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Video Game / Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

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"Yesterday, we were a family..."

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is the 2009 prequel to the 2006 Western shooter Call of Juarez, centering on Ray (one of the protagonists of the original game) and his brother Thomas' exploits in their youth. After deserting from the Confederate Army shortly before its defeat, the McCalls find their old home burned down, their youngest brother William being the only survivor. To rebuild their home, the three travel to Mexico to find the legendary treasure of Juarez but William worries that his brothers are becoming outlaw murderers who only want the money for themselves...

Bound in Blood keeps the fast pace of the original, but shifts the narrative focus towards the intense Family Drama of the McCalls. Gameplay-wise, the game adds Regenerating Health and a cover mechanic, and also does away with the stealth segments from the first game. It also revamps the old concept of playing through the same level twice: you can choose to play most levels as either Thomas or Ray, as they fight together at the same time (the other is controlled by the AI). Sadly and perplexingly, there's no cooperative mode. Additionally, BiB introduces more realistic quick-draw duels.

The game was very well received, falling somewhere between a Surprisingly Improved and an Even Better Prequel, depending on your opinion of the first game, thanks to the improved graphics and gameplay mechanics and a more personal and engaging storyline.

Tropes found in the game:

  • The American Civil War: The first two chapters of the game take place in 1864, where Ray and Thomas fight for the South and defend the Chattahoochie River from the forces of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The two disobey direct orders to save their homestead from a Union attack, and then desert the Confederate army entirely.
  • Anachronism Stew: The prequel uses all the guns from the first game, including SAA revolvers, which weren't due to be invented for at least another decade after the Civil War.
    • What's more, Ray constantly uses dynamite, despite the game taking place in 1865/1866. Dynamite was only patented in 1867.
  • As the Good Book Says...: William is fond of citing The Bible.
  • The Atoner: The reason Ray becomes Reverend Ray in the end. Running River too, who changes his name to Calm Water and dedicates himself to a life of peace.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ray has this in spades. At one point Thomas even remarks that Ray enjoys mercenary work way too much. Colonel Barnsby also gets pretty, well, excited at the thought of killing the McCall brothers.
  • Battle in the Rain: Chapter III, albeit it's more of 'escape from the angry mob'.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Both Juarez/Juan Mendoza and Colonel Barnsby act as the main antagonists.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ray becomes a reverend and marries Thomas and Marisa, but William is dead, Juarez is alive (possibly unknown if you haven't played the original), and then there's the fact this is a prequel...
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The weapons have four grades of quality: old, normal, silver, and gold.
    • Silver and golden guns are also present in multiplayer, but only in aesthetic form. It's possible to unlock silver weapons both by earning $200 000 or by using a bonus code, while golden ones can only be earned by reaching $1 000 000.
  • Character Class System: The multiplayer features 13 classes, but only 5 of them are available at the start. The others can be unlocked by earning money in-game. The classes also have health/speed upgrades which can be bought in a game, but they're reset at every match.
  • Cain and Abel: Ray and Thomas almost go this way but William's Heroic Sacrifice makes him the Abel and both of them, the Cains, in a way.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite literally. At the beginning of the game, Ray and Thomas kill an entire Company of Union troops attacking their family estate. Later, Colonel Barnsby and his men come by and collect all the rifles off the dead troops. These rifles become a major MacGuffin later in the game's main plot.
  • Close-Range Combatant: The Hombre in multiplayer. He's both sturdy and lethal but thankfully only at close range.
  • Colonel Badass: Barnsby is a villainous example.
  • Continuity Nod: Juarez wields a pair of Volcano Guns in Bound in Blood, which he also described as his signature weapons in the first game.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: This is how Ray imagines William in the epilogue (while directly comparing him to Jesus, no less), though it was somewhat different in reality.
  • Dramatic Irony: Much of Bound in Blood's plot becomes Darker and Edgier once you realize that the protagonists will become a Domestic Abuser pathetic shell of a man as well as a Knight Templar lunatic priest. The beautiful bandit who was always used by men? She's left with the aforementioned Domestic Abuser until she's murdered.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Inverted and Played for Laughs: In some snippets of random Casual Danger Dialog, Thomas and Ray will exchange following snarks in the middle of a firefight:
    "Brother, you can't hit shit!"
    "It ain't shit I was aiming at!"
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've played through Call of Juarez up to Ray's confession, you already know how Bound In Blood is going to end. Although there is a final duel against Colonel Big Bad Conflict Killer Giant Space Flea from Nowhere whose appearance at the end is something of an unexpected surprise.
  • Gatling Good: Ray can pick up a Gatling gun and carry it around.
  • Generation Xerox: It's something of a surprise, but Thomas McCall plays quite similar to how his stepson Billy Candle did in the original game, including the inability to dual-wield and instead using a lasso and a bow as signature equipment. The reason for this is open to any amount of Wild Mass Guessing.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Subverted, as Col. Barnsby's appearance as the Final Boss turns out to be a plot point that underlines the absolution motif in the game, since Running River finds the inner strength to forgive him for killing his village and his son.
