Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Wild Gunman (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D1, Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1985

Wild Gunman was the first light-gun game on the system and it was based on Nintendo's 1974 Arcade game of the same name.


Game A pits you one-on-one against an outlaw who enters from the side of the screen; once he comes to a stop you have to wait until he says: "Fire!!" before shooting. The Time indicator shows how long you have before he fires his gun at you. Do so under the allotted time and you move onto the next round; fail to strike a hit and you'll lose one of your three lives. The action is mildly amusing but won't hold your attention for long. Your opponent always stops in the same place so keeping the Zapper pointed towards the centre of the T.V. will net you many easy kills. I found it more fun and challenging to hold the gun on my hip and play it as a game of quick draw. Game B is the same except you battle two outlaws at the same time. This mode is much better as it's more involved. The two bad guys usually have different shot times so you need to make sure you shoot them in the correct order based on their reaction speeds. However, the game occasionally throws a curve ball and staggers the moments when you're allowed to fire at each of them. This helps to keep you engaged and makes for an enjoyable experience. In Game C you face wave-after-wave of outlaws who appear from the windows and doors of a saloon. Again, you have three lives and to clear a wave you need to shoot ten enemies within your allocation of 15 bullets. It's a decent mode and the most immersive part of the game as you need to keep an eye on multiple parts of the screen. The graphics are fantastic for an early NES game with large character sprites and comical animations.

Wild Gunman is a well-made game and a great introduction to the NES Zapper. The modes are short with little variety but there's just enough here to hold your interest for a while.



Random trivia: The 1974 Arcade version of Wild Gunman was developed by Gunpei Yokoi (creator of the Game Boy) and used a combination of a light gun and a 16mm projection screen with full-motion video footage.

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