Shmuptember - Wild West Hero (ZX Spectrum)

by Paul Morrison


It's no use.  I can't play this game or even write about it without getting Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero" in my head.  I don't even like that song.  Damn you, Foreigner!

Take that, ya pesky varmints!

Take that, ya pesky varmints!

Onto the game though which, with such a title, conjures up images of rootin' tootin' cowboys shootin', with varmints everywhere and pesky bandits assailing you from all sides.  That's kind of what you get, too, albeit not in the manner you might expect.  You see, Wild West Hero is a clone of the arcade classic, Robotron 2084.

Yeah, I bet you weren't expecting that (unless you've played the game before, obviously).  The plot says simply: "EVADE AND DESTROY DEADLY BANDITS.  AVOID CACTI AND OTHER OBJECTS".  And that's all there is to the game.  Sometimes, simplicity is best.

Dagnabbit, don't you guys ever take a hint and quit?

Dagnabbit, don't you guys ever take a hint and quit?

As with Robotron, every screen sees you warping into the centre while enemies and objects materialise around you.  Each level is populated by a terrifying amount of enemies and they only get more numerous the longer you last.  Fortunately you're quick on the draw and have a fast-firing weapon, so at least you have half a chance of getting out alive.

Wild West Hero is the sort of game that arcade fans would have lapped up back in the day.  The reviewers in CRASH called it a Berzerk type game which leads me to believe they didn't play many arcade games.  Even the title screen is a rip-off of Robotron 2084!  To be fair, it wasn't a game that was widespread in British arcades, but it's not really anything like Berzerk.

See?  Robotron 2084.  Berzerk doesn't even have a title screen to rip off!

See?  Robotron 2084.  Berzerk doesn't even have a title screen to rip off!

Although Wild West Hero lacks the subtleties and different enemies of that game, it's quite a rush to fight your way out of the pack before turning the tables on your assailants.  Once you get to level ten you're going to need some serious skills to progress.  I love that about a shooter though, and this one keeps you on your toes for every single second.