Ducking behind a prickly cactus with bullets flying around, you try to remember what on earth triggered you to accept a gun duel from one of the meanest and dirtiest gunslingers in town. Damn, I should have continued walking away even after he called me ‘Yella’ and bawked at me like a chicken and now I’m in a real mess as I am all out of bullets. I can see a box of ammo across the field…do I dare make a run towards it? I guess I don’t have much choice, here I go…Argh I’ve been shot, this is what I get for foolishly participating in a Showdown!
Showdown, produced by Badger Punch Games, is a one or two player arcade shooter in the style of the arcade game Gun Fight from the 70s. You’re a cowboy trying to knock down your opponent 5 times in order to be declared as the winner of the gun duel. After each duel, Showdown displays a score board showing the amount of wins attributed to each cowboy.
Your cowboy is situated to the left of the playfield while your opponent (computer or human) is located to the right side. In between, the landscape is filled with cacti while a stagecoach rolls up through the centre of the screen – both can be used to provide cover. The game is very well presented with attractive graphics featuring mini cowboy figures and considered use of colours within the screen. Add to the overall experience is a good bouncing western tune in the background.
Your gun carries only 6 bullets which you can reload by either picking up ammo packs from the ground, or alternatively you can manually replacing bullets one by one with a click of the joystick button. Shots are simply fired off with a tap of the joystick button with angled shots possible by pushing the joystick in the desired direction while letting off a shot. Explosive crates also appear around the play area with a cowboy’s life being lost if a crate is shot if they are situated nearby, so you better take care with your shots while you are around them.
Playing Showdown with friends would be quite fun (I would imagine) and I can envisage a night filled with Showdown duelling action amongst two players to be a blast. However, for many, retro gaming is a solitary experience and as a one player game Showdown has limited longevity. There is no variation in difficulty settings, or any notion of a level progression structure. Adding in the ability to duel with different enemies and pick up different types of weapons under some sort of story narrative would really exploit what this very well produced game could offer to its full.
An attractive and very well produced game that is initially a lot of fun but runs out of steam quickly due to the lack of enemy or weapon variation.
Retro gaming journalist promoting NEW C64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum games. Runs the Retro Gamer Nation YouTube channel and is a contributor to RVG and Vintage is the New Old blog sites, Komoda & Amiga Plus magazine and various other publications.