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Video Game / Tin Star

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Tin Star is a Rail Shooter developed by Software Creations and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994. You play Cowboy Robot Sheriff Tin Star as he sets out to bring justice to the Ol' West town of East Driftwood. Mere moments after arriving in town he runs afoul of the Bad Oil Gang and their leader Black Bart, and is tasked with bringing them down within the space of a week. Pretty much a typical western tale, but with robots.

Not to be confused with the similarly-named Story Branching game.

Tin Star provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Then again, it is the Wild West. And then some of the cacti try to shoot you!
  • Alliterative Title: Black Bart.
  • Bank Robbery: The Black Oil Gang tries to blow up a bank midway through the game. Failing to stop them from doing so is an instant loss.
  • Bar Brawl: It wouldn't be the Old West without one. One of the stages is a saloon, and various gunmen will try to shoot you. There's also other elements that you can shoot for money, like a moose head on the wall or a roll on a player piano.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final showdown with Black Bart takes place in the rain.
  • Big Bad: Black Bart, the leader of the Black Oil Gang.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Snake Oil, the second showdown. Because he forgot to bring his glasses, he'll occasionally miss if he shoots at you. His twin brother Crude Oil, faced later in the game, doesn't have this problem.
  • Bonus Level:
    • Clear any stage without shooting a health container, and you'll head to a bonus level where you have to shoot stars on a spinning wheel with a robot woman tied to it. Getting all of the stars nets a huge money bonus, but shooting the woman ends the level immediately. The later in the game you go, the faster the wheel spins.
    • Any level that a Bar Brawl takes place in has multiple things to shoot that get you extra cash, including a drunkard, a moose head on the wall, bottles on the bar, and a piano.
    • Every day starts with a "Knock 'Em Down" challenge, where you have to juggle up to three bottles in the air. The more bottles you can keep in the air at one time, the more money you earn per shot.
  • Born Lucky: Lucky Johnson, who has a random chance of avoiding being shot.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Nobody ever runs out of ammo in this game. Tin Star can shoot all day without reloading, and the enemies will keep shooting until they're taken out. To discourage just firing all over the place, you lose ten dollars for each wasted bullet.
  • Cattle Punk: Pretty standard Western story, but with robots instead of humans. It was to get things past the radar, so all of the bullets flying results in Bloodless Carnage instead of a bloodbath.
  • Clear My Name: Tin Star gets wrongfully accused of shooting "The Kid" Johnson and is expelled from town. He then has to clear his name so that he can reclaim his title of sheriff.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Most characters in the game seem to have some screws loose, but Tin Star takes the cake.
    Bugsy: Go for yer gun.
    Tin Star: No need...I brought it with me.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Bugsy Johnson. When fighting a Quick Draw match, you'll normally have to shoot at a target on the screen to draw your gun, then you shoot your opponent. Bugsy sometimes cheats and skips the first step, in which case you just shoot him before he can do the same.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: The Blousey Bros, a gang of multiple bandits who all dress up in drag.
  • Difficulty by Acceleration:
    • The bonus stages never change in variety, nor do the placement of the bonus stars ever change. The later in the game you go, the faster the wheel spins. And if you ever shoot the woman tied to the wheel, the game instantly ends.
    • The concept behind the Showdown at High Noon boss battles is always the same, but late-game bosses draw faster than early-game ones.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Undertaker has no name beyond his title.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Some levels have cacti take out a gun to shoot you!
  • Gainax Ending: The best ending. Maria turns out to be Black Bart in disguise and he suddenly decides to be good. Maria is seen in the credits so it can be assumed he might have switched places recently, but it still comes completely out of nowhere.
  • Great Escape: After Tin Star puts Snake Oil in jail, he has to prevent the Black Oil Gang from blowing up the jail and breaking him out. Even if you manage to save the jail, Snake Oil just digs his way out while you were distracted.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Kid Johnson. Tin Star vows to "never shoot women and children," so even though you can draw your gun, you can't actually shoot Kid; you just have to wait for him to shoot you. Tin Star still gets blamed for shooting Kid anyway, and gets run out of town.
  • Idiot Hero: Tin Star. A Running Gag throughout the game is a bad guy telling Tin Star to "go for your gun", to which Tin Star responds "No need, I already brought it with me."
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played with. Tin Star cannot bear to shoot "The Kid" Johnson, as his good guy code says that he's not allowed to shoot women and children. Though Black Bart claims Kid is dead, he turns out to be fine, hidden in Tin Star's hat. It's also a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, as there are other baby Mooks in many other stages, yet there's no moral dilemma about shooting them.
