Gunsmoke - Capcom


Main review, captions and screenshots by Mattias Johansson
Second opinion by Akira

Player 1

Player 2

"The year was 1849 in the small town called Hicksville where the pioneers worked hard during the gold rush era. One day a group of outlaws known as the Wingates came into town, killed the sheriff and took over the town. The Wingates raided the town everyday and terrified the people in Hicks-ville. Then came a lone gunman in the windy afternoon, with a sunset behind him to save the town, to save the People in Hicksville!"

If you've never played this true classic, you may laugh at this story, but I just can't. True, it is a not-so-well written story, but every time I read it and listen to the well-written intro music I get a nostalgic tear in my eye. Aahh... Memories...

This is one of the best shmups for the NES, the only better is maybe the Life Force/Gradius series. You are a cowboy that has to kill a lot of outlaws and get the money they have stolen. For the money, you can buy a lot of things, i.e. horses, ammo and weapons. In the beginning of the game, you've only got the usual revolver, but you can buy a shotgun, a machinegun, a Magnum or a Smart Bomb. Hmm... Don't you think that many of these weapons sounds a little bit to modern... Yeah, but Gunsmoke is not a historical sim, more a great, great, great shmup.

If you are using any of the weapons that you've bought, and you get killed, the bandits will steal the weapon that you used. There are six levels, but every level re-runs until you find a "WANTED" sign and can go to the boss. You can also BUY a "WANTED"-sign, but they are ex- pensive, very expensive...

The NES joypad gives you perfect control, but get one with autofire! The music is very good, but the graphics is way too flat and cartoony to give the game a realistic look. But sometimes, the landscapes have a very nice 3d effect.

The levels get more and more challenging quickly and makes this game last longer. You have unlimited continues, but when you're using a Continue, all of your money and weapons will be gone.

Graphics 75%
Sound 90%
Gameplay 95%
Overall 90%

Ok, I'll start this off with a harsh comment. This conversion is ARSE.

Gunsmoke was not a game I liked a damn lot back in the arcades, I used to play 1942 instead of this, however it was a decent game in which you could pop a coin every now and then, if you didn't have a 1942 machine near.

However, something went wrong with this NES conversion, converting that once OK game into a pile of rubbish.

To start, let's talk about the controls. A game designed to be used with 3 buttons has lost a lot in the conversion to 2 buttons. I found myself never shooting forward, since this implies that you should be pressing both the B and A buttons, and it just doesn't feel right. I rather sweep the screen while shooting to the sides.

The graphics which are not in-game have been converted pretty faithfully, but the sprites are the ones which suffer. Who chose the palette? Krusty the Clown? And where are the enemies? Hiding inside a barrel surely, because the screen has so little number of enemies at the same time, that it looks more like Ghostvile.

One of the biggest casualties is the sound. Where are those snazzy game tunes the arcade version had? They have been replaced for something else that, despite being of a cowboyish feel, are a bit more bland and don't make you feel like killing outlaws, it makes you feel more like going to their funeral.

Also how each level works is not very pleasant. The level keeps on looping until you've found one of those Wanted signs or you bought one. Then you can confront the end of level baddie. This killed the fluidity the arcade game had.

In all, If I was you, and had a NES, I'd get something else, like Lifeforce or Gradius. And if you preffer shmups of the type where the main sprite is a guy who shoots baddies and takes no names, you're better looking into Commando or Guerrilla War.


Graphics 50%
Sound 25%
Gameplay 50%
Overall 45%

- Mattias Akira -



(What's wrong with that dude... and, ARGH! MY EYES! THE COLORS! - Akira)


The first boss

(Bandit Bill? Could this be one of Bill Gates' ancestors? I wouldn't be surprised - Akira)


Level 1- ACTION!

(More like CRAPTION! - Akira)


Where you buy weapons.

(I first thought the lady tried to take me to the looney bin. She said 'we're on your side', the typical catchphrase to lock the nutty in a force vest and take him out. But then she offered guns. I guess she's more nuts. MAG NUM? - Akira)


Where you buy other equipment.

(Who would want to pay 20000 bucks for a sign? It costs the same as the horse, god damnit! After playing the same level for 10 minutes I got tired and decided to throw this game where it belonged: the trashbin. At least I didn't have to pay for it =P - Akira)


This type of shooter is not being worked on anymore, is it? Which was the last Commando/MERCS type game released? I can't remember. I'd say FixEight but I could be well wrong.

- Akira


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie