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The Wild West

Score: 84%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Happy Happening
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 16
Genre: Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

The Wild West is a new shooter style game published by Majesco Entertainment. In some ways, I found it very impressive, but in others, it is quite lacking. Graphics, for example, are quite detailed on the characters. There are a large variety of bad guys, and someone put some work into their appearance. They might not have the smoothest of lines in some scenes, but overall they are enjoyable. Unfortunately, this must not have been the same person that worked on the background settings, since they lack almost all detail. In most scenes, it looks like they were plucked right out of an 8-bit system game with no smoothing on the edges. The others scenes are just boring, comprised of maybe a building or two and yellow sand.

The background music sounds almost like something you might expect to hear in a saloon; it's not really distracting which is good. Mostly what you hear in The Wild West is the sound of gunfire. Based on the speed of the bullets, you can tell what kind of gun you're being shot at with, which is really helpful because you want to take out those machine gun guys as quickly as possible! Also, in the 3D level, you can tell when you're being targeted and how soon you're going to be hit based on the color of the target on you and a beeping that gets faster when you're just about to be shot. This beeping is really helpful and lets you know when you need to move.


Gameplay:

After loading up The Wild West, you're given the options of Story Mode, Mini-Game Transmission, and Options. When you start up Story Mode, you have the choice to use one of two heroes in your game. You can decide on either Catty, who is searching for Terano to avenge the deaths of her whole family, or Wolfy, who is a bounty hunter searching for Terano to avenge the deaths of a town and collect on the $50,000 bounty (or $500,000 depending on whether you read the instruction book or the game text). The gameplay is the same for both characters; neither have specific strengths or weaknesses. You will run into the character that you don't choose in the game as you're playing.

After choosing a character, you'll start on a game stage. There are two types of stages in The Wild West, 2D and 3D. In 2D stages, you move around an area like a town, store or bar, shooting the bad guys as you go. They will, of course, be shooting back at you, with a variety of different weapons you would expect to have seen back in the Wild West, and some, like machine guns, that really seem out of place. In 3D stages, you feel like you're in a shooting gallery, except the targets shoot back at you. You can only move left or right, and you have to stop moving to shoot back. Each 3D stage consists of several different areas to move through. At the end of both 2D and 3D stages, there is a boss to beat. After you beat each stage, you go on to the next one. In some areas, you can choose which stage you want to take next since the path will fork. Throughout the stages, you collect badges. For every 10 badges you collect, you'll unlock a new mini-game.

To play the mini-games, choose Mini-Game Transmission from the main Menu. There are five different mini-games total, including Round Up, Darts, Quick Draw, Rodeo, and Barkeep. You can host a mini-game for up to 16 players on a single game cartridge.


Difficulty:

In just about every handheld review I've done lately, I've reported that the game was easy, could be beaten in a matter of an hour or two. Finally though, I can say something else. The Wild West is a hard game. You get five lives. You cannot save at any point that you want to, because the game automatically saves at the end of each stage, after you beat the boss. If, however, you run out of lives before you finish the stage, which is quite easy to do given that there are a lot of bullets flying at you most of the time, you have to start the stage over again. I would really have liked the ability to save at the end of the areas inside the stages, just because I don't necessarily have the time to play long enough to clear a stage in one sitting, but at least I can pause the game at any time when I need to take a break.

There are items dropped by enemies when you kill them, like chicken and ham, which increase your health or even fully heal you. In 3D mode, you'll automatically pick these up when you kill the enemies. In 2D mode, however, you have to walk over them to pick them up. Unfortunately, since the bullets you shoot go very far, most of the time I found that I killed the enemies too far away to have time to pick up the items, so they did me no good whatsoever.


Game Mechanics:

The mechanics of The Wild West differ depending on what type stage you're playing. In a 2D stage, you'll see your character on the screen with a circle around you. That circle is your range of fire. To fire your weapon, you tap inside that circle the direction that you want to fire. The bullets will go further than the circle, but you have to tap inside the circle to fire the weapon. Different weapons have a different size circle. You use the D-Pad to move your character around the area. You can fire your weapon as you are moving on a 2D stage.

In a 3D stage, your movement is limited. The enemies are all in front of you. To shoot them, simply tap on the enemy (and hope that it hits). You cannot fire while moving in a 3D stage. Logically, that makes no sense to me. If your character is able to fire the same weapons while moving in a 2D stage, why do they have to stand still on a 3D stage?

No matter what stage you're on, you have the same weapons available. You always have your pistol with unlimited bullets. When you kill enemies, sometimes you can pick up their weapons, which include a shotgun which has a wider range of fire but fires slower and only holds 16 shots, a machine gun which fires very rapidly and holds 64 shots, and dynamite that can take out a group of enemies at once and you can hold 10 dynamite sticks at a time.

Overall, The Wild West is a decent game. I like the fact that it is different from most games on the market right now. I like that it does provide a challenge, but little things like items disappearing too quickly and not being able to move while shooting in 3D mode disappointed me. Also, there's not much to the game other than continually shooting, since there is very little story involved. The Wild West is a challenging game to play, but it might not appeal to everyone.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Sony PlayStation Portable Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Sony PlayStation 3 Lair

 
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