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Video Game / Call of Juarez

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Billy Candle has had a crappy life: his dad is gone, his mom married a guy who beat him up regularly, he was mistreated by other kids for being a Mexican; when he ran away from home to find lost treasures, he didn't make it far; a girl he loved had a Boyfriend-Blocking Dad and he lost both the girl and his job. He returns to his hometown of Hope, "the most hopeless place on Earth", because he has nowhere left to go... and finds his mother and stepfather shot dead in their home, "Call of Juarez" written in blood above their bodies. Worse even, he is seen by his step-uncle Reverend Ray who assumes he is the murderer and gives chase to him...

Call of Juarez is a fast-paced Western First-Person Shooter, where the player alternatingly assumes the roles of Billy and Reverend Ray, who is after his head. Billy is more of a Fragile Speedster with heavy emphasis on stealth, whereas Ray is a Mighty Glacier and The Gunslinger, which allows for an interesting twist: revisiting the same level (Ray is chasing after Billy, after all) never grows boring, thanks to the vastly different gameplay styles of the two.

The original game (2006) started the eponymous series, currently consisting of three more titles:

Tropes found in the original Call of Juarez:

  • Abusive Parents: Billy's stepfather beats him regularly. His biological father, Juarez, is even worse.
  • A.K.A.-47: Rather surprisingly, given that all the guns involved are almost 200 years old, and are presumably no longer covered by trademark. Although it may simply be for simplicity's sake, as "Classic Rifle" is a lot shorter to write than "Winchester Model 1892".
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You switch between Billy and Ray throughout the game. Billy's sections emphasize stealth and platforming, while Ray's sections are geared towards straightforward action.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Ray picks up the habit to quote The Bible... in all the wrong situations.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ray clearly is not alright in the head, even before his brother and sister-in-law are murdered, very obviously showing his disdain for the people he's preaching to for the sin they carry. After his brother and sister-in-law are murdered, he falls into a delusional quest for what he thinks is justice, killing everyone in his path under the belief that it's his God-given duty. Being deceived by two bandits posing as rangers, which causes the death of Molly's father, finally makes him reflect on his actions.
  • Badass Preacher: Ray can hold The Bible in the left hand and read passages from it even as he guns down mooks with a revolver in his right.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In the extra story on the original Call of Juarez the unnamed sheriff kills his corrupt boss, County Commissioner Grizzwald, and the bandit, Vasquez, is executed leaving Round Rock in peace... but the whole town saw him gun down Grizzwald and Vasquez was the only person who knew he was corrupt, forcing the sheriff to flee to Mexico, or get hung by the citizens.
    • In the main ending Juarez is killed, Billy and Molly get married, and Billy has finally found the treasure, but Ray dies.
  • Breakable Weapons: All guns eventually explode after a few dozen shots. How quickly this happens depends on the condition of the weapon, with "rusty" weapons exploding in your hands a lot more quickly than those in good condition. This was removed in Bound in Blood, in favor of more weapon quality levels and stats.
  • Bullet Time: Ray can go into it when armed with revolvers. Billy can do it, too, after he acquires a bow. Both players can do it in Bound in Blood, to different effects.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: In the original, this is what starts the entire story, appropriately enough with "Call of Juarez" even being written near the bodies of Billy's parents. Since the prequel, Bound in Blood, has been released, however, it essentially turns into a case of Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome.
  • Church Militant: Ray explicitly considers himself the Wrath of God.
  • Disappeared Dad: Billy's dad is the titular Juarez.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Thomas obviously named Billy after his youngest brother.
  • Dodge the Bullet: In the first game, quick-draw duels take place in slow motion, and (if you're quick enough) you can even lean left or right to dodge incoming enemy bullets.
  • Domestic Abuse: Thomas Ray has beaten Billy up regularly, and Billy initially avoided his home while it was being attacked because he mistook the noises for Thomas going through one of his rages.
  • Dueling Player Characters: There is a brief level where Ray finally catches up with Billy and guns him down (though Billy survives).
  • Expy: Ray is essentially Clint Eastwood's character in Pale Rider
  • Faux Affably Evil: Juarez initially presents himself as a polite man who frames the deaths of Billy's parents as an altercation that got out of hand. When Billy reveals that he doesn't have what Juarez seeks however, the niceties immediately drop, and Juarez just reveals himself to be worse and worse as the rest of the game goes on.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: There are two in the original game, the bigoted farmhand leader and the final boss.
  • Fragile Speedster: Billy can hardly take damage before dropping dead, but he's far faster than Ray, which is one of the reasons he's able to evade him during Ray's pursuit.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Enforced by the game—trying to shoot a civilian will result in the character saying no (and if you do manage to harm them somehow, you'll get kicked out of the game.)
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: While in Hope, before being accused of murder, Billy, armed only with a whip, can, if the player is skilled and determined enough, kill just about the entire town population, without any long-term repercussions.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Billy's whip can act as this.
  • Guide Dang It!: It's not immediately obvious that you have to make the final shot on Juarez as a duel - i.e. flick the control stick to draw - because every previous duel was announced openly. All the more frustrating because you only have a split-second, and must watch a long unskippable cutscene before every attempt.
  • Guns Akimbo: Ray's most powerful weapon are his trusty dual revolvers, even in the final stages, though everyone else can use them in general. You can even do it with Sawn Off Shotguns.
  • The Gunslinger: Ray is a mix of Trick Shot and The Woo.
  • Hand Cannon: The pair of lever-action Volcano Pistols you get from Juarez after your duel against him near the end of the game. They're the most powerful pistols in the game and will kill any enemy in one shot, while still having a sizable ammo capacity and rate of fire.
