Trouble is Brewing in the Galaxy


As a cheapskate, I play games late. Very late. Insanely late. This offers many benefits besides the price. Everything runs on my mediocre hardware with max settings, developers and communities have patched most bugs, and games do not carry the burden of hype. These are…

Short And Unreasonably Late Game Reviews

EPISODE I: Gunman Chronicles

Early 2000s consisted of me wandering through EB Games a lot while my parents did whatever it was parents did at the mall. By now, as a parent myself, you’d think that I would know what that was. During these times my siblings and I probably annoyed the staff half to death, loitering in the store simply reading the backs of boxes. One particular game in the PC section always grabbed my attention. That’s not true, most of the games did, but this one had a special badge on the front of the box: (bold)Powered By the Half-Life Engine.(/bold) Now, full disclosure, at this point I hadn’t played Half-Life but was well aware of its clout in the gaming industry. By mere association this game had risen in my mind to the pantheon of the great games, the legends of the industry.
Fast forward to 2007, through crafty online trading I finally obtain a copy of ReWolf studios Gunman Chronicles on CD-Rom. A few googles later I locate a hack to incorporate it into Steam. I launch the game.

After a lackluster, 7 years old (and dated even at release) cutscene, the game begins. You’ve crash landed on some planet of dinosaur monsters and space cowboys. Yup, you’re back in the early 2000s. The gameplay feels like a carbon copy of Half-Life, a glorified total conversion mod, the key exception being that each weapon in Gunman Chronicles has significant alt-fire, a feature I’d knock most weapons in HL for. A HL alt fire on the shotgun is a bigger shotgun blast, the shotgun in GC can switch between three modes of accuracy and fire between one and four shells. Similarly many of the bosses or level obstacles are straight copies from the games pater familias. For instance a large (space) brontosaurus that needs to be distracted to get around, it recalls heavily to the weird tentacle monster from HL that needed to be grenaded to sedate and maneuver around.

Gunman takes what works, tweaks it a little, and is moderately successful at being an ok shooter. It’s very much a game of its time and budget. Being an essentially a cheaper version of Unreal, Half-Life, or Quake II, if you enjoy running and gunning you could do worse than running down this relic of gaming history – the exceedingly rare published mod.

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