Dead to Rights II is strangely evocative of the sorts of purely violent action games that were popular in the late '80s and early '90s. That's actually what's pretty amazing about it. It's this raging, no-nonsense killing spree that lasts maybe eight hours. Practically every level is exactly the same, but the vicious shooting action is executed well enough to carry the game all the way to the bitter end. The original Dead to Rights landed on the Xbox back in 2002, where it proved to be an extremely challenging and fairly ambitious action game with a surprisingly convoluted storyline. This sequel offers a distilled version of that same experience, though without any of those pesky minigames or coherent story sequences that get in the way of blasting one corridor full of bad guys into oblivion after another. Frankly, Dead to Rights II feels like a budget game, since most aspects of it seem pretty dated. But while it's not the flashiest game in town, nor does it offer much bang for the buck, that doesn't mean Dead to Rights II isn't worth playing. It's worth checking out if you're the sort who yearns for the days when games just didn't need to justify themselves.
Jack Slate's job is to indiscriminately murder literally everyone who stands in his way.
In Dead to Rights II, you play as a hard-boiled cop named Jack Slate, who's hot on the trail of...ah, who cares? While the game throws in a few cinematic cutscenes into the proceedings, it does so practically with a nudge and a wink, because the story is completely stereotypical and completely irrelevant. The point is, Jack Slate has a whole bunch of levels to fight through. These levels sometimes vary in appearance, but they're pretty much all corridor crawls littered with objects that can either be used as cover or blown up. Around every bend, Jack will square off against maybe a half-dozen armed thugs. They'll sometimes hide behind stuff, and they'll toss grenades at you if you hide for too long. But they're mostly prone to just pointing and shooting at Jack. So the object is to kill them as quickly as possible before they can cause much damage. Jack's trusty canine companion, Shadow, is on call to help dish out the hard justice, and Jack can also execute some cool slow-motion dives and close-combat moves. He can also pick up health packs and armor. The game is quite difficult at the default setting, though if you finished Dead to Rights for the Xbox, you'll do just fine. Still, the levels tend to be nicely balanced so that you barely manage to make it from one end to the next. Each level is quite short and completely linear, so some straight-up trial and error should get you through even the toughest ones in due time.
Dead to Rights II looks like a rip-off of Max Payne, and in some ways that's a fair assessment. The mechanics are completely different, though. Like the original, what's interesting about the gameplay of Dead to Rights II is that you don't actually aim. You just press down on the right shoulder button on the Xbox, or R1 on the PlayStation 2, to target the nearest enemy. Then you hit the fire button until the target dies. So while the game may look like some kind of a shooting gallery, in fact, it's more of a test of your reflexes.
Spoiler Warning: In this part, Jack Slate dives around a corner and shoots and kills several assailants.