Gunman Clive Review
It was the middle of 2012 when a Swedish man developed an entire game all by himself in his game studio, in his spare time may I add. This man is called Bertil Hörberg. Bertil finally unleashed his piece of interactive art also known as a video game to the world. This game was called Gunman Clive and became purchasable on any IOS or Android device for just,£1/euro/dollar. An incredible price. The game eventually rolled onto the Nintendo 3DS in early 2013 and benefitted greatly from its traditional button layout which smart phones and tablets lack.
You can find Gunman Clive on the 3DS eShop for the same price as the IOS and Android versions. Does this game shoot for the stars or does Bertil shoot himself in the foot with this game? Read on to find out.
The story is set in a typical Wild, Wild West environment. You are a cowboy/Gunman called Clive who must rescue the Town Mayor’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a group of bandits. A very similar plot to Double Dragon where your girlfriend gets kidnapped by thugs or when Princess Peach gets kidnapped (many times) by Bowser.
After playing the game, it is fairly obvious that Bertil got his inspiration from both Capcom’s Mega Man platform mechanics and Double Dragon’s side scrolling story progression. Gunman Clive is a very short game that can be beaten in an hour or two in one sitting, depending of course on how good you are. Not that it is a bad thing of course. I feel as though the game is priced fairly based on the amount of content it has. Like most old school platformers, The entire game is split into 5 stages across four unique worlds which makes the entire game twenty stages long. The game starts off in a typical old-west setting but starts to feel more like Mega Man when you start shooting down turrets and robots in some of the later futuristic levels. I must admit, it felt a bit weird jumping from an old west town to a level where I have to fly to the moon on the back of a rocket.
Like in NES-era Capcom titles, the life meter is back which depletes as you take damage. Gunman Clive plays exactly like Mega Man if you look closely at the finer details of the game. Every enemy and environmental hazards littered across every stage you encounter have their own pattern. Enemy cowboys tend to fire bullets every few seconds, blocks appear and disappear like in the Fire Man stage in Mega Man 1, laser cannons shoot lasers every few seconds etc. Gunman Clive is all about getting to know when to wait for an opening and then strike. This strategy is even more important when you have to tackle the bosses in each world. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Although I said Gunman Clive is too short, the game does pack a lot of great content. Like in Super Mario Brothers 2 for the NES, you can play as an alternative character and unlock a third character which radically changes the way you play Gunman Clive. The game also has three difficulty settings. Sadly, the game is almost identical no matter what difficulty you pick. The only real difference is the amount of damage you receive when an enemy strikes you. Having said that, if you are a perfectionist like myself, you will want to beat the game in all three modes. Easy, Medium and Hard. The game is very short so you might as well.
What makes this game really stand out the most at such a cheap price point is the sepia-toned art style and how great it looks using the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D mode. It is easily one of the best uses of 3D on the system. The art style also looks incredibly beautiful and feels like I am playing through a sketch book of hand drawn illustrations on sepia-toned paper. The constant movement of the scribbles that make up the game’s visuals reminds me of the tv show “Home Movies”.
The controls are accessible and easy to master. The Circle pad is used to run left and right, pressing down makes you duck for cover. Pressing the B button makes you jump and Y is for shooting from your trusty pistol. Again, like in Mega Man, you can upgrade your gun to take down foes faster.
The game kicks off with a very catchy old western type track that you will definitely whistle to as you run, jump and gun through some of the old west type of stages. The music mostly delivers but there are one or two tracks which feel a bit out of place in relation to the game’s art direction like the space tracks which has that same “boop beep” sound found in some of Capcom’s compositions most notably Mega Man.
Overall, Bertil’s Gunman Clive is a very good platform game with a very solid art direction and great platform mechanics.