Gunfighter II: Legend of Jesse James
Ubi Soft has always been one of the biggest publishers around yet not really known for top AAA titles. Their policy used to be to deliver masses of ‘B-games’ and hope that the majority of games would generate enough revenues. Untill recently that is, because some bright french mind got the idea a couple of years ago that Ubi Soft should publish so-called triple A titles. And as we all know, that policy is paying off with big titles as Tom Clancy, Uru, Rayman and the upcoming XIII.
But it takes some time between making a decision and seeing the results. In gameland, it could take a couple of years. And here’s where we come to this game we received a while ago: Gunfighter II: The legend of Jesse James. To our knowledge, next to no publicity had been made for this title, whilst its predecessor had some success on the original PS1. But all things point to ‘yet another B-title’: no promotion, not a lot of information, no decent homepage, a PS2 version only, … Are these assumptions correct ?
As the title says, the story is set in the wild wild west and the plot is as simple as you would imagine life was back then. You’ll be playing a not-so bad villain Jesse who’s trying to steal from the evilst of villains. But as the short intro will tell you, you’ll be stabbed in the back by your partner… who’s brother you accidentally killed a couple of years earlier. And he has taken of with your girlfriend… who has way too big boobies by the way!
The gameplay is pretty easy and straightforward. You have a gun, just use it. Everything that moves, shoot it. If it’s made of glass and shatters, shoot it. If it’s made of wood and breaks, shoot it. On the other hand there are the occasional innocent bystanders and hostages. You could of course shoot them, just because they move around and thus pose a threat*, but killing them will cost you a bit of time. Because yes, time is money, even back then in the nineteenth century, because the faster you work yourself through a level, the more money you earn. A counter placed right at the center of your screen tells you how much time you got left. Altough it remains bizarre that money should constitute such an important factor in a shoot-em-up game. After all, anyone who buys this title wants to swing his six-gun and spray around bullets.
The thing I like about this arcade shooter is that it is honest and it doesn’t pretend to be a high-flyer. The game is easy to play and you don’t need a lot of brains or skills to complete the levels. Another thing that I found very refreshing is that the developers turned the world upside-down here. You will remain in a safe position, ducked behind (wooden) walls, (wooden) barrels, (wooden) doors, etc unless you press the controller and come out of hiding. Only then will you be able to shoot and hit your adversaries. But it’s not that easy, because behind every corner there’ll be someone hiding in a difficult spot or he’ll be standing far away and difficult to hit.
The game is fast-paced if you consider the area and time your playing in. The bad guys will emerge from everywhere at any moment untill you reach … the boss. Those guys don’t die easy and they have a good aim, so watch out there. And if you don’t get him the first time, try again with better aim.
Another positive thing about Gunfighter II is that you can play it again in a more difficult mode, which you’re bound to do if you play for a couple of hours. And the fun-factor is a bit higher because the guns get bigger
The graphics are not state-of-the-art. The colours are vibrant, but let’s be honest, the developers did not invest a whole lot of time or money into dazzling scenery. But no worries, most western-movies are tacky anyway, so the game fits easily into the same category.
The soundtrack is really entertaining. You’ll hear well-known tunes brought to your ears in a very lively way. The gunshots are a little too arcade-like to my liking, but hey, once you’ve played Counterstrike and Postal 2, you’re spoiled anyways.
In conclusion I would like to say that I liked to play this title. It’s something different, fun, plain and simple. But on the other hand I would never pay more than €25 or $25 for this title.
*according to G.W. Bush and other rednecks