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- This entry is for the old western shooter laserdisc video game by Konami. For the Midway racing game, see Badlands (video game)
Badlands (バッドランズ) is a 1984 laserdisc video game developed and published for the arcades by a Japanese company, Konami. In the vein of Dragon's Lair, the game lets its players navigate through various animated sequences by pressing a single button at a precise moment (unlike Dragon's Lair, there is no joystick). Since the game is themed as an old West shooter, the function of the button is almost always the fire the main character's gun to fend off against attackers. If the player shoots too soon, he will be hanged for murder. Failing to fire in time, however, will result in being killed by the attack. As the player progresses, the timing becomes more precise.The game was very particular about firing at the right time, which made it very difficult and often unplayable. At one point Buck must shoot a snake and fire at the snake at the exact second to succeed. It is even possible for buck to shoot himself in sequences where it shows him. Distributed by Centuri in the U.S., it was Konami's only laserdisc game.
The game's plot is remarkably darker than most games at the time. The player assumes the role of Buck, a hardworking family man, whose wife and children are murdered by a band of outlaws. One by one, Buck tracks down the various outlaws, earning higher and higher bounties as he progresses. The final foe is the outlaw leader, Landolf.
|“||"We were livin' a quiet life, when one day for no reason my wife and my children were killed in cold blood! And I was wounded, unable to help. Why this? Why us? Why? I won't let them get away with it. I'll get every last one of 'em!"||”|
—Buck, Badlands prologue
The outlaws, ranked in order of their bounties, are as follows:
- Gas, for $2,500
- Doug, for $2,500
- Smith, for $3,000
- Paco, for $3,000
- Bull, for $4,000
- Lloyd, for $5,000
- Liston, for $5,000
- Hawk, for $6,000
- Mary, for $7,000
- Landolf, for $10,000
Despite the game's apparent old west setting, its storyline sent the hero, Buck, into some noticeably non-realistic settings. For example, at one point Buck walks through a cave and ends up in a prehistoric jungle populated with dinosaurs. Also, the game provided Buck with three lives. As he lost those lives, the player would see him limp by humorously on crutches, or be humorously carried away on a stretcher — a noticeable break from the game's otherwise dark and mature themes. If the player lost his/her last life, Buck would turn into a super deformed angel during which time the "game over" text would appear. In addition, some of the game's "miss" sequences (which occur when the player loses a life) are humorous as well (including, but not limited to a scorpion giving Buck a Mohawk, or Buck being cut in half by an axe).
In the end, if Buck could kill Landolph and his henches, the player would see him ride off into the sunset.
Badlands has earned a rarity rank of 16, according to the Video Game Preservation Society. This means that existing arcade cabinets for the game are fairly uncommon.