Everyone has an opinion about overly verbose, philosophic, crime movies. While most of my friends were extolling the virtues of Pulp Fiction, I preferred Reservoir Dogs for my overly talky, ultra-violent movie about bad people who do bad things. Both are fantastic films, but for me, the more focused story and the clear characters worked best. Funny enough, this is exactly where Big Games’ Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days falls short.
So, just as the film depicts a group of thieves dealing with a diamond heist gone wrong from different perspectives and different times, Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days follows the same thieves as they go about town completing smaller robberies, with the player controlling multiple characters at the same time. Well, kind of. It works like this. We’ll say Mr. Brown and Mr. Blonde are robbing a strip club. Mr. Brown is the leader here, and acts first, robbing and shooting while Mr. Blonde stands around getting shot and looking like a big dummy. Eventually, the player gets tired of Mr. Blonde’s laziness, or Mr. Brown meets his untimely end, and time rewinds to the beginning of Brown’s action, with the player controlling Blonde while Brown’s actions happen until everything catches up to the present. Should Blonde die or fail to save Brown, it’s a game over and back to a checkpoint you go. It’s a great concept leads to some interesting situations, though it’s not necessarily fun.
The problem with all this time trickery usually comes down to strategy. You could jump into another character to prevent damage, however, that character’s movement might draw the attention of another enemy, causing them to move out of the way of the first character’s bullets, wasting ammo and throwing in another obstacle that you thought you already overcame. Like I said, interesting, but not necessarily fun. More characters— you can have up to six— only serve to complicate matters further rather than allowing for satisfying strategic opportunities. Despite the setup, missions all devolve into the same formula. Enemies show up and you need to shoot all of them while stealing whatever money you can. Basically, it’s a twin-stick shooter with a Reservoir Dogs theme and some weird time travel.
The theme feels completely superfluous to everything, however. Characters are named after their movie counterparts and have stats (That are mostly meaningless) that seem linked to the actions and attitudes that we see during their ill-fated heist, but I suspect that the game would be better served as an original property rather than the loose ties found here. It becomes apparent fairly quickly that no one got likeness rights for any of the actors from the film, which leaves us with some bizarre character designs. Rather than a young, loud-mouthed Quentin Tarantino, Mr. Brown is now a muscle bound oaf, and the iconic Steve Buscemi has transformed into a young blonde punk with bad facial hair. It’s immediately off-putting, and the constant film quotes don’t do much to alleviate the problem.
Apart from that, Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days is a standard shooter with an interesting time mechanic. Shoot people, amass funds, buy access to new missions where you’ll shoot people and amass funds to buy access to new missions. Take whatever enjoyment from the time hopping and schizophrenic strategy where you can, because that’s all there is here. Just a forgettable cash grab tied to an amazing movie that deserves far better. Luckily, everyone will have forgotten about this whole thing soon enough.