Western Games (Eating) Commodore 64 game

Howdy, Pardners! Tired of all those athletic sports simulations? Then give Ariolasoft's new multi-event simulation of old Wild Western pastimes a try.

After selecting a one- or two-player game, the first event to attempt is arm wrestling. In this event, the player sits opposite their adversary, hand-in-hand. Arm strength is built up by pulling back on the joystick in time to a rhythmically pulsing 'muscle meter.' The winner is the person who forces the other's hand down onto the table in a best-of-five contest.

The next event is beer shooting, where both contestants stand side by side, and on the signal, draw their pistols to fire at beer glasses. The faster shot scores a point, and the glasses are changed to a smaller variety. If one player manages to hit five targets in succession, they win. If the other interrupts their run, they both start from scratch.

The third 'event' is dancing, a pastime requiring the player to follow a highly complex pattern of joystick movements in time to a quickening piano player's tempo. Failing to keep up obliges the player to buy the pianist a drink, effectively losing the event.

Quid-spitting is the next pastime to endure. The participants face each other with a spittoon in front of them. Both individuals bite off lumps of chewing tobacco, masticate them by waggling the joystick, and attempt to spit them into the opposition's pot by altering the angle of projection.

The next task is milking a cow, where the player extracts a pint of milk as quickly as possible. The process of milking requires a sequence of eight joystick commands to be followed in rhythm to the udder movements. The slower milker loses.

More computer silliness takes place on the stage of an old Western saloon.

I can't help feeling that too much time was spent making this game 'cutesy' and not enough on refining the gameplay. Some of the events, such as cow-milking, are ludicrously pedantic and require an exact rhythm to be maintained for several minutes, which just isn't fun. The feeling is not one of controlling your character, but simply following a predefined game pattern. In other areas, the game is simply average, with adequate sound and a few frames of animation in each scene. I think the reason you don't see many games based around this kind of action is that it's difficult to make anything like this entertaining, and programmers at Magic Bytes haven't managed it either.

After seeing the colorful and nicely detailed graphics, I thought that it was time for another multi-event treat. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was short-lived. Although Western Games boasts some unusual and original ideas, the over-complex control methods used make the game a chore to play, rather than fun. A challenging game is one thing, but when you're spending the whole time trying to move the joystick and press the fire button in a sequence that bears no resemblance to the on-screen action, it gets a little tiresome and frustrating. If you're prepared to practice, I think Western Games could provide fun, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my shopping list.

PRESENTATION 75% - Generally adequate, but marred by the apparent lack of a quit option.

GRAPHICS 88% - Superb cartoon-quality graphics, with plenty of subliminal animation to enhance the overall effect.

SOUND 67% - Some decent spot effects and suitably Western music.

HOOKABILITY 53% - Overly complex control methods must first be familiarized before any progress is made.

LASTABILITY 61% - The six events should present a decent, albeit frustrating, challenge.

OVERALL 68% - An unusual and sometimes over-complicated multi-event game with limited appeal.

Game category: Commodore 64 games

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