The Wild West (Ariolasoft) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


The Wild West
By Ariolasoft
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #10

Wild West

Oh boy, this one is weird! You've heard of icon-driven adventures (The Fourth Protocol, etc) but this really takes the cake. Instead of entering commands, you select one of three rather dumb-looking sprites who lurk at the bottom of the screen. Each sprite has a word of advice to give you, which you can either take by pressing the fire button, or else ignore in favour of one of the others.

You start off in the desert and must recapture Fort Snake from Big Nose Bill and his merry men. On the way you encounter Indians (many of whom are distinctly unfriendly), rattle snakes, and snakes of the two-legged variety as well. In fact there don't seem to be many people around you can trust - least of all the sprites at the bottom of the screen who keep saying things like 'Teach him a lesson!' when you come across an Indian. Needless to say, teaching Indians usually results in sudden death.

The best thing about Wild West is the display. The graphics are very colourful and in some cases can suddenly come to life to bring you short animated sequences that show the results (usually fatal) of taking the wrong advice. Trying to climb a high wall at nightfall, for example, will soon result in your falling down and killing yourself in the story and on the screen.

One thing about this game that appealed to me was how often the sprites encouraged you to 'Take a rest'. Usually the last thing to do in an adventure is hang around and do nothing, but I soon discovered that many of the more important things in the game will only become apparent if you do occasionally take time off for a quick nap.

The game is split into three modules. The White Wizard got rather confused here. When you finish a module, you're given a password which enables you to play the next part. However, you can in fact enter any sequence of letters and still play the module, though it seems that things don't happen quite the way they should unless you've actually completed the previous episode and been given a valid password. The first module contains some excellent shooting sequences. The second is mostly concerned with dealing with Indians. The third phase puts you down by Fort Snake and complicates things considerably by making each sprite give different advice if you ask it more than once - so you have to choose the right sprite and the right advice. Help!

Wild West is lively game - you'll need a pen and paper to keep a track of the options you've selected, so that, by a process of trial and elimination, you can make progress in the game. I reckon that this game will be particularly enjoyed by younger players - older and more experienced adventurers might find it a bit twee. Still, it's nice to see some new ideas here in Adventureland.

The White Wizard