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Not Known
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

Well, this would be an ideal chance for me to say 'whoop' and go all cowboyish on you, but I'm afraid I can't - purely because Buffalo Bill's Rodeo Games is a bit of a whoop-free zone. Ho hum. Oh, all right then, I'll force myself. Here goes... whooooog!! Nope, I'll have another go... Whooob. Oh dear, it's impossible. Here's why...

After a rather nice loading screen and a rather jolly front end you get to choose which of the six multiload sub-games you want to play. In reality, I'd now choose none of them, but let's pretend (for the sake of this review) that I've chosen all six. Here they are, and why not? Erm, I can think of lots of reasons actually (Stop whinging and get on with it. Ed). Um, here are the games...

Knife Throwing
There's quite a nice, colourful backdrop with a canyon, some teepees and a 'boss' (that's Wild West speak for horse). On the right of the screen there's a large, spinning, wooden disc, with a Squaw attached to it. Move your crosshair sights over the disc, press fire, and hope that during the resulting one and a half seconds between the release of your knife and its arrival at the spinning disc, the squaw hasn't got her head or one of her limbs in the way. This is mildly engaging for three shots... then it isn't. I found aiming your knife directly at her belly was the best bet. You can't miss, and you get to go onto the next load ...

'Trick' Shooting
Again there's a nice backdrop and the idea is to position your crosshairs over the baddies who pop out of the ground (but not over the 'innocents' - the women, children and cowboys with their hands up) and shoot them before they pop back down again. It's a bit like the FBI rogues gallery, but a lot crapper. Let off 30 rounds and it's off to the next bit in which a little cowboy bungs bottles into the air. Crosshairs over the bottles time, Spec-chums. The real 'trick' in 'Trick' Shooting is how to move onto the next game as quickly as possible. I found that aiming the crosshairs at the sky and pressing the fire button 60 times in rapid succession worked a treat. But then it was onto...

Calf Roping
A viewed-from-above horizontal scroller. The screen moves at a constant speed from right to left while the calf stays in the middle and moves up and down - what you have to do is position yourself next to (above) the calf and throw your lasso around its neck. Oh, and avoid the obstacles on the track at the same time. Snare the beef, or crash into an obstacle, and you can have another go or load the next game (as with all the sections).

Bronco Riding
Whoooook!! No, I still can't do it. Another nice backdrop with a large, nicely animated, bucking bronco in the middle. Atop this 'hoss' (you're learning) sits, erm, you! To the right of the screen lies a 'balance-ometer' which, essentially, is four bars. One up, one down, one to the left and one to the right. These bars are full and you want to keep them that way. So if one starts to dip to the left, you have to push your joystick to the right to compensate for it (and fill it up again). If any of the bars become empty then it's onto the dust with you. Which is quite handy, as you can load in the next game ...

Steer Wrestling
A viewed-from-above scroller like Calf Roping, but without any obstacles. Erm, except for the steer itself. Ride your 'hoss' until you're next to the steer, press fire, and, if you're fortunate enough not to end up chewing the dirt, you'll find yourself on a different screen - just you and the steer viewed from the front. And it's joystick waggling time, when speed of waggle sees you wrestling the steer to the ground. Waggle waggle waggle waggle waggle waggle waggle crunch. Oh dear. Time to load up the last section while I get a new stick plugged in ...

Stage Coach Rescue
You've seen this. (Oh no we haven't.) Oh yes, you blimmin' well have - we gave it away on the Smash Tape last month. It's that viewed-from-the-side scroller in which you have to jump from your horse onto a stagecoach and repeatedly smack an 'Injun' in the chops. Finish this and you'll get a chart of your scores from each sub-game. Then you can start again. Or go to the pub. (Or something.)

What I liked about Buffalo Bill's Rodeo Games was the humorous feel and chunky graphics. What I didn't like was the gameplay. There's hardly any there. It's almost like an exercise in 'Quite Easy Machine Code Programming For The Not Very Advanced Machine Code Programmer'. On budget it might be fair enough (mind you, Marcus would have a field day) but at full price - well, I think you could feel a trifle robbed. Whoooot!

A multi-game Wild West jaunt with one accent on fun, and erm, another accent on being a bit crap - and easy. Mind you, young children might find it a bit of a hoot!