Ported from the 1994 light gun arcade machine, Fast Draw Showdown makes its debut on the PSN. The setting takes place in the old Western times when arguments often started with booze and ended with lead, and all you need to do is draw your gun from its holster faster than your opponent. Using often corny and scripted video clips recorded in the 90s, there isn’t much computer animation involved in this game other than your crosshair and score.
The main focus of the game involves reaction times based on the amount of time it takes to "pull" the gun from the holster and shoot a target on the screen. This score will be measured in seconds and accompanied by a ‘target’ time to beat in order to pass the level: react too slowly and you’ll lose the duel. Sometimes Fast Draw will mix up the duels by adding more than one opponent or enemies who take more than one shot, but for the most part it’s just holster, point and shoot. Players are also scored on accuracy and bonuses for special shots like shooting off the opponent's hat or disarming them.
Story mode is a simple progression from target to target as you take on the 'fastest shooters in the west' to make a name for yourself. It's be quick or be dead, but even death isn't as harsh as it used to be. Back on the old arcade machines, missing a target meant more quarters, but on a console it just means using one of your three "retries". While this might seem fair, it takes away any challenge or sense of accomplishment the game could offer.
Each of the many characters has his or her own quirks such as “Dancing Dom” who will dance on screen before finally drawing his pistol. While nearly all of them are extremely corny, the variety is nice and comical the first time around. It might just be a generational difference, but the most entertainment you’ll likely find in these actors derives from the cheesy and over-acted way the punchlines are delivered, not the actual punchlines themselves.
Controls are where the game truly suffers. While the idea is to recreate an old western show down, if you actually do the motions as if you were in a real quick draw, you will almost certainly lay dead every duel. The problem lies with calibration; the quick motion from whipping the controller from the hip to a shooting stance will throw off the calibration every time. Tested with multiple Move controllers, trying to actually draw from the hip will often result in the crosshair disappearing completely and almost always being unresponsive. The only way to effectively play the game is to make small subtle motions with the controller which completely kills the mood of the entire game.
Taken directly from the 1994 arcade game, the graphics consist of scripted video clips shot with real life actors and while originally recorded with VHS quality visuals there does seem to be a noticeable improvement in video quality over the original and WiiWare editions. Movie clips are sharper and the user interface is a bit more polished but in the end, VHS quality can only be remastered so much. Overall, the visuals fit the game nicely and help set the mood and time period and would almost be worse if graphically improved further. Maintaining that old time feel while being 720p is simply the best of both worlds.
Perhaps the most notable different between the Move and WiiWare edition is the implementation of PlayStation Home support. Acquiring certain ‘badges’ in-game or PSN trophies will unlock items to be used in PlayStation Home such as hats and a replica of the arcade machine for the player's personal space. Other notable changes include an online leaderboard for score comparison among friends or global scores.
As players progress throughout the game, clothing is unlocked for the user's in-game avatar to add slight customisation to the game. While a nice feature, the in-game avatar is only shown in the menus and loading screens and offers no real purpose.
Multiplayer mode allows two local players to compare reaction times to see who has the quickest trigger finger. Multiplayer is easily the most fun that this game has to offer and it might be a solid title to shoot up at a party from time to time over a few drinks; however, don't expect the shoot outs to last very long. It would have been much more fun if instead of showing in-game video, players could see the camera feed instead. Using more of the PS3's hardware and capabilities could have made multiplayer a much stronger mode.
Fast Draw Showdown definitely looks and sounds better than ever and while true to its roots, it lacks any sort of immersion that a game like this requires to be good. Multiplayer is fun while it lasts and for those who played the original it’s fun to replay the game from your couch, but glitchy controls and lack of variety shoot this game down fast. Partner? It’s best you keep this one in the holster.