Video Game: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
The fourth game in the Call of Juarez
series, announced in September 2012 and released on May 22, 2013. The setting is the Old West again, but the gameplay is less plot-driven and veer away from free exploration towards arcade-like shooting sequences
. The story stars bounty hunter Silas Greaves as he recounts some of his old adventures to bar patrons.
Tropes found in the game:
- Alternate History: Surprisingly averted for the most part, any character Silas fights that is well-known to either be still alive long after he supposedly kills them, or died by other means survives their encounters with him. The only thing that is changed significantly is The fate of the Big Bad Roscoe "Bob" Bryant, who died in 1878. A whole 32 year difference from when Silas killed him.
- The various collectables throughout the game also provide the historically accurate story of what happened to who (as far as we know) and uses the Hand Wave excuse that Silas is exaggerating his stories to explain aspects of the game that don't match up point to point with real life evidence.
- Art Shift: Gunslinger uses this trope, stylizing the game with cartoony outlines and exaggerated blood effects, to name but a few.
- Been There, Shaped History/Hero Killer: Over the course of the game, Silas claims to have fought against (and soundly beaten) pretty much every major gunslinger from the Old West, including John Wesley Hardin, the Cowboys, Jesse James, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The impressionable teenager he's telling the story to also turns out to be Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- Boss Rush: In the Duel Mode the player faces all the bosses from the main game, minus Roscoe Bryant and plus Billy the Kid who isn't a boss, in showdowns.
- Bounty Hunter: Silas Greaves
- Bullet Time: Concentration Mode slows down time temporarily, allowing you to both aim more effectively at enemies and dodge incoming fire.
- Collection Sidequest: The Nuggets of Truth which unlock real historical facts about the people and places in the game.
- Combat Pragmatist: During duels, drawing your gun early and shooting your opponent is an option, though it'll be considered a "Dishonorable Kill" and you get much less score for it.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Spanish coin that starts the whole mess appears to be a piece of the cursed Treasure of Juarez.
- The story in his Nugget of Truth profile is that Bob Bryant was a member of Juarez's gang, which disbanded due to the events of the first game. That coin was most likely all that he got away with.
- There's even a Nugget of Truth about Ray McCall, one of the protagonists of the first game.
- Determinator: Silas brother's are murdered by three outlaws. As a result Silas becomes a bounty hunter and spends most of his live hunting them down. The majority of the legendary outlaws he gunned down? Silas either assumed they knew something about the whereabouts of one of his targets or they were just unlucky enough to stand in his way.
- Dodge the Bullet: A mechanic in-game. It's possible to dodge the bullet that would have possibly killed you, though this ability takes time to recharge after you use it. Enemies will also express their astonishment when they see this.
- Elaborate Equals Effective: The legendary weapons are all very, very ornate.
- Elite Mooks: Shielders and shotgunners can take several bullets and have their own health bar. A headshot still drops them instantly, though.
- Expy: Silas Greaves is based on The Man With No Name.
- Framing Device: The story takes the form of Silas Greaves recounting some old stories during his bounty hunter days to some bar patrons.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The gameplay has taken a noticeable shift from down to earth open world fair to more of an arcade-y shoot em up that encourages you to go for the highscore with bombastic and extravagant gunfights. This neatly supports the Framing Device of what you're playing merely being a story narrated by Silas, who is either exaggerating the events to be more entertaining or make himself look better, or just blatantly making up tall tales.
- Ghost Town: One of the levels takes place in one, complete with ghost enemies!
- Guns Akimbo: The first skill in the Gunslinger set allows you to dual wield revolvers. Another skill in the Trapper set allows for dual wielding sawed-off shotguns.
- The Gunslinger: Silas can specialize in either dual-wielding, rifles or shotguns depending on the player's choice.
- Heavily Armored Mook: Jesse Jame's gang includes one or two shotgunners wearing makeshift iron armor (seemingly based on the suits worn by Ned Kelly's gang). They're immune to bodyshots, but a good headshot will still take care of them.
- Hero-Worshipper: Dwight
- He Who Fights Monsters: By the end of the game Silas realizes that he isnít much better than the men heís hunting and probably has killed even more people.
- High Pressure Blood: A side effect of scoring a headshot.
- Historical Person Punchline: Dwight is no one else than Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: Ben refers to "Jim" as Jim Reed, even though Silas had only ever used his first name up until that point. Silas even points this out indirectly. This serves as one of many hints that Ben knows more about the 3 killers than would initially appear.
- Ironic Echo: "I wont have it said I left you with nothing..."
- Last Second Ending Choice: In the very end of the game, you get to choose between Revenge or Redemption, i.e. whether to kill Roscoe "Bob" Bryant or forgiving him after thirty years of hunting him. Picking Revenge leads to the final Showdown at High Noon and a cutscene where Dwight and the other bar patrons stare in shock, while Redemption cues to an ending cutscene wich shows Silas returning the gold coin and giving some friendly advice to young Dwight, before walking of into the sunset.
- Lemony Narrator: Silas will often comment on the situation and will even get impatient if the player waits too long. He'll also change the scene to more correctly fit how he remembers things.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The entire Grey Wolf mission. There's several supernatural events that happen throughout it, and dreams that detail events that happen decades later into Silas' life. It's left ambiguous if Grey Wolf was really supernatural, and was warning Silas of what he might become, or if he was a part of Silas' imagination.
- More Dakka:
- Several sections of the game feature Gatling Guns that the player can use. Some bosses also use these.
