Unsung Steampunk Masterstroke
First off, I know what your thinking, the mere mention of Titus Software is enough to scare most away from a title, but rejoice, as they merely published Wild Guns, the development credits go to Natsume. That out of the way, Wild Guns is a rare sort of game; at first glance it appears similar to a rail shooter, and while it shares some gameplay traits the perspective is the main feature that sets it apart from most games of its type.
Unlike most shooters of this period, Wild Guns adopts a third person perspective, the D-pad controls both the targeting reticule and the player character at the bottom of the screen, this takes a little getting used to but soon enough you'll be gunning down foes and dodging their fire with style and ease. While simultaneously targeting and dodging may seem like a lot to handle at once, the game is rather liberal with help, showing exactly where enemy shots will land, and when a bullet is heading directly a small warning bubble appears over the characters head, giving time to jump or roll away.
The weapon selection is a little sparse, with only 3 upgrades to the standard machine gun. Despite this the gameplay always seem to feel fresh and there’s a nice risk-reward combo system implemented as well. Shooting enemy bullets fills a power bar on the bottom left, and when full Clint or Annie becomes invulnerable for a short time and whips out a minigun, a very nice touch.
Graphically the game looks very good, the sprites are large and detailed; the backdrops are well done and in a nice touch [and rather uniquely for it's time] are destructible, and it's really quite satisfying to sit back after clearing a stage's boss and examine the destruction. The bosses are huge, screen filling robots as you'd expect from the genre, and look suitably imposing, although their difficulty is rather lacking once you figure out their patterns.
The soundtrack is another highlight, while the selection of tracks may be on the slim side, the music certainly pumps you up for the action, and the sound effects have a nice arcade-y feel to them.
- Great graphics with imposing, screen filling bosses
- Destructible environments
- Good sound design, catchy music
- Rather short, only 5/6 levels long with 3 areas per level - blow through it in about an hour or so
- Unique shooting mechanics, interesting combo system
- Awesome steampunk/Robot western setting