I am going to do a top Light gun Games list soon, and to do that I want to get a few games out of the way. So apologies to the many people who don’t like On-Rails shooters as much as me.
I actually sought this game out… I got the sequel Gunfighter II: Revenge of Jesse James in the big ass bundle of games I got Vampire Night in, and because I am such an idiot I didn’t play Gunfighter 2, instead I rushed out (went online), and bought the first game in the series.
So everything I went through is in fact, my fault.
Gunfighter takes more than a little inspiration from Time Crisis, it pretty much copies and reskins it. Sadly, it does this badly.
You might have figured this is an on-rails Light Gun Game, s0 you point the totally manly plastic gun at a screen and you pew things dead. In Gunfighter you get a duck button like the Time Crisis games, but it is S L O W. In fact, the whole game is slow. Ducking in and out isn’t quick, you can’t become some Matrix bullet dodging messiah like in Time Crisis II, instead it feels like me wobbling my way through a Matrix impression.
The timer, that ticks away in the bottom is also off, so while it says you have 40 seconds, due to framerate issues you have closer to 50 seconds.
The enemies have been reskinned too, it is a genre convention to have Blue Guys as fodder, Red Guys as the “elites” that hit you. In Gunfighter this is reversed. It is surprising how your brain is trained to murder Red Coats, and ignore the Blue Brigade, but do this at your peril. I got halfway through the game before I realised the blokes in blue were the ones hitting me.
You’ll probably take a lot of hits in Gunfighter, as there is no indicator to say you’re going to be hit, and attacks will daisy chain on you. If there are 3 blues on screen all 3 can hit you as there is zero recovery time.
Thankfully though, the game is overly generous with health pickups. Every 2-3 screens there will be a can containing health. If you are at 4 (full health), you don’t regain health, but have less, and you’ll get another one. Loose all 4 lives? Well you get an almost infinite amount of continues. Throughout the game there are “wanted” posters, shoot one of these, and you get an extra continue. I burnt through 6 continues on 1 section because of daisy chaining, I still had 8 continues left over at this point meaning I was able to just learn the pattern rather than being punished and forcing me to Git Gud.
Jesse James walks into a bar, and his girlfriend Zee is kidnapped by the Ex-Marshall turned Gang Leader…. Jack Carson. Jesse is understandably pissed, and sets off to rescue her.
I tend to steer away from covering graphics, but Gunfighter really is the proverbial hairy arse on a glass table. It looks worse than games released much earlier in the PS1’s life cycle, and for a basic game such as On-Rails Shooters I expect much better in terms of the graphics on offer.
Gunfighter suffers from the same issue as Resident Evil: Survivor, in that the rooms aren’t big enough, as the sense of scale and proportion is way off. Men are too large, or too small in respects to the surrounds, men fill the mine shafts, chairs are sofa sized. It really is shonkey.
There are also a few glitches, where you can often see character eyes through their hats in the cutscenes.
The shooting is OK, it isn’t broken like Lethal Enforcers 1 or 2, but it is easily the worst shooting of any game using the GCon technology. I can rock a 70% accuracy in the game. But despite that, something just feels a little off. It might be due to the slowness of the game, and that you have to factor in delay when shooting, but I can’t quite put my finger on what is wrong.
The music is great, while it isn’t to the standard of Ennio Morricone, the music is influenced enough by him, to create a nice western vibe. The music is probably my favourite part of this game:
Go have a listen, if you like Western inspired music then it will sate your desire.
The other good thing, is the final boss is a showdown, it uses the same mechanic as Mad Dog McCree, but unlike Mad Dog it explains to you what you need to do. It means it is fair, and you aren’t having to faff around dying endlessly trying to decipher the Rosetta stone.
Gunfighter could have been a great game, and maybe it is. But my copy is slow as fuck so it feels a little broken. Gunfighter probably isn’t the worst shooter on the PS1, but it is certainly the worst I have played using GCon guns rather than the Konami Hyper Blaster era gun (Crypt Killer types). The graphics being an undefined brown smear don’t help either.
Resident Evil: Survivor was a poor shooter, that becomes slightly better due to having a fully fledged game around it. Gunfighter is just a mediocre game.
Pros: Music is great, shooting does feel accurate, slightly longer than other shooters at 35-40 mins for a run
Cons: Some is off in the shooting though. It is S L O W
Back in the day:
I’ll be honest, I am struggling to find much on this game. But the reviews I can find suggest a solid 6-7 out of 10 scoreline.