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Video Game / Outlaws of the Sierra Nevadas

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Outlaws of the Sierra Nevadas is a 2004 Interactive Fiction game by Heather Billings, hosted on Adventure Games Live. The game is set in The Wild West in 1874, and the player character is the Sheriff of Caballo Creek, seeking out a gang of bandits who have been pillaging nearby villages before Caballo is next.

This game contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Syntax: Parodied during the confrontation with the card cheat, with a bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The option "Grab another player's whisky and throw it in his face" leads you to throw the whisky in the face of the player you grabbed it from, causing him to exclaim "Darn ambiguous pronouns!"
  • Denser and Wackier: Most Adventure Games Live games have a sense of humour, but Outlaws is noticeably more surreal, to the point that another of the games takes a minor potshot at it.
  • Dialogue Tree: The fight sequences work like this; certain moves will move the fight forward and others will move it back, and you need to find the correct sequence of moves to win based on trial and error.
  • Guide Dang It!: The game refuses to allow you to start the endgame until you've got everything you need for it, as Adventure Games Live does not allow any situation by which the game can become Unwinnable. One of the things you need to do is climb up a chimney, covering yourself in soot in the process, then jump in a lake, thereby staining your clothes black, but there's no obvious reason why you would want to do that until it comes up in the endgame.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: If you try to set fire to your cell in the bandits' hideout, the fire destroys the entire building and everyone in it, yourself included. The narration notes that technically you suceeded in stopping the raid on Caballo Creek, but "this victory could surely have come at less cost to yourself".
  • Red Herring: The piano wire salesman is never in his room, no matter how many times you check.
  • Take Your Time: No matter how many times you stay the night in the boarding house, time will never actually pass.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The fight sequences work like this.