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Topo Soft
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
Multiple languages
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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39
Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

Now look, just because this is a cowboy sort of game, there's absolutely no excuse to start, or even continue, this review along the lines of, I Was Born Under a Wandering Star, Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, or such other Western-style film tunes. No, I'm not the sort of gal to hang around saloons and drink raw whisky and sing (That's a lie for a start - GT) so I'll just get along with this here review.

Gunsmoke, latest release from Go! is a conversion from a little known coin-op, which was, to say the least, not overly impressive in the first place. Yet again, the scenario is of lone good guy against hordes of screaming bad guys with simply enormous weapons.

Each of Gunsmoke's levels involve ploughing your way through various outlaws of varying nastiness (the weight of the guy's beard is usually indicative of the degree of ghastliness of his character) in order to reach Mister Big, the Last Outlaw, the Final Bad Guy. And he takes an awful lot of killing.

Along the way to Public Enemy Number 1, there's the odd bouncing horse (don't axe me why) and some handy stars a-lyin' on the ground. Shoot the handy stars to reveal bonus points, and the odd stick of dynamite which alternately blows you up, and, er, doesn't. No sign, as far as I can see, of those barrels which appear in the coin-op revealing new boots, guns and other pieces of weaponry.

Apart from the lack of barrels, Gunsmoke on the Spectrum bears a good resemblance to Gunsmoke in the arcades. The graphics are good and clear (despite being that ghastly shade of yellow which seems to be all the rage in games these days) and your character moves with a good, manly swagger. But yet again, we've got the rotten invisible bullets syndrome. Or rather you can see the bullets, but owing to the enormous number of them present on the screen at any one time, the chances of avoiding 'em are pretty slim.

It's a tough game, with the baddies outnumbering you several to one, and things crack along at a fair pace. But it's not a game that's anything out of the ordinary. It's a relatively good conversion of a relatively good coin-op, and that's it. Period. There's nothing to lift it up to the standard of the Cybernoids and Fireflies of this world. If you want a perfectly competent cowboy blast, go for it. If you want innovative and astounding gameplay, p'raps not.

Label: Go!
Author: Toposoft
Price: £8.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Competent coin-op conversion with lots of bad guys. Doesn't score highly on the originality front though.

9/10