Raise your hand if you remember or have played Outlaws, the awsome and oh so wonderfully wild wild western game. If you have played it, you know that it's one of the best designed first person shooting games out there and it's by far the best wild west themed one [or maybe the very next best, right after the amazing Silverload].
Nowdays we don't expect much from LucasArts. They have their Star Wars and Indiana Jones Lego games. And let's not forget the Star Wars Lego to make the Lego experience complete. Lately LucasArts sacked hundreds of people just because the company can't be bothered to make decent games and to make crappy ones you need only so many employees.
Back to the point. In the good old days when adventure games still rocked the PC world side by side with first person shooters, someone at LucasArts [Daron Stinnett, along with Stephen R. Shaw and Adam Schnitzerhad to be exact] had the idea of creating a wild west themed game. Based on the Jedi engine, previously used in Star Wars: Dark Forces, Outlaws offered an impressive set of massive 3D levels to explore, complete with an amazing western soundtrack stored on CD as audio tracks.
Despite its greatness, perfect feel and spot on design, the game didn't achieve any higher status. The reviews were quite enthusiastic, as were the opinions of gamers, but the glory of Outlaws has since the day of its premiere faded, almost into nothingness.
The decreased popularity might be caused by some massive compatibility issues the game has suffered. Originally released for Windows 95, it had some compatibility issues already on Windows 98 and things didn't get any better when Windows XP finally came along. LucasArts did release some patches, but they were quite dodgy and the game still suffers from a few issues, mainly from animated textures ocasionally going white in hardware accelerated mode.
Outlaws also got a mission pack, which became a part of the main package in later editions. "Historical Missions" were a set of five quest levels giving the player some back story on the game's main protagonist and him achieving the rank of a U.S. Marshal. To complete the experience, Outlaws got equipped with a multiplayer mode which became quite popular thanks to, now mostly dead, Kali. Many clans formed and tons of multiplayer maps got created. These can still be found on the internet, even though it's hard to find someone to play the game with.
I recently got this 2007 edition of Outlaws, a part of LucasArts Classic collection, just because of it's alleged compatibility with Windows XP. My old '97 edition refused to load levels from the disc in between CDs. This basically means I couldn't load the first level off the second disc. That, plus the game being a crash waiting to happend, even after patching, made me buy this little package.
Nowdays we usually pick up another Half Life 2 episode, or one of the next gen smash hits like Gears of War or Bioshock. Ocasionally a game like Portal comes along to show us what "simple" fun is all about. Outlaws is fun for me. Maybe I'm a bit nostalgic or maybe the game is just so good, but there is something about LucasArts' design and the wild west feel. If you haven't played it, I'm not even sure if it's right for me to recommend it. Let me put it this way. If you still enjoy Doom while playing it, you should enjoy Outlaws. It's one of the first full 3D games with small surprises like the first ever scope rifle in an fpp. If you like the oldies, get it. If you played it and liked it but you don't own it, get it. Run it in the accelerated mode, turn off the smooth textures and enjoy the adventure in all of it's pixly glory. It will be worth it.
Lastly, I would like to direct some words to LucasArts: If you can't the upgrading of your own software, release the source code for Jedi engine and I'm sure that homebrew scene will take care of the problem for you. Unless you really did reverse engineer the Doom engine [which I highly doubt] and you don't want that to come out in the process.
Sadly, LucasArts is not planning on making a sequel to this great game. I guess we're all stuck with the half assed patches and the '98 build of the game. That's right. When you install the newest 2007 edition of Outlaws, the game is still the same build with some of the patches, the latest one dated to 2001. LucasArts didn't listen to thousands of people petitioning for a Sam & Max sequel, so I don't think they will listen to anyone who wants a fix or a sequel to Outlaws. They just don't give a shit.