Gun.Smoke is a vertical scrolling shooter arcade game created by Capcom in 1985 (its author is Yoshiki Okamoto). The game, which has a Western theme, centers around a character named Billy Bob, a bounty hunter who is after vicious criminals of the Wild West. This game is considered to be one of the hardest Capcom games ever made.
Gun.Smoke is very similar to Commando, another Capcom game, but with several differences. Whereas Commando is a run and gun game, this game is a scrolling shooter in which the screen scrolls upward automatically and players only have three ways to shoot, using three buttons for left, right, and center shooting. However, a player can also change the way the gunman shoots through button combinations. A player can still die by getting shot or struck by enemies like in Commando but improve protection by getting special items, including a horse, for protection up to three hits; boots, for speed of movement; bullets, for faster shots; and rifles, for shot length. These items are found by shooting barrels and rifles, boots, and bullets can stock up to five.
Also, there are other items that are used for points like stars, bottles, bags, dragonflies, and cows, but two other items to watch out for are the yashichi, which is a 1up, and the cattle skull, which reduces Billy's power. There are obstacles in the game such as streams, buildings, and hills but they do not cause damage to Billy even if he is caught between the screen and the obstacle (this will, however, kill the horse).
|Name and weapon||Description||Prize money|
|Billy Bob||The hero of the game. He is the bounty hunter that is after 10 of the most dangerous men in the west. He is armed with two revolvers, and wears a 10 gallon hat, a blue shirt, white vest and jeans.|
|Master, Winchester||Round 1 boss. He is said to be fast with a rifle, AKA a winchester. He wears a hat with a blue scarf, a blue shirt, and brown overalls. Master shoots while standing up but, if he is hit he crawls on the ground to avoid Billy's shots.||$10,000|
|Roy, Knife||Round 2 boss. Roy is a dead eye when it comes to using knives. It is said Roy can throw knives as fast as bullets fly. He wears a flat brim hat with knives holsters and red clothing.||$12,000|
|Ninja, Darts||Round 3 boss. He is a ninja who can disappear and reappear to keep his enemies confused to where he would pop up next. Ninja is armed with shurikens (called "Darts" in the game) which he throws while jumping through the air. He wears a red ninja outfit.||$15,000|
|Cutter, Boomerang||Round 4 boss. He is a bald-headed cretin who carries two razor-sharp boomerangs to cut his victims to pieces with. He wears a U.S. Cavalry-like uniform with gloves.||$15,000|
|Pig Joe, Dynamite||Round 5 boss. Pig Joe is a big fat slob who is armed with dozens of dynamite sticks. He must be a fire-eater too because he also spits fireballs. Pig Joe is shirtless and has dynamite sticks strapped to his waist and two sticks strapped to his head.||$20,000|
|Wolf Chief, Shot Gun||Round 6 boss. He is the chief of a corrupt Indian tribe who does his dirty work. Wolf Chief is armed with a shotgun. He wears a feathered headress with red clothing.||$80,000|
|Goldsmith, Double Rifle||Round 7 boss. He is claimed to be the ultimate frontiersman. Goldsmith is armed with two rifles, he rolls on the ground to avoid enemy attacks, and mostly shoots when there is some distance between you and him. He wears a blue outfit with a brown jacket.||$20,000|
|Los Pubro, Double Pistol||Round 8 boss. He is actually the same as the player character because he carries two pistols. Los Pubro is a bandit from Mexico and he wears a sombrero with a light blue vest and blue clothing.||$25,000|
|Fat Man, Machine Gun||Round 9 boss. He is a big guy who carries a gatling gun with ease and uses it to mow down enemies like weeds. He is shirtless just like Pig Joe.||$30,000|
|Wingate Family, Machine Gun & Rifle||Round 10 boss(es). They are a family of criminals consisting of a father and two sons. They are said to be the most dangerous of the 10 villains because the sons are ace shots with their rifles and their father carries a huge Minigun that spreads bullets wider than a shotgun. Like Master, Pa Wingate will crawl on the ground when hit to avoid Billy's shots. The Wingate sons are dressed in black and Pa Wingate is dressed in red with a belt of bullets strapped across his chest.||$80,000|
|Common enemies||These are just the guys Billy fights before and during a boss battle. They consist of gunslingers, demolitionists, snipers, riflemen, knifemen, and Indians.|
Note: Two versions of Gun.Smoke were released under license in America by Romstar. One follows the same sequence of bosses as above; in the other, the third and sixth levels are swapped, so that Roy is followed by Wolf Chief, and Pig Joe is followed by Ninja. The other version also removes the boss rundown, as seen in the beginning of every other variation of the arcade game.