- Akimbo Sawed-Off Shotguns with infinite shotgun ammo skill.
- Mythology Gag: One of the Nuggets Of Truth you can find tells the story of Ray Mccall, essentially detailing the plot of the original game in the series.
- Narrative Backpedaling: All over the place.
- Once More with Clarity:
- After the first third of the game is completed, most missions start right as Silas catches up with the famous outlaw of each mission and dispatches them in heavy, stylistic ways. As soon as he does this, however, one of the bar patrons listening to his story will point out any inconsistencies, which then starts the mission over as it actually happened, often leading to anticlimactic confrontations and some of the outlaws surviving their wounds.
- Also, the story relevant messages that pop up during loading screens change from your first playthrough to what they say during a new game plus. Mainly giving some insight into Silas' stories as they work as foreshadowing (for the Gray Wolf chapter) or how they relate to his suspicious that Ben the Bartender is actually Bob and the ways he tries to get him to confirm those suspicions.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Silas only wounds most of the famous figures he ends up fighting throughout the game, so that they go on to die later on in the (often anticlimactic) manner recorded in history.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Silas suddenly stops his over the top, almost fantastical story of hunting Gray Wolf and goes on a determined, almost frightening reciting of an old poem on death. This is because he realizes at that exact moment (in retrospect to what Gray Wolf had said to him) that Ben/Bob is the person that Gray Wolf said will cause him to lose his soul if Silas kills him.
- Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Part of the game's art style involves this, especially with full blast shotgun kills.
- Punny Name: Silas Greaves grieves for his brothers.
- Pyrrhic Victory: In the Revenge ending, Silas gets his revenge on Bob at long last, but admits that he has willingly sold his soul for the chance and considers himself hell bound, recognizing that he failed to heed Gray Wolf's warnings and advice to not succumb to the poison of his rage and is beyond redemption, having become no better then the men he sought to kill through his long life of death begetting more and more death.
- Retired Outlaw: Ben, a.k.a. Roscoe "Bob" Bryant
- Secret Test of Character: In the Redemption ending, Silas claims the reason he rambled on with his story in the first place was to see if Ben/Bob had really changed or not, and is implied that seeing as how the bartender didn't just gun him down as soon as it became obvious the bounty hunter knew the truth means there's still hope for Graves to move on from all the death and vengeance in much the same way.
- Shout-Out: Plenty to classic western stories, but a handful of the chapter titles in particular reference some famous western movies:
- Once Upon A Time In Stinking Springs references OnceUponATimeInTheWest
- A Fistful of Hot Lead is to A Fistful of Dollars
- The Magnificent One is an obvious play on The Magnificent Seven
- Not So Great Train Robbery is a play on The Great Train Robbery (the first western movie ever)
- The chapters "They Call Me Bounty Hunter" and "Bounty Hunter is STILL My Name" directly reference the Trinity movies.
- 1:30 To Hell for 3:10 to Yuma
- Death Rides A Steel Stallion is for Death Rides A Horse.
- The final chapter, The Good, The Bad, And The Dead would be familiar to almost everyone even remotely familiar with the western genre, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly being one of the single most famous western movies of all time.
- Not a title reference, but Jessie James bears a strong resemblance to Brad Pitt, who played him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
- When Silas recounts his pursuit of Grey Wolf, the locator tag says "long time ago, on a mountain far, far away..."
- "Dances with Renegades" references "Dances with Wolves".
- Showdown at High Noon: Most of the Wild West celebrities are dealt with in duels. The player has to keep the aiming cursor onto their opponent without it drifting off of them to gain focus, while moving their hand closer to the revolver for a faster draw. The duels can be won Honorably, by drawing after your opponent, or Dishonorably, by drawing after the heartbeat sound plays but before the enemy drawing first, with the latter awarding fewer points.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Silas apparently thinks highly about Bob Ollinger's double barrel, as it's the only weapon to get its own introductory cutscene. In-game, they suffer from lack of range and poor magazine capacity.
- Skill Scores And Perks: The game features three independent (twin revolver cylinder-shaped) perk trees: one for Guns Akimbo, one for long-range sniping, and one for close range shooting. You gain experience points for stylish kills, which are then translated into Experience Levels, and you get to spend a skill point at each level. At the end of each "cylinder", you get access to one of the Legendary Weapons as a free bonus.
- To the Pain: How Silas takes revenge on his final nemesis. Eventually he realizes Ben is, in fact, Roscoe "Bob" Bryant, and once he does he basically spends the last third of the game fucking with him. The infamous "Oh Death" scene was instigated when he asks Ben if he's ever thought about death, a heavy bit of foreshadowing players will probably only realize the full implications of in retrospect or on a second play through.
- Unique Enemy: There are only a handful of shotgunners and only one or two armored shotgunners in the game. They're tougher than regular mooks, but not so tough they could be considered a mini-boss or even a Giant Mook.
- Unreliable Narrator: It's not clear how much of Silas' tales can be considered the truth. The way he gets more and more drunk and inconsistent as the tales go on doesn't instill much confidence, not that they were entirely believable from the beginning anyway. Even at the first cutscene, when questioned on how many of his stories are true, he answers back with "A few..."
- Worf Had The Flu: It's repeatedly mentioned that John Wesley Hardin was widely considered the fastest gunslinger who had ever lived, alongside Wild Bill Hickok. Silas admits he was only able to defeat Hardin because he was drunk off his ass at the time. Indeed, in the duel itself you're not really expected to outdraw Hardin, but are instead given the ability to lean left and right to dodge his bullets.