Retail Price: £1.99
Author: John Darnell and Simon Freeman
In the days of the wild and woolly West times were hard. If you happened to be the sheriff then times were doubly hard as people tended to have a healthy disrespect for anything or anyone in authority. In this game, Kane must try and make peace with the Indians and keep law and order in his town. Kane needs a steady hand, a sure eye and a fast gun. What with runaway trains, ghost town ambushes and the perils of the prairie, he really has his work cut out for him.
The game is divided up into four sections, each of which must be completed before you can progress to the next one. There is a practice mode, where you can flip through all the screens before playing the game for real.
Section one involves shooting birds with a bow and arrow the feathered ones are traded with the Indians for lives in the later stages. Kane starts with ten - arrows and loses one for every bird that is missed. Every time he hits a bird, the number of arrows in his pouch stays the same. The birds are shot by lining them up in the mobile sights before pressing fire. Points are scored for every bird impaled.
Section Two is a ride across the prairie. With his trusty steed beneath him, the sheriff must jump the obstacles which present themselves in his path. A misjudged leap results in the horse throwing Kane and a life is lost. If the treacherous patch of prairie is negotiated then Kane arrives in a deserted ghost town. But is it really deserted? Some mean outlaws start taking pot shots at you. You reach for your gun and start blasting.
Ten baddies in the town must be shot. The number of men killed is shown in red on the left hand side of the screen, while the number of mean critters left shooting at you is shown on the right. Kane has six bullets in his gun and must run to the right of the screen to get more bullets. Baddies pop up from the saloon, the bank and the general store and need to be shot before they disappear or shoot you instead. Once all ten baddies have been sent to Boot Hill, you can progress to the Train Journey in section four.
A train is out of control and only you can stop it and save the helpless passengers. Kane has to negotiate another nasty piece of prairie, strangely similar to section two, jumping over all the obstacles on his trusty nag. The train must be caught up with and stopped within a certain time limit and once the passengers are safe, the first level of the game is complete.
There are three levels to the game, each increasing in difficulty and speed. Have you the guts and determination to clean up the Wild West or will you end up on Boot Hill instead?
Control keys: Q up, A down, N left, M right, Z fire/jump
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: Average
Use of colour: good, lots used
Graphics: not amazingly good
Sound: spot effects
Skill levels: three
MASTERTRONIC seem to have taken their time translating this on to the Spectrum - and to be honest they shouldn't have bothered. Eye-wise the game is fairly attractive, with lots of colour on the screen and some smoothly animated characters. Sound just consists of a few spot effects which are very accurate but sound lonely in a game that doesn't involve too much frenzied activity. The first stage - shooting the birds, is very inaccurate and I found my arrows constantly going straight through the belly of the bird without affecting it at all. The first jumping stage is far too easy and getting past the 'shoot-out' stage is a doddle, but the final jumping stage proved far to difficult to warrant plodding through the first three parts. The game is very basic and doesn't require any brains at all. Kane may appeal to the younger games player, but whether even they will be addicted enough to load it up again is very much in doubt.
This game suffers from a lack of screens. It would be fun if there were about ten more sections to battle through. As it stands, there isn't really any lasting interest after completing the first four screens, which are very easy. The graphics are a mixture of nicely animated lumpy characters and garish colours which, on the whole, fail to please the eye. The sound is also a bit limp. There are no tunes and only a few spot effects. I don't recommend the game as it gets very monotonous after a short time.
I can't say I like Kane much. The graphics are pretty bad, and the game lacks enough content, despite its four stages, to make it addictive. Playability wise, Kane is lair, but even for £1.99 it doesn't seem like much value for money. The horse riding sequence isn't exactly difficult, and the gun fighting bit isn't any good at all. The first part is probably the best. and even that isn't up to much. Though it might just be fun for a while, I don't think Kane is really worth the money asked for it.
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