Having previously looked at Cacapa The Rappa and Grand Theft Couto, the third in our series of forgotten games is Red Dead Redondo. An expansive, free-roaming sandbox game with a Western theme, it was described on its release by Dominik Diamond as “more brutal than when I went to be crucified. And then didn’t, because I remembered at the last moment that I had an irrational fear of being nailed into wood”.
The game is set in the distant past of 2000. Fernando Redondo is an internationally retired midfielder, taken away from Madrid to the lawless lands of Milan. He is brought to Italy by a secretive FIGC department fighting corruption and told that he can return if he hunts down his former agent’s gang in Serie A. Redondo confronts the agents at Fort Milanello, only to be shot in the knee. By a treadmill. Redondo must then rebuild his fitness and take down the equipment-toting gym agents one by one. On the way, the player can choose to complete side missions: hunting down ever more lucrative contracts, mastering dead ball situations and herding opponents away from goal, like the foolish Norwegian bears that they are.
Red Dead Redondo features a revolutionary ‘cover’ system, that allows players to hide behind their long, flowing locks and avoid international call-ups. The game also uses the “Dead-Eye” targeting system, which allows you to play as if you have slowed time down, so you can stroll magisterially through the open world environment, spraying salvos, dictating proceedings with class, invention and flair. As you improve the “Dead-Eye” becomes more complex, allowing you to target individual bones in a opponents ankle to kick. You can also shoot people in the face, but only if you want. This will cause your honor metre to decrease and earn you a stern warning, or in some cases a yellow card. But that’s European referees for you, Clive.
The fame metre is also an important aspect of the game: it can be increased by performing certain actions including winning games and midfield duels, helping out defensively and turning down free houses, cars and money. As Redondo’s fame increases certain benefits are unlocked. The cost of bribes comes down, and referees will turn a blind eye to certain transgressions.
Red Dead Redondo was applauded by critics for its no holds barred depiction of Milanese millennium era football and the levels of technical detail within the game. From the enhanced range and depth of colours used to render the glint of Berlusconi’s luminescent teeth shining from his from his ocherous maw, to the crisp digital sound of porcine grunting from Gennaro Gattuso, the game is truly next generation, even if the playing style remains a throwback amid more all-action button-mashers. Indeed, some fans however were not impressed by the games ending, which sees Redondo break down when confronted by the FIGC’s final fitness test and replaced by a younger character.