Desperados 2: Cooper’s Revenge

Desperados 2: Cooper’s Revenge
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Platforms: PC
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Spellbound Entertainment
Genres: Strategy / Real-Time Tactics
Release Date: May 8, 2006
Game Modes: Singleplayer

The first Desperados game was probably the best Commandos clone around. Stealth was a big part of it, but it was a means to an end. That end was to clean the map of every bad guy that got in your way (usually all of them), a sort of bandito exterminator if you will, by using every one of your characters’ special abilities to get the upper hand. Developer Spellbound took the original Desperados design and implemented a 3D engine in the hopes of giving the game a new lease on life.

11_1But Desperados 2: Cooper’s Revenge has a glaring number of issues that makes it fall behind its better-designed predecessor. Part of why the first was better simply has to do with its lower tech foundations – the new 3D landscape, while admirably implemented here, makes viewing the action a pain because of the camera readjustments. On the other hand, the 3D view can become quite handy when you’re entering a building and can snap to third-person view, but having a fixed, isometric view feels infinitely easier.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as it was in the first. You control Cooper (who no longer resembles Bruce Willis) and his gang through a number of daring missions set in the Wild West. The jumbled story is told via uninspiring stillshots overlapped by cheesy dialogue – it seemed more of an afterthought for the mission design, honestly. In any case, you’ll always have enemy guards standing between you and your objective. You, as either Cooper, Doc, Kate, Sanchez and several others, have to work together to take them out.

Doc, for instance, can heal injured party members after a fight, but can also throw knock-out gas bottles or take out targets from far away with a sniper rifle. Kate can distract guards into secluded areas where Cooper can jump them. Sanchez carries a shotgun for close encounters, but can also distract guards with booze that will get the drunk and useless. It’s a nice balance of skills, but some will always be more useful than others. Kate’s ‘distract-a-guard’ ability is the most reliable if you want a low profile, but boy is it boring when you do it again and again.

The AI is back from the first game, and it’s equally odd. Often you have to act as babysitters for your characters who aren’t bright enough to think on their feet. As such, you have to take control of each individual character when you want to perform a complex action, like planning an ambush. This isn’t a Rainbow Six sort of game where waypoints are pre-defined and your guys can perform without human input.

13_1The enemy AI is, surprisingly, even dumber than it was in the first game. Where then a guard would get alerted by a noise or the sight of a fallen comrade, here they’ll actually ignore dead guards just mere feet away. At the end of the day, even with all of the fancy tricks of each character, gameplay in Desperados 2 becomes less about solving complex stealth problems than it is watching out for vision cones and patrol patterns. Then distract each guard with Kate and punch said guards unconscious when they’re alone. It’s a plan of action that will exercise your patience more than your creative juices.


System Requirements: Pentium IV 2.5 Ghz, 512 MB RAM, 128 MB Video, Win2000

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