you're buying groceries in town. Naturally, you go after the villains who've done this to you. The animation is great and really drags you into the story.
  
   The actual game is excellent. Most games have you running around, guns blazing and dead bodies dropping all around. Outlaws, however, takes a more subtle approach. With fewer enemies you'll have more time to think and plan your approach. You may want to pick one off from a distance with your shotgun, or sneak up closer and take him out with your six-shooter.
  
   Unfortunately, the bad guys themselves are pretty stupid. Often you'll approach them and they'll shoot - in the wrong direction. There's the occasional annoying puzzle that'll hold you up and bore you to death. In the sawmill, you'll be required to hit certain switches in order to navigate a maze. The only problem is, you're being dragged through water with a fierce current. It quickly becomes a twitch fest, as you have to hit the jump and nudge keys quickly in succesion and at just the right time.
  
   There also don't seem to be enough levels to play with only nine regular levels. There's an alternate mode of play where you capture outlaws and put them in prison to gain points. These points raise you in ranks from assistant deputy to sheriff and up. This adds to the replay factor enormously.
  
   Fortunately, these small gripes aren't enough to break a fabulous game. The in-between level movies tell a gripping story, and you'll be sad to see it all end.
  
   Created by: LucasArts
  
   Publisher: LucasArts
  
   Category: Action
  
   Price: $50
  
   System Requirements: Pentium 60, 16MB RAM, Win95, SVGA, 4X CD-ROM, 36MB Hard drive
  
   What you really need: Pentium 133, 32MB RAM, 80MB Hard drive
  
   Highs: Good plot, level design, movies; original
  
   Lows: occasional frustrating levels; weak AI
  
   Content Rating: PG-13 for violence
  
   Star Rating: III1/2 stars
  
   Next week's review: Interstate '76