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Video Game / Wild Guns

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Draw, pilgrim.
Annie: Let's go, Clint!
Clint: Okay, Annie!

Wild Guns is a fixed-view Rail Shooter developed and published by Natsume for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, released in Japan in 1994 and the United States a year later. A PAL version was published by Titus software a year after that. If you've played Cabal, Blood Bros, or NAM-1975, you'll be familiar with the concept, as this sort of game is rather rare and hard to describe. Essentially, your character is standing in the foreground shooting at enemies in the background, and the directional pad controls both lateral movement and the position of the on-screen crosshair. It's very much like an old-time Carnival or Theme Park shooting gallery that shoots back.

The rather thin premise is as follows. Frontier settler Annie's family was attacked and a number of them were killed by a major bandit lord and his cronies. Annie enlists the aid of Bounty Hunter Clint in order to track down said bandit lord and exact her revenge. Standard western plot, no? Well, here's the twist. It's a Western with futuristic tech! IN SPACE! Annie and Clint are armed with automatic weapons, and the bandit lord and his men also have automatics, in addition to turret-equipped buggies, robotic gunmen, floating gun drones, flamethrowing tanks and Humongous Mecha that possess the power of Gatling Good.

The game is fast-paced, with much Fake Difficulty averted by means of a little text bubble appearing above your character's head that says "Look Out!" when an enemy projectile is headed your way, giving you the oppportunity to jump or dodge out of the way. The game features a range of weapons and power-ups, detailed, destructible environments and cool bosses, and an original soundtrack.

In a surprise announcement, Natsume revealed another installment for the PlayStation 4, Wild Guns: Reloaded, in 2016. The remake features selectively updated graphics, two new stages, two new heroes, and 4-player simultaneous play. This was later confirmed to be releasing on PC via Steam late into 2017, being Natsume's first game on PC. The remake also saw a Nintendo Switch port in April 2018.

Not to be confused with Wild ARMs, despite the similar names and settings.

