Outlaws is a first-person shooter released by LucasArts in 1997 using an enhanced version of the Jedi game engine, first seen in Star Wars: Dark Forces. It is one of the very few FPS games with a Wild West setting. CG animation sequences, with special filters to look hand drawn, play between each mission and set up the action in the next area.
Although not a huge financial success, it does have a strong cult-like following that is still strong more than a decade later.
In 1997, LucasArts released a patch (update 1.1) to add Glide and Aureal A3D and later in 2001, another patch to add Direct3D ability to the game, complementing the existing software rendering support.
Tagline: Dyin's too good for 'em.
James Anderson, a retired U.S. Marshal, comes home after a trip to the general store to find his wife Anna dying and his daughter Sarah, kidnapped by two outlaws known as Matt "Dr. Death" Jackson and "Slim" Sam Fulton, under the employ of the evil railroad baron named Bob Graham. Graham has hired several wanted outlaws to "enlighten" the people of the county to sell their land to him, so that he can make money on a huge railway. However, the psychotic Dr. Death misinterprets Graham's meaning of "enlightenment" and kidnaps James Anderson's daughter. After burying his dead wife, the retired Marshal picks up his gun once again and rides off to find his daughter. He travels around the old West, shooting his way through each member of Graham's hired outlaws.
However, on his journey, Anderson is haunted by dreams of his father's murder as a child; while the two were camping out in the wild, an unknown assailant shot him in his sleep, but left young James alive, telling him "to keep that fear [of death], kid". After questioning more and more outlaws, Anderson is confronted by Dr. Death in an old mine. Anderson eventually gets the drop on him, he gets tangled up in a rope above a deep mine shaft. Dr. Death tells him that his daughter is hidden in an old Indian cliff village. After finding out that Anderson is not going to let him out of the pit, he teases Anderson about the murder of his wife. Anderson is enraged and puts his cigar in the pulley from which the rope is hanging, eventually burning up the rope and sending Dr. Death to his death at the bottom of the shaft.
At the Indian village, Anderson is ambushed by renegade Indian Two Feathers. After defeating him, Two Feathers praises Anderson's strength in battle, and out of sympathy because he once had a child he had lost, tells him the real location of Sarah; Bob Graham's estate, Big Rock ranch. Anderson blasts his way into Graham's villa, and finally confronts him. After a fierce gunfight, Graham is believed dead, and falls to the ground, and Anderson reunites with his daughter. However, Bob Graham is not dead, and Anderson carelessly left his gun laying on the floor. The wounded Graham, at gun point, reveals that he is Anderson's father's murderer. Just as Graham is about to finish off Anderson, however, Sarah manages to shoot Graham with Anderson's gun. After a tearful reunion, father and daughter ride into the sunset.
In the lower difficulty levels, termed "Good" and "Bad", the player is able to sustain several bullet wounds with no apparent ill effects. In the hardest difficulty level, "Ugly", the player's resistance is reduced to one or two shots. This forces the player into a different style of play. Where on the easier difficulty levels a player might charge into a gunfight heedless of Anderson's personal health, in Ugly mode, the player must use stealth and cover to win.
Aside from the main single-player campaign, Outlaws includes a set of 5 discrete missions that chronicle Anderson's rise to the rank of U.S. Marshal. Each of the missions requires Anderson to either capture or kill a specific outlaw. Ranks (Deputy, Sheriff, and Marshal) are awarded on the accumulation of a set number of points. Points are awarded for recovering stolen gold, capturing/killing the outlaw, and for killing enemies.
Each outlaw that the player captures or kills appears in a jail cell in Anderson's field office. More points are awarded for capturing an outlaw than for killing one, due to the difficulty in capturing one alive. Completion of the Historical Missions is not a requirement for playing the single-player campaign.
In 1998, LucasArts released a set of 4 unconnected single-player missions, called Handful of Missions, for download from the official website. The package includes several new multiplayer missions, and a patch to update the game to version 2.0. The single-player missions take place outside of the original game's storyline.
The player can assume the role of 1 of 6 characters from the main game: Matt "Dr. Death" Jackson, "Bloody" Mary Nash, James Anderson, Chief Two-Feathers, "Gentleman" Bob Graham, and "Spittin'" Jack Sanchez. Each character has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of speed/maneuverability, weapons selection, and resistance.
In spite of there being no plans of a sequel, the game still lives on through a very dedicated, though small, fanbase. A few websites still serve up new levels that are still being created to this date.
A less popular game, The Outlaws Mod for Half-Life, also exists. The Half-Life port of the classic game of Outlaws never caught on, but like the game it was based on, there also exists a cult-like following.
Decline in popularity
Outlaws and its Jedi engine have become quite dated in terms of gaming technology. Thus very few players are found playing it on MSN Gaming Zone or IRC and its small community on the KALI program is basically extinct. Tournaments are no longer held in the IRC channel or on MSN gaming zone, however there is another site created by an ex MSN employee where fans of this classic game still meet daily to play. [ ]
The WarZone, a gaming lobby for playing multiplayer versions of older DirectPlay 7 or earlier games still runs and supports the game Outlaws.
Other reasons for the decline in multiplayer play is that it has become less and less compatible with newer versions of Microsoft Windows. Outlaws was originally intended to be played on Windows 95. Windows 98 brought compatibility issues which LucasArts issued a patch for, but still problems persisted. Windows XP brought further problems that have made online play even more difficult however Drivers D3D & XP to correct the XP Problems & Nvidia Problems have been made. It is unknown if outlaws even runs on Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Music from the game was scored by composer Clint Bajakian. An orchestra was used with authentic instruments. This was not commonplace in that time. In total, the gaming CD's contained 15 different songs which were suitable for play back on a regular CD-player.
- ↑ Handful of missions from Lucas Arts. lucasarts.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Dr. Death Character Info. Paleface.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Bloody Mary Character Info. Paleface.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ James Anderson Character Info. Paleface.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Chief Two Feathers Character Info. Paleface.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Bob Graham Character Info. Paleface.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Jack Sanchez Character Info. Paleface.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Outlawdad Maps. theoutlawdad.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ Index of Molycoat. webpages.charter.net. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ John Romero - One of the best, most atmospheric and important contributions to the FPS genre - MobyGames
- ↑ User Rap Sheet: John Romero - MobyGames
- ↑ The Warzone. ewarzone.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
- ↑ theoutlawdad.com. Outlaws Fix Files. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.