A Fistful of Gun
If you’re feeling emasculated, there are generally two choices: go on Reddit for a massive sympathy circle jerk or reclaim your masculinity via a video game. A Fistful of Gun, guaranteed to increase testosterone by a factor of 10, is one such game (This applies to women too, you’ve been warned).
Goddam guns, motherflippin moustaches and some blowy-uppies is the prescription here. Fast and just a little hectic, Fistful of Gun is essentially a top down shooter, where you kill every goddam living thing to progress.
You’re going to come up against some mad gunslingers who want you put down… for good. Run and gun tactics can be risky: these guys are quick shooters so you can’t rely on too much bullet dodging once they’ve lined you up in their sights. What you will be making use of is the cover, like any true cowboy knows. Walls, rocks, crates – wait… just wait a bit for them to huddle in a little closer, then… Also on hand are powerups within the levels, and you can also choose a random powerup after each stage completion. Powerups you say? What have we got? Well, speed enhancements, weapon enhancements and score multipliers mostly. Fistful of Gun is Robotron than Alien Syndrome; levels are pretty self contained and usually don’t take too long to finish, which places it on the more casual, albiet challenging, quick-game side. There’s also an online leaderboard – but all I can say is good luck with trying to make it on there!
Each playable character is assigned a unique control scheme and weapon. I could only play 2 of the possible 3 in the original free version, as I don’t have an Xbox controller (though apparently you can get software to emulate one). Noah, the double barreled, keyboard controlled cowboy also has a dodge function. Zeke is all mouse and while he has a long range rifle, it’s single shot, so you’re probably going to be jumping in and out of range and/or cover a lot more. He does camouflage after a short time when not shooting so you can look them in the eye before taking them out. Noah was definitely the easier of the two, and for me, more compatible with my inaccurate style of gunplay.
Now tell me, when was the last time you tried playing a multiplayer game on the one device? (Huh Ed, Huh?! -sadly, not since I hosted all those video game parties back in the day. Chaos, in the best kind of way – Ed). 3 peeps on the one PC?! As they say, they don’t make ‘em like they used to, but here (and don’t forget Jamestown), you can once again experience what it’s like to be in close proximity to another human.
The music and character select has a distinct SNK/Capcom feel to it and does nudge the game into more sentimental territory. I can almost hear a “Mission 1 Start“. The West is kind of what you would expect, except maybe for the Indian-cowboy alliance thing they have going on.
Fistful of Gun was originally freeware, but now also has a commercial release that expands the roster to 11 playable characters and adds online coop andc a fleshed out story mode. Whichever version you play, it’s a great casual yet tough game by developer FatherGnome, and now I’m not sure which version has boss battles because I was outdrawn before I could get that far… but if you see them, tell ’em I’ll be waiting in hell.