  • God Is Good: William believes that firmly and Ray comes to believe in it in the end. Eventually proven true at the end of the first game, where Ray prays to God for a chance to save Billy and is given it, shooting the Big Bad before he can kill Billy. Or it may have been a case of Heroic Resolve and Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Guns Akimbo: Like in the original game, Ray is most efficient with a pair of revolvers in his hands.
  • The Gunslinger: Ray is still a mix of Trick Shot and The Woo, while Thomas is more of a pure Trick Shot.
    • One of the multiplayer classes is called Gunslinger. He uses two Schofield revolvers, plus two sticks of dynamite.
  • Hand Cannon:
    • As in the first game, the lever-action Volcano Pistol is the most powerful pistol in the game, dealing heavy damage while still having a good rate of fire and ammo capacity.
    • The Ranger, being based on the Colt Walker, also qualifies, what with its slow rate of fire and higher damage compared to the other revolvers.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Ray.
  • How We Got Here: The game begins with the opening scene from the final mission, and the rest of the game is William's narration of how his caring and more-or-less responsible older brothers became brazen murderers ready to kill each other.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: William tries to prevent Ray from killing an unarmed Devlin with this and the story of Jesus forgiving one of the murderers crucified alongside him. Ray's reaction? "The Lord forgave him... a cold-blooded murderer? Well, that's good to know." Then he shoots him dead.
  • Joke Item: The Ladies Pistol (Derringer) is the weakest firearm in the game, and only holds 2 shots. It takes at least 3 or 4 hits from it to kill most enemies. At gun stores it's the cheapest weapon available, and rightly so.
  • Level Editor: Downloadable from the modding site. It's quite user-friendly, but also advanced enough that experienced mappers can create very elaborate maps, with cutscenes and the like.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Juarez does it again, which is notable because all the previous bosses were standard one-shot-one-kill quick-draw duels.
    • This actually happens a few times in Bound in Blood. Both battles against Col. Barnsby are this, along with some random bosses thrown in during the sandbox segments.
  • Mighty Glacier: Ray has better defenses than Thomas (thanks to the breastplate he is still wearing) and can deal a shitton of damage with his Guns Akimbo, however, he is not as quick and maneuverable as his brother.
  • Never Found the Body: You fight Juarez as a Climax Boss in the second-to-last level. At the end, this trope is invoked so he can return to be the Big Bad in the original game, taking place twenty years later.
  • Non-Action Guy: William, the youngest McCall brother, is a non-violent priest.
  • Non-Player Companion: In most levels, Thomas and Ray fight alongside each other, with you controlling one of them while the computer steers the other. Except the first few levels and the final showdown, you get to select which brother to control in the next mission and, by extension, which one will be controlled by the AI.
  • Power Trio: William is the Super Ego; Thomas, the Ego; and Ray, the Id.
  • Railing Kill: Can happen in singleplayer, as balcony railings are breakable.
  • Real Is Brown: In contrast to the colorful palette of the first and fourth games, Bound in Blood and The Cartel both have the "coffee filter" look of many games from the time period in which it was made.
  • The Remnant: Colonel Barnsby and his Confederate remnants are undaunted by the end of the American Civil War, and start up a gun-running operation in the hopes of putting together enough money to finance a second rebellion.
  • Sibling Team: Ray and Thomas. William, too, though he is a Non-Action Guy.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Invoked by William in the end, when he acts as if he is reaching for a gun to make Ray shoot him, whereas he is actually pulling out his Bible.
  • Short-Range Shotgun:
    • The double-barreled shotgun doesn't work at long range.
    • There's also the sawed-off shotgun, which is probably the most powerful gun at extremely close range, but does no damage at all after 10 meters. The 'Hombre' multiplayer class carries two of these, and he's used mostly for indoor fighting or ambushes.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Ray and Thomas get into these regularly.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Ray and Thomas are both out to amass fortune to rebuild their family home, but gleefully engaging in as much chaos as possible as they do it. Especially Ray.
    William: Do not violate the word of God! The Fifth Commandment: 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'.
    Ray: [gesturing to the numerous corpses] It's a little late for that, little brother!
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In one of the multiplayer modes, Wild West Legends, one team has to destroy several objectives while the other has to protect them.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Ray can throw sticks of dynamite, whereas Thomas can't.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: In Chapter III, Ray and Thomas kill a federal marshal in Forth Smith and, as a result, the whole town starts hunting them down, trying to lynch them.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Chapters VI and VIII are like mini-sandboxes that pop out of nowhere and then are never seen again.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The second duel. There is zero margin for error, and you will die repeatedly until you learn the duel mechanics properly. This is a huge jump in difficulty compared to the first duel, an old man who's slow as molasses.
  • The Western: All of it.