  • Ironic Nickname: "Tiny" Johnson, who exemplifies Stout Strength.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Tin Star sports one, as pointed out by Maria Bean.
    Maria: Only a good guy could have a chin like Tin Star's.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Bad Oil gang has dressed up as women and are shooting up the town, and Tin Star tries to figure out a way to stop them without breaking the old law "Never shoot women and children".
    Mo: Now what do we do, Tin Star? Why are you looking at that Good Guy Code of the West?
    Tin Star: Looking for loopholes. Aha!
    Mo: What?
    Tin Star: It says here "never shoot women and children."
    Mo: Yeah, so?
    Tin Star: So these are just women on their own! Get my guns, Mo!
  • Luck-Based Mission: The later showdowns can start to feel like this. You first have to draw your gun, then shoot your opponent. To draw, you have to hit the "DRAW" icon that appears randomly in one of the four corners of the screen, and the slower you are to hit the icon, the less time you have to shoot your opponent before he shoots you. Late-game showdowns have your opponent draw so quickly that it often comes down to just guessing where the icon will appear, and hoping you're right.
  • Mis-blamed: In-Universe: Tin Star is blamed for destroying Tiny Johnson's prized geranium, even though that only happened because an old lady pushed Tin Star into it. Tin Star has to deal with Tiny and the rest of the Johnson family for the whole game because of it. Later, Tin Star also gets blamed for shooting and killing Kid Johnson, despite not doing it, and gets run out of town.
  • Multiple Endings: Based on score.
    • <$750,000: Tin Star asks Maria to marry him, but she dismisses him for being too poor.
    • $750,000 - $999,999: Tin Star asks Maria to marry him, but she dismisses him for Mo, who's inherited a million dollars.
    • >$999,999: Tin Star asks Maria to marry him, but she reveals she's actually Black Bart in disguise, spying on Tin Star. He "says" he's reformed, but still dismisses Tin Star and Mo as You Meddling Kids, er, Robots, as the credits roll.
  • Nice Guy: Eccentricities aside, Tin Star and his partner Mo are probably the nicest characters in the game and are sincerely heroic.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Cowboy Robots.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Maria and the robot women in the bonus game are extremely well-endowed.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In all "protect the building" levels. If you see a barrel or TNT-carrying guy in the distance and fail to shoot them in time, he'll go on top of the building, blow it up, and cause you to lose.
  • Or My Name Isn't...: Parodied at some point on Thursday:
    Mo: [about Black Bart's mooks] They got away, Tin Star!
    Tin Star: Not for long. We'll have those varmints in the hoosegow afore sun up or my name isn't Gary Cooper.
    Mo: Er.... It isn't.
  • Overused Running Gag: Several times on Sunday. The "go for your gun" gag gets interrupted by Black Bart, who says "We've done this gag to death." And when Aluminum rides off without Tin Star, he's come to expect it, only letting out a dejected "Hi ho Alumi... oh, never mind."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Tin Star, after being banished from town for supposedly shooting Kid Johnson, puts on a small pink mask to ride back into town. Somehow, everyone is fooled.
  • Parental Favoritism: Mo's brother, Schemp, claimed that their mother always liked Schemp best. When Schemp dies towards the end of the game, he says that their mom really always liked Mo best.
  • Quick Draw: How you take down most of the high-ranking members of the Bad Oil Gang.
  • Recurring Boss: Black Bart. He shows up at the boss for every Train Job level, and has to be faced in a Showdown at High Noon twice on the last day, including as the Final Boss.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Showdown at High Noon: You'll be challenged to a number of these over the course of the game. They serve as the game's boss battles, as all but two end the day in which they're set.
  • Top-Heavy Guy:
    • Tin Star has a massive torso, bulging biceps and toothpick legs.
    • "Tiny" Johnson is an even more extreme example. His legs are only about as large as his hands.
  • Train Job: Wouldn't be the Wild West without at least one of these. The last time it happens, the train gets derailed by Black Bart blowing up the track, causing a cattle stampede.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The Undertaker assesses you at the end of every level. Wasting a bullet costs ten dollars, damaging any part of the town costs a hundred dollars, and shooting a good guy costs a thousand dollars. And the Undertaker will collect from you every time any one of them happens. Also, shooting a good guy will occasionally subtract some health from Tin Star.
  • Warmup Boss: Tiny Johnson, the first showdown. He's not only a big target, he's very slow on the draw, and doesn't have any other gimmicks to back him up.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tin Star's good guy code says "never shoot women and children." But because some people shooting up the town are just women on their own, it's okay.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Tin Star. Actually shown in the fight against The Kid, your crosshair goes all haywire and moves all over the place, showing Tin Star's reluctance to hurt him.