A few years ago, I got myself hooked on playing the wild west video game called “Gun” on the PS2. I have to admit that it was one of the better games that I’ve played over the years. Riding the range, hunting down wanted bandits, and performing mercenary work in an environment that lets you dive head-first into the perilous world of the American wild west during the late 1800’s.
It may be that the history of the west has been overdramatized in the form of these games, but it’s difficult not to get pulled into the amazing experience that this genre of game offers. It lets you slip back to a time and place where the world was governed less by laws and more by the moral code of a local community. It was a time where the line between peace and chaos was very thin, and when local outlaws could turn a small community completely upside down.
If you’ve followed along with a few of us here at MUO that enjoy first person shooters, then you’ve probably already heard about cool free games like Red Eclipse and Urban Terror, which Danny reviewed, or Cross Fire, which Simon reviewed. These are some of the coolest FPS games out there.
I made the mistake of selling my copy of Guns, and regretted it ever since. There were times when I just wanted to unwind by riding the prairie and hunting down a few bandits for a bounty, and remembered that I no longer had the game. So, I went to SourceForge in search of a free wild west game that might fill the void. I was pretty excited to discover Smokin’ Guns.
Hold On to Your Gun and Don’t Lose Your Nerve
I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I have to admit that I often judge a game by its intro. In this way, Smokin’ Guns caught my interest. The intro was of a quality you’d expect from a professionally-made game, and intriguing enough to convince me that it might be the start of an afternoon of some gun-fighting fun.
At the main menu, you’ll have the option to configure the controls to your liking or launch a single-player or multi-player game. I highly-suggest going for the single-player mode at the beginning so that you can get accustomed to the game play and warm up to the controls before you jump right into the fire where the players are mostly going to be quite experienced.
At the start of single-player mode, you can choose the difficulty level, game type and then of course the arena. Each arena represents a very cool landscape. You can choose from a fort, a canyon, a ghost town, and many other arenas.
To test the game out, I just chose the Alamo in Easy Mode and launched right into single-player mode. I found myself standing in the corner of a room in an old building straight out of some old western movie. I was holding a fully-loaded six-shooter and a knife. I guess this is the starting point.
After making the mistake of walking out into the open and getting shot a few times, the fourth time I spawned back into the game I quickly ran around the back of a building and carefully made my way to a stone staircase at the outer edge of the Fort without attracting any attention.
At the top of the outer walls, and with a wonderful vantage view of the center of the arena, I managed to pop off a few kills from a distance.
Gradually, my score started rising as I became accustomed to the way the game works. However, I did notice that the bots were very intelligent, and seemed to have a keen sixth sense about where you’re located – more than a normal player would really have I think. When the bots catch wind of you – you better be a crack shot, because they’ll come after you and they won’t give up unless you’re very fast.
If you’re not a good shot, and not very fast, this is the sort of screen you’ll be seeing a lot of. I saw my fair share.
One thing I didn’t like about some of the arenas was how dark they were. The Ghost Town arena in particular, and the Canyon as well, are created at dusk so that the entire game is extremely dark. In fact, I started out the round in an underground tunnel, and I couldn’t see anything at all.
I had to turn the brightness of my screen to max, and finally made it out, and made my way around the landscape over to the center of the arena where all of the bots were sure to be running around hunting eachother.
Once I felt that I was good enough at the controls to defend myself from real players, I decided to go back to the main menu and give the multi-player game mode a shot. To see a list of available gameservers, you’ll need to click on “Get New List” to update your list of available servers. Just choose from one that’s available and has a few players online, and jump right into the game.
Don’t forget to choose the character look that you want. I always go with the dude that is most likely to blend well into the shadows.
Multiplayer gameplay in Smokin’ Guns is really cool – especially in deathmatch. The nice thing about multiplayer mode is that the human players are not quite as “psychic” as the computer bots you play in singleplayer mode. You’ll also want to be sure that you’re a crack shot and use your bullets sparingly, because if you just blast away all you want, you’ll quickly find yourself loaded up with plenty of dropped weapons from other players – but completely out of ammo.
Thankfully, you still do have the knife. I became quite adept at running as fast as I could – ducking and weaving – right up to other players and slashing them a few times to death. Most players aren’t quick enough to turn, aim and shoot – so if you’re fast and can get in close, you can actually get in a good number of kills without getting shot. Unfortunately, the other team decided to gang up on me. I guess it was a concerted effort to take out the strange knife-wielding serial killer that had just joined the game. Here I am hiding in the dark as three players race toward me with guns blazing.
That female player standing on a barrel was probably one of the most viscous players of the game. A few seconds after this screenshot, she took me out with a single bullet. Not a bad shot lady…whoever you were.
Smokin’ Guns isn’t like the usual military-style shooting games like Call of Duty or Metal of Honor. It also isn’t like the surreal, monster-filled Doom-esque games that fill the gamestore shelves. No – this game is all about a gunfighter and his gun. Just trying to survive in a crazy, wild place where everyone else also has a gun with a bullet that has your name on it. Shoot fast and shoot true young gun slinger, and you just might stay alive.
Do you like FPS games like this? What do you think of Smokin’ Guns? Give the game a try and lets us know what you think in the comments section below!
Image Credits: Western Style Deputy Sheriff via Shutterstock