Day 232 - any time is a good time for a High Noon showdown!

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

I'm going to do more posts about single games from now on... otherwise there's a danger of me only writing one post a month!  That doesn't guarantee the game I write about will be included in the book, so if that happens with any of them you can consider these bonus features!

One of the first Commodore 64 games I ever played, well before I even owned a machine of my own, was Ocean Software's High Noon.  I used to go to a mate's house and he had loads of games for his, even at that early stage.  Some of them might be considered quite obscure by now... for instance, I now distinctly remember playing Jason Perkins' Blue Moon, which I'd completely forgotten about until I started researching Jason Perkins!

Yee-haw, ya rootin'-tootin- varmint!
One game I never forgot was High Noon.  Back in those early days, the prospect of any new game loading was exciting.  This was a fairly typical early Ocean game, with the Novaload squeaking into life and then a basic loading screen, short repetitive tune and scrolling message popping up.  For some reason, even though I was used to the instant access of the Atari VCS' cartridges, the nervous anticipation of seeing a new game was there every time.

Once it loaded, High Noon was one of the best things I'd ever seen.  It may have had really chunky sprites, but it gave them charm and character.  And you could walk into and out of the screen!  This made the play area bigger, although you had to learn a whole new method of bullet dodging as a result!

You can never die with dignity in the Old West.
Speaking of charm and character, for a game where the focus is purely on gunning down as many bad guys as possible, High Noon has a nice sense of humour.  This is evidenced by the undertakers, "Rig + Mortis", who wander out after each kill and drags the still-warm bodies into their lair!  Oh, and this even includes your good self, so try not to get hit if you can...

Later levels ramp up the difficulty, with bandits on horseback throwing you off guard, and then there are the robbers with dynamite to keep a close eye on...

Ah.  So that's what that hissing thing does.
You have to keep your trigger finger warm and active if these guys aren't going to make off with all the bank's money or worse, all the saloon's women!  And while it does get repetitive, the difficulty curve is well-judged and the gameplay remains frantic enough to entertain.  I don't know who wrote High Noon... there is no in-game credit other than "Ocean Software Presents".  But it's a game I've enjoyed for almost thirty years now, and still well worth a little blast today.