Wild Guns provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Annie, a woman as beautiful as she is deadly, one of the two playable characters. She manages to kick major ass and perform various acrobatic feats whilst wearing a period dress and hat. Reloaded adds Doris, who hurls grenades with cybernetic arms.
  • Acrofatic: Doris has the fastest dodge speed of all of the characters, being able to speed across the stage with ease. Downplayed in that she has some sort of rocket skates on, but she's still able to jump as well as Clint and Annie.
  • Airborne Mook: There are mooks with hang gliders. Also, many hovering robotic drones appear throughout the levels. The second game also has an entire stage set in the air, making every enemy in the area one.
  • Attack Drone: Several Mooks are these, also Bullet's primary form of attack.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: All of the large-sized bosses have a weakpoint, even if it's usually small. The airships in the remake's Flying Ship level are immune to damage in their main body, but their exposed engines are vulnerable. Furthermore, the enemies carried by balloons in said level can be taken down more easily by shooting down their balloons.
  • Badass Normal: The player characters, who are technically normal humans. The final boss is one too- he can take more damage than a Humongous Mecha!
  • Batter Up!: Knife mooks that get to close to Annie get clocked by a metal bat.
  • Big Bad: "The Kid," a bandit leader who's been hoarding all the region's riches and commands an army of bandits, cyborgs, and various flavors of Humongous Mecha.
  • Blackout Basement: The Underground level in the remake takes place in darkness, where your characters, bullets, and some enemies and background objects will produce light to illuminate the small area around them.
  • Bottomless Magazines: While special weapons will run out of ammo eventually, your standard gun will never run out of bullets.
  • Canine Companion: Reloaded also adds Bullet, a small dog with a robotic drone companion.
  • Character Customization: The Player Select mode can let you change the colors of the main characters' clothes... or Bullet's fur in Reloaded.
  • Charged Attack: Doris throws more grenades the longer you hold the Fire button.
  • Climactic Music: The boss music. The Reloaded version takes this up to eleven.
  • Combat Stilettos: Annie wears high heels throughout the entire game, only taking them off while resting through the credits.
  • Cool Plane: The boss battle of the Flying Ship level is a huge airplane with aerial mines, rapid fire guns, and two Deflector Shield generators that must be taken down before the cockpit can be damaged.
  • Cool Train: One of the bosses is a hovering locomotive with lots of gun turrets.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: A number of the bosses have destructible turrets such as the train boss.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Played straight with the first boss, as well as the crab boss. Their weak points are located in their head. Subverted by the boss robot in the remake's Underground — while its head can be destroyed, you want to aim at its "heart" under its body armor.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Doris and Bullet play differently enough compared to Clint and Annie, and even between each other, that players will probably be exclaiming this repeatedly while playing Reloaded. Specifically, Bullet can move freely while firing while every other character stays in place, increasing his risk of just running into danger; but his drone hits a wide area and homes in on targets in that area, meaning he doesn't need to move his targeting reticle as much. Meanwhile, Doris doesn't even use guns, she uses grenades (exclusively, so no power ups), which are powerful but slow. Plus her "dodge" has no invincibility frames, meaning she has to actively avoid everything all the others can dodge through. These characteristics make her the hardest character to master, but if you do...
  • Degraded Boss: The trenchcoat-wearing "Hitman" robot minibosses appear in the final stage as a regular Mook and only take a few hits to die. In addition, their patterns of fire are much easier to dodge.
  • Depth Perplexion: Seen particularly in the battle against Flash Boy (the jetpack sub-boss of the Armored Train stage). The dynamite you pick up from Flash Boy is able to affect him as well as the horse-riding Mooks who are much further behind. Doris's main method of attack being hurling grenades only adds to this.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Most of the environments are destructible. Destroying things like tables can reward you with power-ups.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Both of the heroes added to Reloaded have shades of this due to playing a bit differently than Clint and Annie (see Damn You, Muscle Memory! above), but Doris falls into this especially. Her grenades are her primary weapon, can't be auto-fired, and prevent her from using other weapons. Her dodge is a side-step that lacks invincibility, so she has to actually dodge everything the others can just roll through, but it's fast enough that the mobility nearly makes up for the lack of invulnerability. Additionally, her 'nades can be charged, and to make up for the lack of alternate weaponry, Doris gets a bonus multiplier added to every kill based on the number of grenades she finished off the target with. Add that to wide-ranged lassos, and this means she's quite possibly the best character to rack up score with in Reloaded.
  • Dodge the Bullet: You must quickly decide whether to do this or shoot them down to build up your Super Mode.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: You cannot run and shoot at the same time, although you can dodge roll while shooting. Averted with Bullet the dog, who can move around while firing since he's a dog and his weapon is a semi-autonomous combat drone.
  • Double Jump: Utilizing the midair jump can help the player evade incoming fire.
  • Dual Boss: The first battle at the beginning of the final stage are a pair of Steel Toms.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Seriously, everything on the screen that isn't you is trying its damn best to kill you.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Dynamite, which can be picked up off the ground and thrown back at enemies. Not so much in the remake, where it's Doris' thing (though she can still do this).
  • Expy: Clint, a man as dangerous as he is unshaven, is obviously based on Clint Eastwood's various western characters, most likely The Man With No Name from the Dollars Trilogy. Annie is likely based on the real life female sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Doris is also possibly based on Doris Day, who played Calamity Jane in the film of the same name.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Grand Dragon (the boss of Desolation Canyon) is a massive flamethrower-equipped tank.
  • Flunky Boss: Kid, the final boss. Some of the others too - like Flash Boy, the enhanced "Fly" robot that spawns more Fly-bots, and the Gaes Crystal (the snake-like orb boss of the Ammunition Depot stage).
  • Gatling Good: There's enough Gatling Good to go around between you and your enemies.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The boss of the Gold Mine stage is literally a mechanical "Giant Crab". It substitutes lassos for bubbles though.
  • Helpful Mook: Anything that throws dynamite at you- you can pick up the dynamite, and either throw it back or throw it at a stronger enemy.
  • High-Class Gloves: Annie wears a pair of opera gloves, complementing her fancy dress and hat.
