GunFright is another of those Ultimate Play The Game titles which just ooze the quality for which they became renowned throughout the 80s. Starting at the beginning we have a simple but very effective title screen with all the options on, one or two players, check. Joystick, keyboard options – check. And once you have selected the game choices hit 3 and start the game.
In the game you start with a crosshair targeting on a small framed area, you move the crosshair around to target the falling money bags and fire to claim your cash rewards. After a short while that screen changes up to the next challenge, finding the bad guys and returning them to jail.
The screen shows all the information you need, your score (or bounty) the wanted poster of your quarry and your ammo count all in very nice graphics around the main game. The playfield is a smaller framed area at the right of the screen, and as was common for UPTG titles of the Spectrum era, you are faced with an isometric viewpoint as your character materialises. Now you control your gunslinging sheriff around the town searching out the baddies to bring to justice. The movement is very fluid, and that goes for all the characters, colour clash has been avoided by going for the monochrome technique with white characters and buildings on a black background.
Some clever thinking allows you to enter buildings without the walls obstructing your view, by making the buildings disappear but leaving the outline visible, and the doorways a break in the lines depicting walls. It isn’t long before one of the many ladies of the town walks into you, and you die, I don’t know what of, but being walked into will kill you. Killing the ladies first will also lose your bounty so you just have to avoid them while on your search. There are also horses dotted around which you can jump on and ride which speed up your progress for a while until they get tired and run off.
There are some excellent graphics, good beeper sounds and a large play area to explore which gives a good reason for one more go. I did find that I wandered around aimlessly for a lot of the time though and killing anyone negatively affected the bounty at the bottom. All said and done though, it’s a very nice looking game with some clever touches and certainly worth loading up to see what the Spectrum could do even back then.
– Doug Titchmarsh
Late 40s and been playing video games since the late 1970s Still own the ZX Spectrum I had in the early 1980s and still play 8 and 16 bit games to this day.