  • Hated Hometown: Billy hates his hometown (as well as everything from his crappy childhood, except his mother), but has to return to it in the beginning of the first game.
  • How We Got Here: The game starts with Ray entering Juarez's compound with a gatling gun before cutting back to Billy arriving home.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Concentration mode causes Bullet Time and lets the player fire and dodge bullets by ducking and leaning while doing so. Ray eventually has to shoot dynamite falling toward him and hit a flaming lamp away from him with bullets alone.
  • Injun Country: The Native Americans in Call Of Juarez and Bound In Blood are identified as Apache, Comanche, and Navajo; but they all live in tipis, use totem poles, and wear Braids, Beads and Buckskins.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Only in quick-draw duels. Except when it isn't.
  • Last-Second Villain Recovery: In the finale, Billy defeats the Big Bad Juan Juarez twice (once in a Showdown at High Noon and once with Good Old Fisticuffs) and is reunited with his love interest Molly. While they are tearfully embracing each other, however, Juarez gets up a third time and tries to stab Billy In the Back... only to be shot in the head by Billy's mortally-wounded uncle Ray.
  • Made of Iron: Mostly averted, as all boss battles are quick-draw duels that end with only a couple shots. The only exception is Juarez himself when you fight him as Ray inside the treasure cave, and his ability to take a few dozen bullets before retreating is later explained by the fact that he's wearing armor just like Ray.
  • Mayincatec: The final prize in the game are the cursed Aztec treasures. The treasure is identified as the ransom for Montezuma, seized by Cortez's men. The Mayincatec temple near Juarez, roughly 1000 miles north from the territory of the Aztec is another thing though.
  • Mighty Glacier: Ray combines the toughness and power of a Mighty Glacier (and he is immune to frontal attacks thanks to the cuirass he's wearing) with speed of a Trick Shot, thus being effectively indestructible in combat. Think Death Star on legs.
  • Neutral Female: Molly during the final fight with Juarez. She just stands frozen in fear while Juarez and Billy duke it out.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: Subversion: Juarez pulls out a knife after being beaten in a fistfight by Billy. He still loses, but only because Reverend Ray draws a gun and shoots him.
  • Noob Bridge: A certain jump near the beginning of episode VII requires you to grapple a branch with the whip, then shorten the whip to bring yourself upwards before swinging across to the ledge. The in-game tutorial never mentions that you can shorten or lengthen the whip when grappling, so players who don't bother to read manuals will likely get stuck on that part for a while.
  • Overheating: Happens to guns in the original game.
  • Rail Roading: Early in the game, as Billy enters Hope, sheriff on the bridge will take his gun away. If you try to trick the game by dropping your weapon before the bridge encounter, you'll discover afterwards that it has "mysteriously" vanished.
  • Redemption Failure: Ray becomes a priest after killing his brother William in Bound in Blood. In the original game, he goes right back to being The Gunslinger after his other brother is killed.
  • Remixed Level: In the original game.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Inverted. In the first game, neither Ray nor Juarez act as though they recognize each other, despite the fact that they're meeting under extremely similar circumstances as before, and neither has changed that much over the past 20 years (Ray is still even wearing his signature armor).
  • Rollercoaster Mine: The original game had some, the prequel doesn't.
  • Rule of Cool: The main reason you can use The Bible to spout quotes while gunning people down.
  • Sinister Minister: Ray is this in the Ax-Crazy sense rather than the corrupt sense, being a very unhinged man very willing to kill in the name of God.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: It's much more clear if you read the tie-in comic, but the reason Thomas beat Billy mercilessly throughout the poor kid's childhood is because he saw Billy's father Juarez in the kid whenever he looked at him, and was also afraid Billy would grow up to be just like the guy.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Ray gets into these regularly.
  • Soft Water: Averted. Falling into a body of water from a far height will kill you just like if you hit solid dirt.
  • South of the Border: The primary setting.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Most missions involving Billy, whereas Ray's are primarily action-heavy.
  • Stern Chase: The central conceit of the story's structure, with Billy as the fugitive and Ray as the pursuer.
  • Story Overwrite: Even if you kill Juarez with a headshot in the first game, he will always be back, claiming that his chestplate saved him.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Some of the bosses deliver fairly long speeches before you begin fighting them; of course, the protagonist just stands there and waits for them to finish.
  • Title Drop: "Call of Juarez" also doubles as Arc Words.
  • Throw-Away Guns: All guns have limited durability and will explode after enough shots, so you never hold onto a particular gun for long. Higher quality guns do last longer, but will break down eventually.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • After several levels of linear cowboy slaying, Billy wakes up from a headshot to the face to find himself dumped into a Wide-Open Sandbox spirit quest taking place in a huge continuous forest and lake map.
    • Happens whenever the game shifts from Billy to Ray and vice versa. Billy's levels are more stealth orientated, due to him being a Fragile Speedster, whereas Ray's are more about brute force.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Ray can shoot an enemy a couple of times, reload, go into Bullet Time and unload two pistol magazines into said enemy. Plus a couple to the head if you're accurate enough.
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: Harming civilians or horses will quickly result in an unceremonious Non-Standard Game Over.
  • We Can Rule Together: Juarez makes this offer to his son Billy at the end of the first game. Seeing as how Juarez recently beat him unconscious as well as kidnapped his girlfriend and threatened to rape and kill her, Billy isn't remotely interested.
  • The Western: All of it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to Suzy? Ray burns down the bar/brothel where she works to kill all the town thugs, does that mean he also killed her and all the other working girls? Almost certainly so.