  • Humongous Mecha: Several bosses, most notably the King Bot (the gatling-gun equipped boss of the introduction stage, Carson City). He is at least twice as tall as the building on which you fight him.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Clint has the standard poncho-and-cowboy-hat arrangement, but Annie has a fully-frocked ankle-length "high-class" dress and frilly hat. Doesn't slow her down at all, and doesn't even tear, though the fact that it's wide open in the front probably helps.
  • Instant Death Bullet: It takes one bullet to kill you, and if you get shot, you immediately collapse.
  • Jet Pack: Flash Boy has one. There's also enemies in the remake's Flying Ship level who have them.
  • Joke Weapon: The Pop Gun, really more of a trap than a power up. It can't so much as scratch anything and since it can't active other powerups means you have to exhaust the ammo before you can get rid of it. The only good thing about it is that it too can shoot bullets out of the sky.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Annie doesn't have to change out of her fancy dress to blast guns at baddies.
  • Killer Rabbit: Reloaded adds Bullet, an adorable dog who controls a machine-gun drone.
  • Killer Robot: Several of them. They usually take a long time to kill.
  • King Mook: Fly II, the second sub-boss of the Desolation Canyon stage, is just a recolored Fly that can summon more Fly robots.
  • Limit Break: The Vulcan gun, which does extra damage, has a wide area of effect, and makes you temporarily invincible. You get it by shooting enemy bullets until you fill up the green meter at the bottom of the screen.
  • Locomotive Level: The Armored Train stage.
  • Logical Weakness: The remake gives us a new stage in "Flying Ship", where two of the enemies use a bunch of balloons and a hot air balloon to fly. Shooting down their balloons will defeat them more easily.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: A few bandits in the Ammunition Depot stage have riot shields, protecting them from your attacks unless they peek out to fire at you.
  • Made of Explodium: Every enemy character explodes when killed.
  • Magic Skirt: Annie's dress is slit in the front far enough to enable her acrobatic jumps and show off her legs, but otherwise protects her modesty at all times.
  • More Dakka: There is an incredible amount of firepower on screen at any one time, both from you and your enemies. You should at all times attempt to grab weapon power-ups.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Many, interspersed with human bandits.
  • Mechanical Horse: The rides of the Metal Riders.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Reloaded introduces two new characters who differ wildly from Annie and Clint.
    • Bullet is a dog that can move freely while attacking. For weapons, he has an Attack Drone that hovers around him and targets enemies in an enlarged targeting zone, and said drone is invulnerable but can get hit which will stun it for a while. Bullet's jump also allows him to hang onto his drone to move around in the air quickly and freely.
    • Doris' playstyle eschews guns altogether for bombs, meaning that she deals heavy area damage but weapon pickups are useless for her. Additionally, her bombs can be charged up to deal extra damage in a larger area and rack up a score multiplier.
  • Mook Maker: The second Mini-Boss of Desolation Canyon produces enemies until killed.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Robot Cowboys with gatling guns... The remake adds a horde of zombie robots as the first miniboss of the Underground level.
  • One-Man Army: Both Annie and Clint will mow down hundreds upon hundreds of mooks during the course of the game.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The player characters die from one hit. It's especially odd considering most of the other human opponents can take more than one bullet before dying.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Slow enough to jump out of the way or shoot them out of the air.
  • Palette Swap: The characters have quite a few different color options.
  • Perma-Stubble: Clint has a five o'clock shadow.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Annie wears a pretty fancy dress, with a few frills, shoulder guards, a bow on her waist, and some feathers on her hat.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Annie's default color is pink.
  • Pistol Whip: If an enemy gets too close, the player character can hit them with their gun.
  • Poison Mushroom: The pea shooter, which deals no damage. It can still shoot down other bullets, though.
  • Power Glows: When the Vulcan gun is activated, a golden glow flashes over your character.
  • Power-Up: Upgraded guns include a grenade launcher, a shotgun, a machine gun, and the Vulcan gun.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Your characters deliver this to the Final Boss prior to his base going up in flames and sending the Final Boss flying off in the background.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: "The Kid" rules by the gun, and he won't go down easily when you finally confront him.
  • Rule of Cool: Given the premise, you had better believe it.
    • Get a load of the guy that hula-hoops stun lassos at you in the armored train stage.
    • And that's not counting Reloaded's extra playable characters, an explosive-hurling, jet-skating Brawn Hilda with a cute face and a dog who's backed up by a combat drone.
    • If these game covers don't excite you, nothing will!
  • Scenery Gorn: The game's detailed, colorful levels get shot to pieces.
  • Sexy Slit Dress: Despite Annie having an old style dress, it's slit so that her legs show when she runs and leaps.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Doing this repeatedly fills up a Limit Break gauge, which turns you temporarily invincible and gives you an awesome weapon.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smart Bomb: Your character can find and earn screen clearing explosives. Wouldn't be an old-school shooter if you didn't get these.
  • Smug Snake: One of the recurring bosses is a human in a sharp suit who spends his time preening between shooting at you, but crawls around frantically once you land enough shots. He's pretty quick on the draw when he gets back to his feet, though.
  • Space Western: It looks like the old west, but there's tanks, giant robots, and power-ups that include everything from shotguns to grenade launchers and lasers.
  • Spider-Sense: Your character knows when bullets are headed towards him/her, and informs you with a text bubble that says look out! giving you the chance to dodge.
  • Stout Strength: Doris, a very rare female example.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Explosions happen regularly, complete with Exploding Barrels.
  • Super Mode: Shoot down enough incoming enemy bullets, and you temporarily gain the use of the game's most powerful weapon: The Vulcan Cannon.
  • Tank Goodness: The "Grand Dragon" boss.
  • Timed Mission: There's a timer that counts down, and goes down even faster when you kill a Mook. Unlike many games, you want the timer to go down, as the boss will appear once it does.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Kid. Not even a memorable one, just "Kid". Not that this keeps him from being a threat to you.
  • Traintop Battle: The Armored Train level.
  • True Blue Femininity: One of Annie's color options is blue.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: A roll confers invulnerability to all forms of damage, for both you and the enemy. Taken to an extreme since you can roll through a jet of flame.
  • Updated Re-release: Reloaded has a bigger playscreen in addition to the new features and redraws many of the bosses, but still strives to resemble the 16-bit original.
  • Vocal Dissonance: A minor case with Doris: her normal grunts sound suitably deep for someone like her, but her death yell is oddly higher pitched than one would expect.
  • Weaponized Car: You fight these whilst riding on a train.