Archive for April, 2011

Gun.Smoke

April 22, 2011

If you were an NES kid growing up in the 80’s, when you visited the home of a friend, chances are he or she would also have an NES and oftentimes, would have a different assortment of games than you did. Since I could only afford to get a few games a year, it gave me a chance to experience games I didn’t have, such as Castlevania, RBI Baseball, and of course, Gun.Smoke.

I’ve always enjoyed western movies and settings, so Gun.Smoke was right up my alley when I visited a friend’s house one summer. After playing a couple of the standards such as Duck Hunt and whatever lousy licensed crap we young kids were suckered into buying (I think it was the Back to the Future game), she popped in Gun.Smoke and we started blasting away.

It was a scrolling shooter, much like in the vein of Xevious, but you controlled a cowboy shooting away with a pair of six shooters. Shooting barrels revealed powerups, which increased your speed and bullet range, as well as a horse you could ride, which essentially gave you three extra hits from enemy fire. Shopkeepers would sell you new weapons, as well as a wanted poster, which you needed to face the stage boss. Without purchasing (or finding in a barrel) the wanted poster, the stage would loop forever, something me and my friend were unaware of, so we never did finish that first stage.

Years later, I came across a copy of the game at the local dirt mall (for those who have never seen Mallrats, that would be another term for flea market) and the guy running the booth offered to pop it in his NES to make sure it worked. He died pretty much instantly, then handed the controller off to me. Much to his suprise (and to mine, actually) I spent the next five minutes shooting baddies and dodging enemy fire, then defeating the stage boss.

“Wow,” he said, “You must have played this a lot!”

“Yeah,” I replied, lying.

Of course, the game ramps up in difficulty and to this day I still can’t get past Stage 3. But it’s still a game I enjoy popping in once in a while. It has a certain charm most other shooters lack, and it’s got a great soundtrack. My only suggestion if you’re going to play this game… do your thumbs a favor and pick up a turbo controller. They will thank you for it.

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