- Quick classic style gameplay
- Interesting and different art style
- Game becomes more complex than it initially feels
- Game can be frustratingly “cheap” in it’s difficulty
- Not an overly long game with not a ton of replay value
- Some mechanics such as the weapons could be a little more refined
Gunman Clive is a game that harkens back to a simpler time of gaming. There isn’t a super deep story going on and the levels are all relatively short. It’s very “arcadish” at it’s core, with it’s time tracking and death tracking, that is to day, the idea is more to beat your high scores, than experience some deep endless story or gameplay. This isn’t a bad thing mind you, and there’s more going on here than it initially seems.
The basic plot is that you are a cowboy in the west and your girlfriend, or wife or whatever has been kidnapped. You chase out, armed with your trusty side arm to rescue her. The basic controls and gameplay remind me a lot of the old Mega Man titles. Not for crazy power ups or level selection, but just the basic jumping and shooting only straight ahead sort of mechanics. The levels themselves are much more classic platform shooter, something akin to a Contra game, especially with the power ups you collect along the way. The game starts out simple enough, there are opposing cowboys to shoot down, sometimes there’s rabbits or birds swopping in. As the plot advances along though it becomes apparent there’s a lot more behind the scenes as you travel through levels with more and more crazy technology and eventually head off into space battling aliens.
The game is divided into several themed “worlds” with 5 or so levels in each world. Each world can be completed in around a minute once you get the hang of things, though chances are you’ll spend longer on each level working it out. Each time you die you simply return to the start of the level to try again, there are no lives here. As the levels advance, things get more and more complex. Enemy cowboys start hiding behind things for example, and later you encounter robot cannons and various environmental hazards such as spikes and electrical beams.
At the end of each world is a huge boss. The bosses are all pretty interesting and varied in their mechanics and design, I particularly liked the giant transforming train robot at the end of the Train world. All in all the difficulty across the board is pretty simple, a lot of the puzzles and traps though fall into the category of trial an error. You play through learning the proper timing of everything until you manage to get through to the end. The most annoying aspects involve the enemies constantly respawning if you slide their spawn location on and off the screen. Also annoying is that sometimes enemies drop new weapons which are worse than the one you have, except you can’t avoid picking up the inferior weapon.
Probably the main gimmick of this title is the neat art style used throughout, The entire game is rendered in this sort of yellow and gray hand drawn motif. It looks pretty cool without being super distracting. Despite it’s simpler art design, there’s a lot of fun complexity going on, especially in the bosses and as the world progresses into the later worlds.
Gunman Clive isn’t a super complex title, but it’s a fun little indie game platformer. It’s not the most replayable game though unless you are into score challenges. There is a “Play as a chicken” mode that unlocks after completing the game though.