Gun.Smoke was ported to many systems:
- The MSX
- The PlayStation and the Sega Saturn as a part of Capcom Generation 4
- The above version was featured on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and the Xbox as a part of Capcom Classics Collection
- The IBM PC as a part of Capcom Arcade Hits 3
- The Amstrad CPC as Desperado - Gun.Smoke; this platform actually received a sequel called Desperado 2
- The ZX Spectrum as Desperado
The game was later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System and Family Computer Disk System in 1988. The objective is to free the town of Hicksville from the band of criminals known as the Wingates. But in order to capture their most dangerous henchmen, in each stage the player must retrieve a Wanted sign of said henchman, otherwise it is impossible to clear the stage. The NES version also has different music. In this game, the main character is a bounty hunter named Billy Bob.
Differences from the arcade version
Even though the NES version stayed true to the gameplay of the arcade version there were major changes done:
- Only six of the ten bosses were in this version (Master, Ninja, Cutter, Wolf Chief, Los Pubro, and Fat Man).
- Billy was given extra weapons like: a shotgun, a machine gun, a smart bomb, and a magnum.
- Bullets are used for ammo for the extra weapons.
- A storyline is built around the game: in 1849, the Wingates attack the town of Hicksville, kill the Sheriff, and raid trouble every day until Billy comes (with a sunset behind him).
- The Wingates in the game are a gang instead of a family of 2 sons and a father.
- You can purchase weapons and items from people.
- Four of the bosses had their names changed. Master's name was changed to Bandit Bill, Wolf Chief was changed to Devil Hawk, Fat Man was changed to Fat Man Joe (a knockoff of Pig Joe) and Los Pubro was changed to Wingate.
- Los Pubro was made the final boss in the NES version as Wingate with a slash over one of his eyes, a cape, and armed with a gatling gun.
- The other bosses had their appearances changed too. Bandit Bill (Master) now wears a red shirt and blue jeans. Cutter wears a baggy blue sleeveless shirt and red pants. Ninja wears a purple ninja outfit with no mask and sports a ponytail and he shoots shurikens that split into fours. Devil Hawk (Wolf Chief) is now shirtless and uses fireballs as his weapon. Fat Man Joe wears an armored plated shirt and uses a bomb gun.
- There is another type of yashichi that will give you temporary invincibility.
Disk System version
Though virtually identical to the NES version, the Famicom Disk Ssystem version featured several differences from the NES version:
- This game, like virtually all other FDS games, feature load times.
- The font is similar to what is used in most Capcom games on the Famicom/NES. However, on the NES version, the font is changed to the military-font, also seen in the arcade version.
- "In America" is called "In 1849".
- Bandit Bill's mugshot on the wanted poster is slightly different in both versions of the game. In the FDS version, his shirt has an open collar, with part of his body showing. In the NES version, his shirt has a scarf around it. On top of that, the mugshots for the wanted posters were originally more colorful looking, whereas in the NES version, they're a bit more realistic looking.
- In this version, the shopping music features less instruments. Also, many of the tunes featured in the NES version are nowhere to be found in this version, and instead recycle the same music for certain scenes in the game. This is due to the limited memory space in FDS disk cards.
- There is no game demonstration like there is in the NES version.
- After beating the game the first two times, the player is rewarded with a Japanese message that tells the player to try the game again. After the third time, the player will be rewarded with a simple message that says "THE END". The Japanese message was thrown out in the NES version, instead of being translated into English.
Each level in the game is given a name. These are the names of each level and the bosses of them.
- Round 1 - The town of Hicksville - Boss: Bandit Bill - Prize Money: $10,000
- Round 2 - The Boulders - Boss: Cutter - Prize Money: $12,000
- Round 3 - Comanchi Village - Boss: Devil Hawk - Prize Money: $25,000
- Round 4 - Death Mountain - Boss: Ninja - Prize Money: $20,000
- Round 5 - Cheyenne River - Boss: Fatman Joe - Prize Money: $20,000
- Round 6 - Fort Wingate - Boss: Wingate - Prize Money: $30,000
In both the NES and Disk System versions of the game, the game has to be beaten 3 times in order to obtain the true ending, in which the player is rewarded with a simple message that types out as "THE END."
Relationship between the show and the game
The dot in Gun.Smoke is written because of trademark issues, as the name Gunsmoke refers to a famous and long running American Western Radio and TV show which ran in various forms from 1951 until 1975, and was the longest running entertainment series with continuous characters in the history of American television. Other than the western theme, the TV show and the game are unrelated to each other.