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Topo Soft
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
Multiple languages
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

Other Links


24,25
Paul Sumner, Kati Hamza, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

Being Sheriff of a Wild West town isn't easy. When trouble comes to town, it arrives with a bang. And trouble has just arrived in the shape of Angel Face and his notorious henchmen...

The first level of this vertically scrolling Commando variant sees the player strolling along the street of his beloved town, running the gauntlet of pistol packin' hoodlums who attempt to gun him down. The baddies run towards the sheriff, guns blazing, or charge along on horseback throwing bombs which bounce across the street before exploding.

The player starts the game with four lives, but shooting the stars which appear occasionally reveals an extra life, a points bonus or a stick of dynamite, contact with which proves fatal. Running over each symbol utilises these handy additions.

Once the end of the landscape is reached, a shoot-out occurs between the Sheriff and the end-of-level-baddie, whose face appears on a wanted poster at the start of the section.

The game continues in this fashion, through the railroad station, the canyon and across rapids on a raft, culminating in a meadow where a boomerangthrowing Angel Face is confronted in the final showdown.

CRITICISM

'Another arcade conversion bites the dust. Admittedly a lot of attention has gone into peripheral details, particularly the action-packed loading screen and the gun-spinning joystick selection process, but the central graphics are unspectacular. In theory the game, a sort of Wild West Ikari Warriors, has plenty to recommend it. However, practice proves otherwise. The odds are stacked against the Sheriff: trigger-happy bandits constantly attempt to shoot him in the back although he can only blast diagonally and forwards. At close quarters the sheriff stands stiff and paralysed, while his opponents' ability to run is superhumanly improved. The challenge to beat the faultless computer 'next time' has a frustrating and obsessive edge, but considering the price, it's probably better not to take it up.' KATI

'If the arcade game, Gunsmoke, is anything like the computer game I pity the person that's put any money in the slot - the game concept is so boring! However, the presentation is at least up to their usual high standard: the individual people all have their own characteristics and the saloons and ranches are colourful and detailed. What the game lacks, though, is enough variation to get you back to it after finishing a game. I couldn't really be bothered to start again; I knew where I was going and what would result from it. If only you could walk around a larger play area, or even turn around and go back on yourself, the game would be much more of a quest and not so laborious. However, the few that do like the arcade game can't really fault the conversion.' PAUL

'After enjoying Bedlam, I loaded Gunsmoke with a great deal of expectation. Although I give GO! merit for the presentation on the control option screen, in-game status display, and the wanted posters, the game itself is pretty dire. For a start play is very difficult, as I found to my cost with life after life being blown away by the hoards of small, black blobby sprites that fire two shots whilst my character thinks about firing one. Another annoying habit the enemy had was to appear from the bottom of the screen with guns biasing. The poor old Sheriff can't do a thing about it, because he can't turn round! I didn't even make it to the end of the first screen, but I'm sure that fact won't lose me any sleep at night' MARK

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: the characters are detailed but too small. Buildings are colourful and distinct
Sound: pop, pop from the guns
Options: definable keys
General Rating: Due to the coin-op's restrictions Gunsmoke could never be better than a boring shoot 'em up.

70%
56%
46%
50%
54%