Some retro games are undeniable classics yet their prices have gone through the roof. Thankfully, Wild Guns is back in an upgraded iteration and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than its SNES counterpart. What are you waiting for, pilgrim? Let's start shooting.
Wild Guns is an underrated gem from the 16-bit era. If you haven't played it yet then let me explain what it's all about. You basically control a gun-toting buckaroo who shoots at a gallery of oncoming outlaws... and robots. After positioning the cursor (which also makes your character move around a little), you blast away and hope your foes fall harder than Billy Clanton at the O.K. Corral. When a bullet comes your way, you can tap the jump button to quickly dodge it if your reflexes are up to snuff. There are many power-ups in play, too, that can turn your basic six-shooter into a laser gun among other configurations. You also have a stock of special shots that can clear out a large number of varmints in one clean sweep. Overall, the constant exchange of gunfire as you juggle between dodging and shooting is incredibly fun. It's quite tough as well so make sure you're ready for a worthy challenge.
You'd think that Wild Guns Reloaded would feature a soundtrack full of Western tunes but instead it's mostly a combination of horns and electric guitars that actually suit the frantic gameplay perfectly. To top off the audio, the sound effects are phenomenal. Each shot is satisfying and hearing robots explode is super-exhilarating. Just like the original, the graphics are pixel-perfect with detailed environments and easily distinguishable characters. That being said, some screens are kind of boring but you can't deny that on average, your eyes are in for a real treat. In the end, not only does the gameplay hold up; the sights and sounds are as fantastic as ever.
When it comes to content, you get to play through the same stages as the original game and a couple more. First, you blast through Carson City then you tackle Desolation Canyon, Ammunition Depot, Gold Mine, and Armored Train in whichever order you want. Finally, you duel the Kid in an epic battle. In this iteration, there are a couple of extra stages that take place underground and on a flying ship. Additionally, Doris (a tubby explosives expert) and Bullet (a dog with a drone) join Clint and Annie this time around. Because there are now four characters, you can enjoy the adventure with a few friends in up to four-player cooperative multiplayer. On top of all this, you can unlock the retro soundtrack (by beating the campaign without continuing) and alternate character colours. There are also leaderboards to climb for each of the three difficulty settings so sharpshooters who have something to prove can show off. These are all wonderful additions that help extend Wild Guns Reloaded's shelf-life and will keep you shooting well after high noon.
My main complaint with Wild Guns Reloaded is that it's basically the same game as the over 20 year old Super Nintendo version. Right now, you don't have to pay a fortune for a physical copy because it's available for a decent price on Wii U's Virtual Console. Yes, Reloaded generally looks and sounds better but retro enthusiasts would probably prefer the classic version for authenticity's sake. Even the two new characters aren't that cool. Sure, they're quirky and worth a laugh or two but they're very frustrating to play as. Doris is slow and clunky while Bullet is confusing as you control both him and his drone. Also, the extra content is nice, but I was hoping there would be much more to it such as a story mode with save points or a list of challenges to complete.
Wild Guns Reloaded is a faithful and worthwhile update of a classic shooter. Although it still feels like the same old game for the most part, there's no denying the amount of rootin' tootin' boot-stompin' fun you'll have blasting away robot scallywags.
- + Awesome unique retro Wild West shooting gameplay that holds up wonderfully
- + Fantastic music and pixel-perfect visuals
- + Extras such as rankings are great additions
- - Essentially isn't much different to the original that you can get on Virtual Console
- - New characters are frustrating to play as
- - Limited content restricts replay value